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Tuesday 23 September 2014

PAC garda wants his testimony transcript published

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

Published 01/02/2014 | 02:30

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Whistleblower Garda Sgt.Maurice McCabe arriving for the private session of the Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 30/1/14
Whistleblower Garda Sgt.Maurice McCabe

The garda penalty points whistleblower who gave evidence at a behind-closed-doors meeting of the Dail's spending watchdog is said to be in favour of a transcript of his testimony being published.

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Sgt Maurice McCabe, pictured, is seeking legal advice on the issue, but is known to have no objection to a transcript of his comments being made public.

He made history on Thursday when he became the first serving garda to provide whistleblower evidence to an Oireachtas committee.

He provided members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with an overview of the fixed- charge-notice penalty system and how many points had been cancelled.

A source close to Sgt McCabe said: "He doesn't have any principled objection to the release of the transcript."

A solicitor acting for the Co Cavan-based garda sergeant is due to get a copy of the transcript next week.

Should Sgt McCabe formally indicate at that stage that he wishes the transcript to be published, the committee would have to then consider his request.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said: "Once he is happy with the transcript, the committee can consider further what to do with it."

But it is by no means certain that the committee would agree for the transcript to be published. The committee has already received legal opinion strongly advising against publishing the transcript.

EXPOSED

Committee clerk Ted McEnery told members this week: "The strong (legal) advice given to me is we need to protect the witness as much as possible."

Mr McEnery added: "The danger of a transcript being out there is that he could be exposed."

Thursday's meeting went ahead despite staunch opposition from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

The commissioner opted not to mount a threatened legal challenge, as he did not want to get involved in a public spat with the committee.

Sources said Mr Callinan would be "very concerned" if Sgt McCabe's testimony was made public.

However, despite these concerns, the commissioner would not attempt any legal action to block the publication of the testimony.

Irish Independent

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