The PSNI’s superior-profile head of communications Ryan Feeney has give up and is returning to his old employer, Queen’s University, Belfast.
e will consider up the post of Director of Community Engagement later on this autumn.
His departure places even further force on Chief Constable Simon Byrne who has confronted calls for his resignation pursuing a collection of blunders since his appointment two many years in the past.
He was embroiled in controversy a fortnight back immediately after a assessment of policing in South Armagh prompt relocating memorials to murdered officers out of public check out in law enforcement stations.
Next outrage from unionist politicians, the Chief Constable gave assurances that the memorials would not be moved.
It is recognized there has been frustration for some time in the force’s senior administration that Mr Byrne struggles to get suggestions from colleagues.
PSNI sources have indicated there has been “a sizeable length concerning the Main Constable and his communications group for a sizeable period”.
An insider reported: “Simon Byrne tends to go on solo operates and fails to choose members of his command group with him.”
It arrives as the Belfast Telegraph discovered earlier on Thursday that a senior female supervisor has still left the PSNI to acquire up a main write-up with An Garda Siochana.
Yvonne Cooke, who was head of Human Sources with the pressure, and in demand of the welfare of some 9,000 officers and staff, will get started her new work on Monday.
Ms Cooke is the most up-to-date senior PSNI staff to settle for a big work south of the border.
Mr Feeney(41), a previous senior GAA official, was appointed PSNI Director of Strategic Communications and Engagement in December 2018 when Sir George Hamilton was Chief Constable.
Mr Byrne took up Northern Ireland’s major policing position 5 months later.
Mr Feeney, and his wife – previous SDLP adviser and barrister Caroline McNeill – have been subjected to intimidation and social media abuse mainly because of his PSNI role.
It is comprehended that some Policing Board members have been briefed previously this yr on threats to the couple and their youthful loved ones.
Announcing his appointment three a long time back, Sir George spoke of the “wealth of experience” that Mr Feeney introduced to the career.
“Communication and engagement are essential to the achievement of the PSNI and we look ahead to the benefit of his knowledge and skills as we more improve confidence in policing,” he explained.
Mr Byrne’s tenure has been marked by gaffes and setbacks like tweeting a photograph of himself outside Crossmaglen police station on Christmas Day 2019 with officers brandishing assault rifles.
He faced major criticism from nationalist politicians who claimed it represented a militaristic fashion of policing and was offensive to the nearby community.
Four months previously, the Main Constable experienced advised the small children of paramilitaries could be taken into treatment.
Mr Byrne later acknowledged that his “enthusiasm to communicate in soundbites has caused a distraction”.
He mentioned he was satisfied to withdraw “the interpretation that small children are pawns if that is what has been heard”, incorporating that it was not his intention.
He faced widespread criticism in excess of the PSNI’s dealing with of Bobby Storey’s funeral in June 2020 and of the arrest of a survivor of the Sean Graham’s Bookies Massacre at a commemorative celebration in February.
Mr Feeney’s resignation will not occur as a surprise to informed observers.
From Greysteel in Co Derry, he served as a 13-12 months-outdated altar boy at the funeral of 5 victims killed in the UDA’s 1993 assault on the Soaring Solar bar in the village.
He has spoken about the effect the atrocity experienced on the tightly knit community group.
From 2006-2015, he was a major GAA formal, co-ordinating its engagement with the governing administration. He was associated in the outreach venture to loyalists organised by President Mary McAleese and her partner Martin.
Feeney facilitated private visits by foremost loyalists and civic unionists to All-Eire finals in Croke Park.
He coordinated the GAA’s reaction to the dissident republican murder of PSNI officer and GAA member Ronan Kerr in 2011.
Feeney voiced his anger at the killing. His selection to join the Policing Board afterwards drew heavy criticism from dissident republicans. He was praised by then Deputy To start with Minister Martin McGuinness who claimed: “Ryan Feeney is a course act and a single of the bravest persons I know.”
The Greysteel gentleman coordinated the attendance and deal with of Edwin Poots – then DUP Society Minister – at the very first Ulster GAA group convention at Stormont in 2008.
He was also concerned in Peter Robinson’s attendance at the McKenna Cup remaining with Martin McGuinness in 2012.
Feeney shipped a joint lecture with Sir Jeffery Donaldson at the 2014 British-Irish Association convention in Oxford on the subject of reconciliation and deferring identities.
He left the GAA to develop into Head of General public Engagement at Queens where he organised a convention to mark the 20th anniversary of the Excellent Friday Settlement in 2018. Visitor speakers incorporated Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, David Trimble and Seamus Mallon.