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Sunday 11 December 2016

‘It was not unreasonable to question credibility of Sgt McCabe’s evidence’ – Garda Commissioner

Two Garda to be investigated for evidence to O’Higgins Commission

Kevin Doyle Group Political Editor

Published 25/05/2016 | 12:41

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney

GARDA Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan has defended her handling of whistleblower allegations, saying it appropriate to question the credibility of Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s evidence.

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Ms O’Sullivan issued a much-anticipated statement today in which she confirmed that her legal team had challenged the motivation of Sgt McCabe.

She also revealed that two gardaí are to be investigated for possibly attempting to mislead the O’Higgins Commission which was set up on following a series of allegations by Sgt McCabe about garda misconduct in the Cavan/Monaghan distict.

Today the Commissioner said she was “reluctant” to respond to leaks about her approach to the inquiry.

“Whatever its source, the net charge that is now being made is that the credibility and motivation of Sergeant McCabe was challenged,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

The country’s most senior officer said she has a duty to all members of An Garda Siochana, both current and former.

Sgt Maurice McCabe Photo: Tom Burke
Sgt Maurice McCabe Photo: Tom Burke

“Having regard to the nature and seriousness of the allegations, and the duty to assist the Commission in its task of establishing the facts and truth, I cannot see how it would be in any way unreasonable, improper or avoidable to appropriately test and cross examine the evidence of all persons giving evidence to the Commission including Sergeant McCabe,” she said.

“The Commission found, in relation to certain allegations; these hurtful allegations to be unfounded and in at least one case based on a belief, but unsupported by evidence, and that those against whom such complaints were made lived for many years under the strain of those allegations.”

Ms O’Sullivan also revealed that she has asked the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to refer the conduct of two gardaí to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSCO) for investigation.

“There has been a suggestion in recent reportage that two senior officers had sought to misrepresent before the Commission the contents of a meeting they held with a Sergeant in Mullingar in 2008.

“In those circumstances, and in order to resolve any public disquiet, misplaced or otherwise which may arise, and in the interest of fairness to all involved, I have requested the Minister for Justice, pursuant to her powers within the Garda Síochána Act, to refer that aspect to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission for the purpose of investigating it in the public interest,” she confirmed.

In her lengthy statement Ms O’Sullivan said the current controversy was the result of “certain selective information” be leaked into the public domain.

“By ‘selective’ I mean transcripts of no more than three minutes of what happened at a Commission which ran for 34 ten hour days, generating thousands of pages of transcripts,” she said.

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