50. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress to date on arrangements for the selection of a new Garda Commissioner; the expected timeframe; the salary of the new Commissioner; the arrangements in relation to the appointment of a team to assist the Commissioner; if changes in legislation are required; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5752/18]


Deputy Charles Flanagan: The Policing Authority under section 9 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 has responsibility for nominating persons for appointment by the Government to the post of Garda Commissioner. In the meantime we have an excellent Acting Commissioner in Dónall Ó Cualáin.
It is the first time that the new legislative process will be used. I met the chair of the authority following the retirement of the previous Commissioner and we agreed that it is crucial that a deliberate and considered recruitment process takes place so that the best possible candidate is appointed following the selection process. We are also agreed that an overly long delay in the appointment of a new Commissioner would not be optimal for the organisation in terms of performance and morale.
The authority, during the autumn, undertook some essential ground work for the recruitment process in advance of the formal triggering of the statutory process by Government. This work included the conduct of research into aspects of the appointments process and engagement with my Department and with the Public Appointments Service, which will undertake the competition on behalf of the authority. That period also facilitated the chair of the authority to explore with the Commission on the Future of Policing how it sees the role and responsibilities of the next Commissioner. The commission, as the Deputy will be aware, is undertaking a comprehensive review of all aspects of policing in the State and is due to report in September.
Having regard to the progress made by the authority, I sought Government approval on 12 December to request the authority formally to commence the process for the selection and appointment of the next Commissioner. I met the chair of the authority again recently. The authority and Public Appointments Service are working together to finalise the arrangements for the competition with the intention of it being advertised as quickly as possible.
As I have stated previously, the overriding concern must be to ensure that the best possible candidate is selected to lead An Garda Síochána. This requires that the process attracts the widest possible field of candidates from a broad range of backgrounds. To support this, the authority provided advice on the remuneration package that would be required to attract candidates of the highest calibre. The Government accepted that advice in principle and agreed that my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would finalise the package prior to the position being advertised. That work is ongoing. I can assure the Deputy that salary will not be an obstacle to attracting the best candidate.