Policing Board member Gerry Kelly sues Board’s own ’employee’ the Chief Constable of the PSNI

Given the currency of the debate on reform of the Garda oversight system in the Republic, and Sinn Fein’s settled view that an NI style policing board system – ie, where power is distributed between a basket of political parties – is preferable to direct control by the minister it’s a little odd that their most senior representative on the PBNI has, as the Belfast Telegraph reports:

“…taken a civil case against the PSNI chief constable (Matt Baggott) over the incident in Carrick Hill last year. Gerry Kelly, in common with any other citizen, is entitled to access the courts when he believes he has been wronged.”

In fact, the Chief Constable Matt Baggott is already directly accountable to the Policing Board of which Gerry is a senior and influential member. Indeed Mr Kelly’s predecessor Alex Maskey was prominent in photo calls at the appointment of the Chief Constable.

Importantly, in Northern Ireland the CC is accountable to the Policing Board, not the Justice Minister.

In southern terms this would be the equivalent of the Minster suing the Garda Commissioner. In northern terms it comes pretty close to an employer (who already has the means to make the CC accountable through their own internal mechanisms) suing an employee.

More damagingly, Kelly’s legal action trashes the notion that the policing board system is fit for purpose, thereby undermining the party’s own southern policy.

The BelTel piece doesn’t make clear the grounds on which the Sinn Fein MLA is taking the civil action on, so advice of a party colleague, I’ve asked him to respond directly through Twitter:

We’ll keep you posted…

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.