Thursday 8 December 2016

Informants say Garda chief must stand aside

Kenny signals new judge-led inquiry

Niall O'Connor, Philip Ryan and Cormac McQuinn

Published 06/10/2016 | 02:30

Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency
Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

The two whistleblowers at the centre of the latest Garda scandal will refuse to co-operate with a State inquiry unless Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan temporarily steps aside.

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The Irish Independent understands that the whistleblowers have serious reservations about how their complaints will be handled.

It comes after Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated that the Government may need to appoint a judge to investigate the claims that a garda was the target of a character assassination bid.

Mr Kenny said he has "absolute confidence in the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner" adding: "I don't have any reason not to."

However, a refusal by the whistleblowers to take part in the inquiry announced by Mr Kenny is likely to render it defunct.

Both An Garda Síochána and the Government have been left reeling following serious allegations of a smear campaign and character assassination attempts by senior Garda management against a serving officer.

The allegations were made under protected disclosure to Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who once again finds herself in the eye of a storm.

In the disclosure, a senior officer claimed he was authorised by his superiors to send hundreds of text messages to politicians, members of the media and gardaí alleging gross misconduct by the whistleblower.

The allegations, sources say, were aimed at compromising the whistleblower.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner insisted she was "not privy to nor approved of" any action targeting any Garda employee making a protected disclosure.

Irish Independent

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