The 32 County Sovereignty Committee has said appointments of two senior figures from Britain’s PSNI police to An Garda Síochána represent a strengthening of direct control of the police in Ireland by British intelligence.
PSNI Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman has been appointed to the rank of assistant commissioner, the third highest in the Garda, behind the commissioner and deputy commissioner. PSNI Detective Inspector Stephen McCauley has been appointed to the post of Garda Superintendent.
The sudden transition has raised concerns of a realignment of the force under the hard-right caretaker minister for justice, ahead of the formation of a new 26 County government. One of his previous actions saw the hugely controversial appointment of notorious RUC Special Branch figure Drew Harris to the top post of Garda Commissioner.
In a statement, Flanagan said he wanted to see even more former RUC police take up roles in the Gardaí. He credited a recent top-level agreement with the British government for enabling the transition.
“I am pleased to see this opportunity being increasingly availed of, in a way that can only strengthen both organisations, and the links between them, to the benefit of the people of this island,” he said.
However, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement said the increasing numbers of PSNI in the South would see an increase in MI5’s involvement in policing there.
“These RUC/PSNI figures not only have a history of collusion with loyalist death squads and the covering up of state sponsored massacres, they are also still bound by British laws and continue to operate alongside British intelligence services,” they said.
“While these appointments are unsurprising, they further highlight the wider strategic intentions of British intelligence and the neo-colonial reality of An Garda Síochána.”