Garda commissioner could face Dail questioning over emails

Nóirín O'Sullivan
Nóirín O'Sullivan

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan faces the prospect of a political grilling over emails she sent and received through a private account.

The under-fire Garda chief is alleged to have used the personal account for official Garda correspondence.

The use of a private email account is prohibited for gardaí due to security fears.

Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell, who is a member of the Dáil's Justice and Equality Committee, said he will not be making any initial judgment on the issue, but the Commissioner may have questions to answer.

"If there is any validity to it then there are certainly questions that the Commissioner will have to answer," Mr Farrell said.

"We're not talking about the local road sweeper here, we're talking about the head of An Garda Síochána, so I want to ascertain whether there is validity to the story and if there is then the Commissioner will have to submit herself for questions, most likely via the minister and/or the justice committee," he said.

It has been reported that a cloud storage account connected to the private email had been attacked by hackers four years ago, but gardaí said the commissioner's account was not compromised.

"An Garda Síochána has strict security controls in relation to the use and access to Garda IT systems," a spokesman said.

"Devices issued to the Commissioner are secured by secure connections and utilise strong encryption technologies. Access to the Pulse database on any An Garda Síochána devices is segregated by secure containers which does not store any Garda data on the device. This is coupled with strong user password policies and strong authentication.

"An Garda Síochána is satisfied that the Commissioner's devices are secure and are not compromised," he said.