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There can be no confidence in Garda Commissioner in the absence of clarity – O’Brien

18 May, 2016 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has today written to Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald to outline the party’s ongoing concern with the claims surrounding Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s alleged instructions to her legal counsel during the course of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Deputy O’Brien said:

“Confidence in the ability of the Garda Commissioner to deliver the changes to An Garda Síochána as set out in the recommendations in the report of the Commission of Investigation is a matter of immense public importance.

“I have written to Tánaiste Fitzgerald and asked her to confirm whether she now believes that the Commissioner is the most appropriate person to ask members of An Garda Síochána to become whistleblowers if they are aware of malpractice and wrongdoing, now that those potential whistleblowers are aware of how persons are allegedly treated by the legal counsel of the Garda Commissioner during the course of a Commission of Investigation.

“If Sergeant Maurice McCabe had not had the foresight to tape his meeting, it is shocking to think how the final report may have looked and it is not clear whether the Garda Commissioner would have continued instructions to her counsel to the detriment of Sergeant McCabe’s character as reported in the media.

“How are the public to have confidence that there will not be a continued ‘corporate closing of ranks’ in the future?

“It would be open to Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan to state whether she was wilfully misled and if this is what led her to instruct her counsel as per the leaked transcripts. I have asked the Tánaiste to put this question to Garda Commissioner to clarify the matter, and if this is the case then further ask who is to be held accountable for these actions.

“In the absence of proper clarification from the Garda Commissioner, this will appear to the public to be business as usual.

“I have appealed to the Tánaiste to honour her commitment to transparency, openness and reform of Irish politics by putting these questions to the Garda Commissioner and subsequently inform the House of her responses as a matter of urgency.” 

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