Tuesday 25 October 2016

Goverment appoints judge to investigate explosive whistleblower claims

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

Published 07/10/2016 | 17:35

Garda Commissioner Nóírín O’Sullivan. Photo: Frank McGrath
Garda Commissioner Nóírín O’Sullivan. Photo: Frank McGrath

The Government has agreed to launch a formal inquiry into the explosive garda whistleblower allegations that have rocked the force.

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Galway judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill will head up the inquiry, which has been given an initial deadline of six weeks.

The probe was ordered by Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald following a meeting with Attorney General Máire Whelan on Friday.

The judge will examine allegations made under protected disclosure by Superintendent David Taylor that senior garda management ran a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Other claims about the culture within An Garda Síochána, made under protected disclosure by a senior civilian officer last month, will also be examined.

In a statement, Ms Fitzgerald said the “rights of everyone to fairness and proper procedures have to be vindicated.”

She added:

“I am determined that An Garda Síochána operate to the very highest standards and this involves ensuring that allegations of wrongdoing are dealt with properly and the persons making those allegations are fully protected and respected.

"On conclusion of the review I will consider what further steps may be necessary.“

Supt Taylor claimed senior garda management orchestrated a campaign to discredit the character of Sgt McCabe.

It’s understood he has also claimed in his disclosure that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was made aware of the campaign through text messages and other forms of communication.

The allegations contradict a statement by Commissioner O’Sullivan this week, during which she said she was “not privy to nor approved of” any action targeting an officer in the force.

She said she would “condemn any such action” and reiterated her stance that any employee’s concerns “will be taken seriously and the matters examined”.

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