Commissioner Drew Harris And The Garda Recruitment Connection…

In July of 2023 a website owned by the Irish government-funded newspaper The Irish Times, announced that Ireland’s Garda police force were planning on spending four million euro or more on recruitment agency services. In December 2023, the winning tender bid accepted by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was announced on the Irish Government etenders procurement website, and the EU-run website Tenders Electronic Daily. A company called Staffline Recruitment were the winning bidders.

DREW HARRIS and the garda recruitment connection

Five years ago in July of 2018, Staffline had acquired all of another recruitment agency’s business in Ireland – Grafton Recruitment. The CEO of Staffline noted at the time that just five years prior to that acquisition landing, ‘Staffline were a two man operation on the side of Belfast City Hall’, and that following the acquisition Staffline had business ‘worth £150 million’. Given the global economy was still on its uppers until 2016, McKenzie having this kind of investment capital on hand so soon after founding a small two man operation was quite the achievement.

Grafton recruitment had been one of the most recognisable names in Irish recruitment for decades. In 2010, after the death of the main partner James Kilbane, some seemingly choppy financial times followed. This led to a curious buyout situation involving the directors and partners of the notorious Siteserv corporation, at a time Dennis O’Brien was buying their company at a very deep discount. At the time, Grafton still retained a permanent placements office in Dublin city centre and some extremely profitable contractor/temporary staff businesses in Swords and Walkinstown in Dublin, and in multiple locations in Northern Ireland. Indeed, Grafton were an even bigger operation north of the border, with offices in Belfast, Derry, Enniskillen, Portadown, Lisburn, Ballymena, and Newry.

What will come as news to many is the fact that in August of 2014, the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee released a report detailing how their eighteen-month long probe into the tender award of Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) staffing contracts to Grafton Recruitment uncovered “cosy deals” and a procurement policy that was vulnerable to “corrupt practices“. These exclusive contracts between Grafton and the PSNI were noted in the report to be worth over £100 million.

It should also be noted that as far back as 2012, the Northern Ireland assembly had been probing opaque arrangements between senior figures at the PSNI and the use of agency staff from Grafton recruitment. ‘Agency staff’ are different to permanent staff in the sense that they will have daily or hourly-rate contracts as opposed to permanent arrangements – even where a permanent position requirement exists in the hiring organisation. These types of staff are legally employed by the recruitment agency and loaned out to the customer for a margin fee that is tacked on to their regular wages by the unit (often as high as 20-30%). This differentiation in employment-type is key to understanding the bigger financial picture here – the more jobs that can be turned into agency arrangements by connected parties on the inside, the more money that contractor/temp recruitment agencies can make on the outside. This is one of the reasons why people have been working on exposing this since 2012 in the North of Ireland, as shown in the reports above in 2012 and 2014: many of the jobs that were being set up as rotating agency positions should have been permanent jobs.

This type of arrangement is rife across the island of Ireland, particularly in the Irish Prison Service, where similar uncompetitive tenders for large scale IT recruitment contracts have even gone unpublished on the etenders website. Certain TDs in the Dáil today are aware of that particular arrangement and have said nothing about it – at least not publicly.

The problem for recruitment agencies when Governments hire permanent staff is that there’s not much taxpayer money to spread around for anyone when it comes to their recruitment, because they’re generally hired directly by the state because they’re easy and attractive jobs to fill. And if they do come in via agency, it’s just the one-off fee on start date consisting of 15-20% of starting salary – so no recurring revenue.

Grafton recruitment, identified in that official 2014 report detailing corrupt practices, is now Staffline recruitment: it is the owner of the same original company who had that murky PSNI contract, and the same original office in Swords now helping run the new Garda recruitment campaign in the South, with many of the same people involved in leadership positions at Staffline. According to her LinkedIn, the current Staffline CEO Tina McKenzie (MBE) was director of the Northern Ireland Recruitment Federation from 2013 to 2016. The two Recruitment Federations of Ireland, North and South, are usually led in rotation by participating heads of large agencies, and everyone knows everyone else’s business – particularly regarding the most lucrative Government contracts that are currently up for grabs. In the South, the firms that qualify to tender for Irish Government recruitment contracts are a closed shop of roughly ten large ‘approved’ businesses, running what is essentially an oligopoly with impossible barriers to entry for smaller firms. Grafton Recruitment was one of those large approved firms.

There is absolutely no allegation here, implied or otherwise, regarding impropriety by the employees of Staffline Recruitment. It must be noted however that as chair of the Northern Ireland federation it is difficult to imagine that the CEO of Staffline was not aware of the very serious allegations against Grafton recruitment and their dealings with Drew Harris’s PSNI, prior to Staffline purchasing Grafton’s Southern and Northern Irish businesses in 2018. Purchasing a business that was feeling that kind of heat from official Government regulatory bodies should have been seen as a considerable risk.

Staffline Recruitment have now been rewarded for that risk by managing to successfully tender in just a few short months for a lucrative sole-supplier contract with the Irish Garda Police force: August 2023 was the deadline for submissions and the award came four months later. These were fast moves for a normally ponderous bureaucracy, a rapid reaction tender overseen by a man who had previously worked as the second in command at the PSNI while Grafton Recruitment (now Staffline) were identified as ‘corrupt practice’ sole-suppliers to that organisation. And who left the PSNI after being the subject of a long-running investigation for overseeing systemic corruption and perverting the course of justice.

For some reason the Drew Harris’s bio page on the PSNI website has been out of order since 2018 – you can work that one out for yourself – but there is an archive link still available from the first of July 2017. According to their official bio, Drew Harris was appointed as Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI in October 2014, a few months after the release of that main PAC report. In ‘February 2013 he was appointed as a high level expert to a European Parliament Committee reporting on organised crime and corruption’. ‘Assistant Chief Constable Drew has also led on PSNI initiatives where he took responsibility for the management of sex offenders (compromat and control?) and the introduction of Public Protection Units’ (so it’s safe to assume he played some part in the fudge of an HIA inquiry result into the elite-level Kincora child abuse hub in 2017 while still Assistant Chief Constable). ‘He completed the Strategic Command Course in 2004, the Leadership in International Counter Terrorism Course in 2005 and the FBI’s prestigious ‘National Executive Institute programme’ for senior law enforcement officers in 2010’. And he has a masters from Cambridge.

This is all relevant because it illustrates Harris’s extensive and accomplished CV and security clearance levels: Drew Harris, educated intelligencer extraordinaire, undoubtedly knew where the staff were coming from for his PSNI force, and he definitely knew who was looking after the ‘corrupt practices’ around the PSNI’s recruitment contract. He would have known everything about the suppliers involved, and the rates that were being charged. £100 million was a huge amount of money that was being spread around the most financially deprived and politically volatile region of the United Kingdom. Given Harris knew all that and more, one has to wonder why he chose to go into business with the remnants of the same firm in 2023 if he is indeed on the level. One would assume that an upstanding officer of the law would want to distance himself as much as possible from that kind of arrangement and linkage given the circumstances of his exit from the PSNI.

In October 2017, Drew Harris (OBE) and his PSNI superior at the time, Chief Constable Mark Hamilton – possibly not the brains of the operation – were declared to be under investigation by the Police Ombudsman for alleged misconduct in public office and criminality, that “could amount to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice”. Harris & Hamilton were later ‘cleared‘, but both ‘left’ the force soon afterwards. Nothing to see here then.

Drew Harris (OBE) was nearing the end of his rope at that stage, and in September of 2018 he would finally loosen his grip on the North, only to parachute into the cradling arms of a Fianna Fail and Fine Gael coalition of the willing, who needed the right man to execute their upcoming plans. He would go on to be selected and crowned head of the Republic’s Garda Siochana by the shambolic ex-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach at the time, globalist Michael Martin, and the pizza-loving Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.  A phenomenal series of events that would make the leaders of most third world banana-republics blush.

All of the above detailed information was in the public domain in 2018 and should have raised red flags across the political and media landscape of the Republic. And yet, the Fine Gael/Fianna Fail axis installed this man as head of the Irish state security services with the full backing of a captured Irish mainstream media – much of it run incidentally by Dennis O’Brien. It must also be noted that every other major party in the Irish uniparty axis went along willingly with Harris’s appointment. It will come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the politics of this country over the past four years that Sinn Fein never once mentioned the Northern Irish PAC report of 2014 in the Dáil (the Irish Parliament) when Harris was being appointed Commissioner, despite some of their party members sitting on those same PAC committees. Nor did Sinn Fein, who were in government in the North at the time, mention to their constituents from their representative seats in the Dáil about the very serious investigative cloud Harris was under going into 2018.

And in a curious twist, OnTheDitch has recently reported that Staffline’s CEO Tina McKenzie was previously refused security clearance for a role with the north’s probation service (presumably in connection with the provision of recruitment services) because her father, Harry Fitzsimons, was a convicted Provisional IRA bomber. It appears then that at least some elements within the British State have been working to stymie the operations of Harris and his connections while he was in the PSNI.

OnTheDitch also note that McKenzie then later passed high-level vetting for work as a consultant to the British Ministry of Defence. An unusual bestowal for the daughter of a convicted IRA bomber from MI5, to say the least. They also note that McKenzie founded a short lived liberal Unionist party in 2013 called NI21.

It is popular trivia that Drew Harris’s father was apparently killed by an IRA car bomb in 1989. So there are lots of reasons to pause for thought here, considering Drew Harris, Mary Lou McDonald, Michelle O’Neill and the rest of the Sinn Fein cabal always seem to be extremely cosy when photographed in company with Drew Harris. It’s possible that they aren’t fake smiles after all – maybe MI5 flipped the whole lot of them.

The Republic of Ireland has no FBI, CIA or Homeland-security type agency – the Garda police force are the State security service for the Republic of Ireland and her people, a people that has fought for it’s freedom for many centuries and suffered a genocide in the 1840’s, grimacing into the onslaught of the crown that Drew Harris has previously sworn allegiance to. The people in charge of our national police force have to be Irish patriots, otherwise this simply isn’t our country anymore because the Garda are the most powerful organisation in the country. This should of course go without saying but we live in strange times. And while the crown are certainly involved in the intrigue, there does seem to be a number of different organisations at work here – it may not be as simple as pointing at the Brits and shouting that they’re the ones behind all of it.

Fruits of the Poison Tree

Up to the arrival of Staffline’s tender win in late 2023, Garda recruitment operations had been competently handled by the Irish civil service’s Public Appointments Service. While this unwarranted change in approach was clearly a done-deal by late last year, the question of why a UK recruitment agency with this kind of connected history was given the contract for the Irish State Security services hadn’t gone away. It re-entered the public consciousness earlier this month from an unexpected vector.

In a snippet from episode eighteen of their new Path to Power podcast on YouTube, well-known Irish talk and radio show hosts Matt Cooper and Ivan Yates discussed the issue in early May and it subsequently went viral. While Cooper and Yates have undoubtedly done the nation a service by highlighting this contract again, this was an exchange that felt somewhat contrived and rehearsed. That specific podcast episode 18 has since been removed from Yates & Cooper’s Podcast listing stack. However, some good people thought to record the all-important 30 second clip before it went dark.

The nature of the exchange made me think about who or what Cooper and Yates were really pointing to and I will shortly expand on this in the uncensored comments section below – it may have been these links that led to the podcast being pulled from YouTube, or may simply have been the fact that some big names were worried about too many eyes now looking at the ‘interesting’ Drew Harris and Staffline tender situation.

Since Harris’s appointment as Garda commissioner, morale in the Garda force has hit unprecedented lows and the force has been haemorrhaging quality staff because many of them have simply had enough of the madness. If Harris wasn’t encouraging the rainbow-fication of the entire force, he was directing underlings to create recruitment videos in the Pakistani Urdu language, or reneging on agreed-upon shift-work arrangements. Indeed 99% of the Garda police union has recently voted no confidence in his position. Decent officers have been driven out by the politically correct insanity that has marked Harris’s tenure to the present day. It is quite clear that Harris has created the current Garda recruitment crisis – the only question that remains is whether he created it deliberately so he could create the pretext needed to change established recruitment procedures and bring in his former recruitment agency partners. And possibly bring in with them his own previous gang and network from his time at the PSNI.

While yet to be commenced in law as of publication date, the new Policing, Security and Community Safety Act of 2024 gives sweeping powers for the Garda commissioner to engage in any contract and bank account he feels is necessary to execute the powers of his office. Section 40 (a) states that he ‘can enter into a contract on behalf of An Garda Síochána with any person or body concerning any matter arising in relation to those [administration and business of An Garda Síochána] functions’. There’s plenty of points of interest in the act, but section 94, in the context of the current discussion, really jumps off the page. It states that ‘the Garda Commissioner may…appoint a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland as a member of An Garda Síochána of a rank not above that of superintendent for a period not exceeding 3 years…and appoint such a member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland as a member of An Garda Síochána of a rank of Assistant Garda Commissioner or chief superintendent for such period’.

Ergo, reasonable to assume here that the plan all along was for many more staff from UK/PSNI to enter the Gardai and legitimately move into senior positions in the Irish state security service around Harris. People who have already sworn allegiance to the crown. The sole reason that there’s a cap of three years in the clause above is because after three years in place, Irish employment law dictates that a temporary employee becomes a permanent one. Before the three years are up they could legally be moved on to another agency-run assignment in the same organisation after a short break, and the daily-rate payout from each candidate could continue indefinitely – as it does/did in the Southern Irish Prison Service.

Aside from the glaringly obvious possible security implications of Harris importing former lieutenants that he marshalled while under investigation for corruption and perverting the course of justice in the North, the recently-signed Staffline recruitment contract will be used to facilitate these planned transfers, while charging the Irish taxpayer a margin of 18 to 25%+ on every daily rate unit worked by those staff. And Drew Harris will be in charge of the bank accounts. It should also be noted that these will be more well-paid Irish jobs going to non-Irish nationals, and more recruitment state funds going to non-Irish companies. And more massive waste of Irish public monies.

The question of whether recruitment agencies are needed for state recruitment purposes in either jurisdiction is perhaps the most crucial consideration of all. Put simply, recruitment is not rocket science and there is no real commercial need for outside agencies to be used for any state recruitment campaigns in the North or the South of Ireland. Both are mixed economic systems with one major regional economic area (Dublin & Belfast), and in both systems state jobs are highly prized by the labour pool for their job-security, pensions, benefits, and union representation.

We learned from the government-friendly and government-funded website linked in the opening paragraph, that ‘Gardaí said they expect the winning bidder to be known ‘for their recruitment expertise and access to wide networks of candidates in the market both nationally and internationally’…and that ‘among the specialist categories where vacancies are expected to arise are human resources, occupational health, communications, legal, finance, information technology and forensic cartographers and photographers’. You can be certain that the vast majority of placements by recruitment agencies come from passive applications via job ads on job boards like LinkedIn, so the vaunted ‘access to wide networks of candidates’ reasoning is nothing but hollow salesmanship and embellishment – spend 15 grand at Linkedin for a recruiter license and some job slots, stick the fact that you’re recruiting for a secure civil-service job on the ad, and you can have all of the above in the palm of your hand.

As you can see above, this first tranche of agency hires are white-collar professional jobs working for a state agency, in a current economic situation where vacant jobs are much scarcer than two years ago, where major corporations are belt-tightening and laying staff off everywhere, and with recession presenting in almost every unadulterated economic indicator. In short, the usual Public Appointments Service could have easily handled this recruitment brief and there was and is absolutely zero justification to use outside agencies.

Unless of course Harris plans to fill these positions with his old-boy network from the North, in which case Staffline now have the northern contact network from the recruitment database they bought from Grafton, who were supplying security personnel and civilian contractors to the PSNI in a ‘corrupt practice’ manner for over a decade. Or unless he wants to keep the previous arrangement going for some other reason, whatever that could be. The reality is that the real money here may not be the four million recruitment contract: power, control, and then revenue could come from knowing exactly who is under investigation for what in the Republic of Ireland, via a small imported army of ex-PSNI and UK spooks. A man in Harris’s position could hang on just long enough to install his people then run things from behind the curtain, if he were so inclined. There is no doubt he is nearing the end of his time as Commissioner.

With all that being said, let’s for arguments sake say that the Gardaí wanted to handle it all themselves and keep recruitment in house for security reasons. If that was the case they could have simply spent 120k on two decent in-house recruiters, and another roughly 150k on HR and administration staff, LinkedIn advertising, and an account. So the guts of a generous 300k all in – but definitely not four million euro. And remember, that four million euro is just an estimate – we all know how tenders work in Ireland – go see the unfinished Dublin children’s hospital for an idea of how Ireland really works in the last days of Rome being looted. 

One could make the argument that recruiting rank-and file Gardaí does need some outside agency help, but if that’s the case why would Harris have gone with the rebooted Grafton supplier, given what he knows about their past? What they really need is a decent marketing agency or some employer branding expertise without the rainbows. A new Irish Garda commissioner would definitely help, but it won’t cure the rot – see: Maurice McCabe; the failure to investigate the Covid Vaccine fraud and excess deaths; Veronica Guerin; the fact they aren’t investigating the child-sex trafficking network Tusla; and the fact they let 59 Ukranian children be trafficked into the country with zero arrests… for a small list of the reasons why.

Anecdotally, Drew’s boys seem to be undercover here already. There have been numerous reports in conservative circles that the ‘Gardaí’ who were used to assault and intimidate Irish natives protesting the ongoing third plantation in Newtown-Mountkennedy had English and Northern Irish accents. There have also been numerous anecdotal reports of groups of UK-origin security staff operating on sovereign Irish soil in recent months (more coming in the comments section). That’s all speculation of course but regardless, the tenders are now signed and the law supporting that tender is incoming. As a side note, this may be what all of the much-publicised ‘hate-speech’ law back and forth is really all about – ‘everyone watch what this hand is doing while we quietly rob you with the other one’.

To conclude, it is very clear that through his actions, whether deliberate or through some wild series of coincidences involving the the new Irish policing act, Drew Harris has now rigged the Garda recruitment game. He has created the current conditions that mean temporary staff from the police service of an arguably hostile foreign power will be inducted to perform the duties that native Irish Gardaí should otherwise be doing. It is plain to see that as commissioner he has systematically eroded the morale and the standing of the Gardaí in the eyes of the Irish public, creating a shallow pretext for uncontrolled and unnecessary spending of Irish taxpayer money on a recruitment contract arrangement that clearly isn’t needed. And it so happens that the same recruitment agency that Drew Harris (OBE) has fast-tracked into this lucrative contract, previously acquired a different agency that was legally identified as having facilitated corrupt recruitment contracts by an official government investigation, all during his tenure at the PSNI. A PSNI force which he left shortly after an official investigation into him personally for corruption and perverting the course of justice had just concluded. ‘Grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented’ doesn’t even come close to describing it all.

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Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan

Absolutely sick of it.

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