Judicial review denied into the hiring of PSNI deputy as Irish police chief.

Posted By: August 24, 2018

Ciaran MacAirt had argued that Drew Harris’ appointment would be a breach of Ireland’s national security.

Lisa O’Carroll. The Guardian. London.Wednesday,  22 Aug 2018

A legal attempt to challenge the Irish state’s decision to hire the deputy head of police in Northern Ireland as the boss of its own police and security service has been dismissed in Dublin’s high court.

The application for a judicial review into the hiring of Police Service of Northern Ireland deputy chief constable Drew Harris as Garda commissioner was made by a Belfast man.

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 Ciaran MacAirt, whose grandmother was killed in the McGurk’s Bar bombing in Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA
Ciaran MacAirt, whose grandmother Kathleen Irvine was killed in one of the worst atrocities in the Troubles in 1971, had argued such an appointment would have been a breach of Ireland’s national security.

Irvine was one of 15 people killed by loyalists in the bombing of McGurk’s Bar in Belfast in 1971.

Justice Denis McDonald told the high court on Wednesday that the application did not meet the requirements for leave, and had little chance of success, had it proceeded through the courts.

“I have significant sympathy for the applicant for his appalling family tragedy, but the court’s fundamental rule is, unless there is a very strong reason to take a different view, there is no reason to do so.

“All the allegations relied upon took place in Northern Ireland, no allegations were made that there is any ongoing investigation into the atrocity where the applicant’s grandmother was killed.

“Or any mention of any investigation by Gardaí that Mr. Harris would have been involved in. I cannot think I have any alternative in this case.”

MacAirt had argued Harris’s previous roles in the PSNI and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and his associated connections with the UK security and intelligence community rendered him unsuitable to lead the Republic of Ireland’s police force.