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Inclusion of other whistleblowers in Tribunal welcomed – O’Brien

16 February, 2017 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking today after the Terms of Reference to the public tribunal of inquiry into the smearing of Sergeant Maurice McCabe were agreed, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien TD said that “Maurice McCabe and Katie Hannon have done the state a service”.

The Cork North Central TD said:

“We have accepted the Terms of Reference to establish a Tribunal of Inquiry into the whistleblower claims and the treatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

“We now have much more comprehensive terms of reference compared to what was in place before.

“Sinn Féin met with the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald yesterday regarding the terms of reference and suggested a number of amendments to the Terms that were aimed at making the Tribunal as open, accountable, and comprehensive as possible.

“Six of these amendments were accepted in some format and we welcomed the Minister’s willingness to engage with members of the opposition on this.

“We welcomed that the case of Keith Harrison was accepted and included specifically in the draft terms of reference.

“We also note that there is a clause within the Terms of Reference that will allow for other whistleblowers to be included in this. We had said that we wanted other whistleblowers included so we are glad that there is scope for the judge to come back and request an additional module.

“Importantly, we wanted to see whether there was a pattern of behaviour among senior Garda managers in how they dealt with whistleblowers with media. We believe that there was potentially a pattern of behaviour where media figures were used to discredit whistleblowers when they were saying, quite reasonably, that there are systemic and chronic problems within An Garda Síochána.

“There has been a consistent line of bullying and harassment present whenever individual Gardaí stated that there were problems. We could be forgiven for suggesting that, had the recommendations of the Morris Tribunal been implemented in full, we would not be where we are today.

“It is completely unacceptable that the Garda Commissioner will remain in place while this Inquiry is ongoing. It is mind-boggling that this is being allowed to happen and the fact that the Government are willing to stand over this is typical of their arrogance.” 

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