Wednesday 23 August 2017

Garda chief claims she was 'excluded' by senior colleagues

O'Sullivan tells smear campaign inquiry she faced workplace inequality

Garda: Noirin O'Sullivan
Garda: Noirin O'Sullivan

Philip Ryan and Maeve Sheehan

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has told the investigation into claims of a smear campaign against whistleblower Maurice McCabe that she was also sidelined by senior colleagues.

In her 10-page submission to Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill's inquiry, the Commissioner said she experienced "inequality and exclusion" while working her way up the ranks of An Garda Siochana.

Mr Justice O'Neill was tasked with investigating claims that senior gardai were involved in an orchestrated campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe after he highlighted garda malpractice.

Ms O'Sullivan told the retired judge she was also forced to raise concerns about not being informed about management issues when she was a deputy commissioner.

According to sources familiar with the submission, the Commissioner said she was kept out of the loop on the first internal garda investigation into quashed penalty points carried out by Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony.

Ms O'Sullivan also told Mr Justice O'Neill she urged former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his controversial "disgusting" comment about whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson at a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing.

Details of Ms O'Sullivan's submission have been confirmed by a number of sources familiar with the document.

She also said she had no knowledge of Mr Callinan's meeting with former PAC chairman John McGuinness in a hotel car park where the former commissioner is alleged to have made accusations against Sgt McCabe.

Mr Calllinan's meeting with Mr McGuinness is likely to feature prominently in any future inquiry into the allegations contained in protected disclosures made to Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald last year.

It is understood Mr Callinan told the O'Neill inquiry the claims made by two whistleblowers were "hearsay".

Mr Callinan, who was approached by Mr Justice O'Neill in November, dismissed the claims as vague and said they had been the subject of distorted media reporting, according to informed sources.

He is also understood to have asked for an assurance that his constitutional rights would be protected and any fees incurred responding to the allegations would be covered by the State.

Mr Callinan and Ms O'Sullivan deny all allegation made against them by the whistleblowers.

Mr Justice O'Neill presented his report to Ms Fitzgerald on December 7 but the Justice Minister has yet to bring the report before Cabinet.

It is understood there are legal concerns over publishing the report due to the seriousness of the allegations made against all parties involved. The Attorney General's office has been examining the report for more than a month.

It was expected the report would go before Cabinet soon after the Dail recess but it is not scheduled for this week's meeting. A Department of Justice spokesman said: "The Tanaiste is engaged in the process of preparing proposals arising from the report with a view to their submission as soon as possible."

Sunday Independent

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