|Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe at the International Association of Chiefs of Police|
|Assumed office |
27 October 2017
|Preceded by||New office|
|20th Garda Commissioner|
25 November 2014 – 11 September 2017
|Preceded by||Martin Callinan|
|Succeeded by||Dónall Ó Cualáin (Acting)|
3 November 1960
|Spouse(s)||Jim McGowan (m. 1996)|
|Alma mater||Garda Síochána College|
Nóirín O'Sullivan (born 3 November 1960) is an Irish Garda who has served as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe at the International Association of Chiefs of Police since October 2017. She previously served as Garda Commissioner from 2014 to 2017. In October 2018, Nóirín was appointed UN Assistant Secretary-General for the Department of Safety and Security.
In late October 2017 she was appointed Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe at the International Association of Chiefs of Police. In October 2018, Nóirín was appointed by Secretary-General of the UN as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security.
Career and experience
O'Sullivan is from Dublin, and joined the Garda Síochána in 1981. She worked her way through the ranks of An Garda Siochana and during her 36 years service, she held various managerial and leadership positions.
In 2000, she was promoted to Superintendent and served in the Garda Síochána College with responsibility for specialist training. She also worked as a Detective Superintendent in the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU). In 2003, she was promoted to Chief Superintendent and served as Detective Chief Superintendent at the Garda Technical Bureau and Human Resource Management.
O'Sullivan was promoted to Assistant Commissioner in 2007, and served in the Western Region, followed by Human Resource Management.
In June 2009, she was appointed Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Crime and Security Branch (CSB), with responsibility for Ireland's domestic state security and intelligence functions. In this role she had responsibility for elite, specialist national units such as the Special Detective Unit, Emergency Response Unit and National Surveillance Unit.
She became Deputy Commissioner of Operations in 2011 and oversaw some of the most high profile VIP visits to the State. In March 2014, O’Sullivan was appointed interim Commissioner and following an international competition, she was appointed on a permanent basis, by the Government on 25 November 2014, becoming the first female Commissioner to head the force since its foundation in 1922.
On 10 September 2017, O’Sullivan announced her decision to retire effective from midnight.
Commissioner and controversy
O’Sullivan was appointed Garda Commissioner on an interim basis after the resignation of Martin Callinan on 25 March 2014. She formally took over the role of Commissioner on a permanent basis following her appointment by the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on 25 November 2014, becoming the first female Commissioner to head the force since its foundation in 1922.
O'Sullivan was mentioned in the 2017 Prime Time special broadcast concerning the Garda whistleblower scandal, and her response to the Garda whistleblower scandal was included in the scope of inquiry for the first module of the Disclosures Tribunal.
As part of her time with An Garda Siochana, O'Sullivan undertook lead on implementation of the most fundamental reform programme in their 95 year history. She identified and rectified a number of governance challenges. As part of the reform programme, O'Sullivan identified areas of weak practice and failures.
In March 2017, it was announced that 14,700 people were wrongly convicted of motoring offences after they weren't given the opportunity to pay a Fixed Charge Notice. Also, almost one million phantom breath tests were recorded on the Garda Pulse system, with figures claiming that 1,995,369 tests were carried out with only 1,061,381 actually taking place.
Resignation as Commissioner
On 10 September 2017, O'Sullivan announced her decision to retire effective from midnight, stating that the "unending cycle of requests, questions, instructions and public hearings", which she described as "all part of a new – and necessary – system of public accountability", nevertheless left her with too little time to carry out such tasks as reforming the Garda Síochána "and meeting the obvious policing and security challenges". She informed Department of Justice secretary general Noel Waters, who spoke to Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Upon her planned retirement, Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan announced he was appointing Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin as Acting Commissioner while he search for a permanent appointment "in the coming weeks". He also expressed his "sincere gratitude" to O'Sullivan for her 36 years of public service.
In late October 2017 the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) announced that Nóirín O’Sullivan had been nominated as the newly-created role of Director of Strategic Partnerships for Europe, to begin work later in 2017 and to be based in Ireland, the first time a member of the IACP's staff has been based outside the United States, as part of the IACP's aim to "further expand its global reach and representation".
In October 2018, O’Sullivan was appointed as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Safety and Security. 
- Honorary Doctorate of Laws, University Ulster (2016)
- Graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Executive Institute (NEI XXXIV) – Executive Leadership Programme designed for Chiefs of Police worldwide (2011)
- Advanced Management Diploma (1st Class Hons) – Michael Smurfit School of Business, University College Dublin (2007)
- Executive Education Programme – Driving Government Performance, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2007)
- Master of Business Studies (1st Class Hons), Michael Smurfit School of Business, University College Dublin (2006)
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
- Certificate in Strategic HRM Development, Irish Management Institute (2005)
- Bachelor of Arts Degree (1st Class Hons) Police Management - awarded by HETAC and delivered by Garda College and University of Limerick
- Diploma in Addiction Studies, Trinity College Dublin (1992)
- Quann, Jack (31 October 2018). "Ex-Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan appointed to UN role". Newstalk. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
- "Garda has first female commissioner". Irish Independent. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan retires from office". Irish Times. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "Former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan secures new policing role". RTE. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
- "Whistleblower welcomes O'Sullivan appointment as Garda Commissioner". Irish Examiner. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "An Garda Síochána - Management Biographies". An Garda Síochána. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
- "History made as O'Sullivan is first ever female to be Garda chief". Herald. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Nóirín O'Sullivan is the new Garda Commissioner". Journal. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
- "Garda chief says she will not step aside in whistleblower smear campaign row". Irish Independent. 13 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- Ryan, Órla (6 March 2017). "Most people want Nóirín O'Sullivan to resign or step aside as Garda Commissioner". thejournal.ie. Retrieved 29 March 2017.. In October 2018, O'Sullivan the Disclosures Tribunal Report found there was no "credible evidence” to show Ms O’Sullivan “played any hand act or part” in the smear campaign. She was vindicated and exonerated.
- "Tom Clonan: Noirín O'Sullivan's performance in recent days is simply not credible". The Journal. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- "An Garda Siochana review will be thorough, Enda Kenny pledges". Irish Independent. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
- Sasha Brady; John Downing (10 September 2017). "Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan announces retirement". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
In a statement released today, Ms O'Sullivan said she was stepping down because the "unending cycle" of investigations and inquiries has made it difficult to "implement the deep cultural and structural reform necessary to modernise" An Gardai Siochana. ... The O’Sullivan resignation ...
- Independent.ie Newsdesk (11 September 2017). "O'Sullivan's six hours' notice took ministers by surprise". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
It was late yesterday afternoon when Ms O'Sullivan informed the Department of Justice secretary general Noel Waters of her decision to retire from midnight last night.
- Independent.ie Newsdesk (11 September 2017). "'She took the decision because she thought it was the right thing to do' - Justice Minister reacts to Noirin O'Sullivan's stepping down". Irish Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar only discovered news through his officials ... Minister Flanagan said he was 'not surprised' and was informed at 5pm on Sunday ... "I wasn't surprised by the news ... It was indicated to me at approximately 5pm yesterday evening." ... Mr Flanagan added that he didn't speak to the Garda Commissioner since before she took her summer break in July. ... The Irish Independent reports she did not consult with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan who was in England on business. It is understood Taoiseach Leo Varadkar only became aware of the news from his officials.
| Garda Commissioner
Dónall Ó Cualáin