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Hugh Orde: I was sounded out over top job in the Garda

By Rebecca Black

Published 14/10/2016

Approach: Sir Hugh Orde
Approach: Sir Hugh Orde

Former Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde was asked to apply to become the head of the Garda, it has emerged.

It would have been the first time in the history of the Irish State that the Garda recruited a chief from outside their ranks.

Sir Hugh made the revelation earlier this week during an appearance to promote his new book about the Omagh bomb.

He revealed that in 2014 - five years after resigning as PSNI chief - he was approached to head up the Irish police force.

The senior officer, who was president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said a recruiter employed by the Garda asked to meet him in London to discuss the role after Martin Callinan retired in March 2014.

"I was actually approached for the Garda job by recruitment people," he explained.

"It was after an advertisement came out looking for a new commissioner.

"A recruiter came to see me when I was in London. We had a very nice conversation and she explained to me why I should apply for the post."

However, Sir Hugh said he did not feel like he had the local knowledge to enter the running for the job.

He added that at the time there had been speculation that an American officer may have got the top job at the Metropolitan Police in London, which he did not agree with.

"I was opposed to it because I didn't think that recruiting someone from outside the jurisdiction was a very good idea," Mr Orde explained.

In the end Noirin O'Sullivan, the Deputy Commissioner, was promoted to the top Garda role.

Sir Hugh was speaking in Dublin on Tuesday during a visit to launch his new book, Bear In Mind These Dead: The Omagh Bombing and Policing.

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