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Garda Commissioner statement doesn’t clarify issues – O’Brien

25 May, 2016 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Commenting on the Garda Commissioner’s latest statement, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said;

“We acknowledge that the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has published a statement today; however, we believe that it fails to provide the clarification necessary in relation to her direction to her legal counsel during the O’Higgins Commission.

“It is abundantly clear that, due to the wording of the legislation in question, the Garda Commissioner is not precluded from providing this clarification.

“Instead, the Garda Commissioner has chosen to point to the fact that she believes it would be unfair to address the partial transcripts in the public domain, yet goes on to state that her legal team was not instructed to ‘impugn the integrity of Sergeant Maurice McCabe’.

“Further on, Commissioner O’Sullivan suggests that it would not have been ‘unreasonable or improper’ for such an approach to be taken in the name of cross-examination, implying that she did not do what is alleged but that if she had, this would have been acceptable.

“This is basic semantics. First, legislation was used as a shield to hide behind, and now, it is basic wordplay being used to attempt to bury the issue.

“Her legal counsel Colm Smyth has already confirmed that he had challenged the ‘motivations and credibility’ of Sergeant McCabe rather than his integrity. To imply that this is appropriate because the word ‘integrity’ wasn’t used does not instil confidence in O’Sullivan’s capabilities to oversee the root and branch culture change so badly needed within An Garda Síochána when there is a basic admission that she said one thing in public and another in private.

“We welcome the Gardaí meeting with Transparency Ireland with regard to how whistleblowers are treated, and the appointment of a new Protected Disclosure Manager.

“However, the fundamental question remains as to whether Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan is the most appropriate person to oversee changes and improvements in how whistleblowers are dealt with given her alleged conduct during the O’Higgins Commission of Inquiry. Her position is untenable.​” 

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