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Mayo Chief Supt retires after Commissioner rejects job extension


SET TO RETIREMayo Chief Superintendent, Tony Healy.

Anton McNulty

The decision by the Garda Commissioner to allow the Chief Superintendent in Mayo to retire will not be good for policing in the county, according to a member of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee.
Chief Superintendent Tony Healy retired from An Garda Síochána at midnight last night after the Garda Commissioner chose not to extend his service by another two years.
Senior gardaí must retire at the age of 60 but may be allowed to stay on for a further two years if the Garda Commissioner agrees to do so.
Chief Supt Healy had requested a further extension to his career and during a recent Dáil debate, the Minister for Justice, Heather Humphreys, had indicated her willingness to give the extension but it was a matter for the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.
However, it is understood that Commissioner Harris turned down the request which means that Chief Supt Healy officially retired at midnight on Monday and a new Chief Superintendent will have to be appointed.

‘Backward step’
Crossmolina-based councillor Michael Loftus, a member of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee, expressed his disappointment with the news and feels it is a backward step for policing in the county.
“The four TDs in this county would not be standing up for him [Chief Supt Healy] if they did not think he was good at his job. He got support from the Assistant Commissioner Barry O’Neill but unfortunately the Commissioner did not agree and he will be a big loss to Mayo.  “Since his time in Mayo he has increased the drug squad numbers and has built up relations in Belmullet and put guards on the street. There was an issue in Swinford and he put more guards in there. I cannot but give him great praise,” Cllr Loftus told The Mayo News.
With the amalgamation of the Mayo and Roscommon/Longford Garda Divisions to take place it is likely that Chief Supt Healy will be the last permanent Chief Superintendent of the Mayo Garda Division.
Chief Supt Healy came to Mayo in 2015 after he was appointed as Superintendent in Belmullet, having previously served in Dublin. In March 2017, he received praise for the way he helped co-ordinate the search for the stricken crew of the Irish Coast Guard helicopter R116. He was promoted to Chief Superintendent in April 2018.

JPC meeting
Cllr Loftus said he will be bringing the decision not to extend Chief Supt Healy’s career at this Friday’s meeting of the JPC. He added he believes that decisions which Commissioner Harris has made to policing in the west of Ireland will not serve the region well.
“The merger is going to happen in the next few months. At the moment we have five superintendents in Mayo but the plan is to have five for the whole new district. That is crazy. I genuinely believe that policing in the west of Ireland is going to suffer from all the changes that Commissioner is bringing in,” added Cllr Loftus.
“In two years time the Commissioner will be gone but we will be left with the mess because of what he is doing. I don’t believe what he is doing is right for policing in Ireland.”