Friday 9 December 2016

Garda Commissioner should not step aside during whistleblower inquiry - Leo Varadkar

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

Published 06/10/2016 | 12:35

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

Social Protection minister Leo Varadkar has said he doesn’t think the Garda Commissioner should step aside during an inquiry into the latest whistleblower controversy.

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The two Gardaí made protected disclosures to Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald which include allegations of a smear campaign by senior Garda management against a whistleblowers.

Independent.ie has learned that the two individuals will refuse to cooperate with an inquiry into the matter unless Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan temporarily steps aside.

Mr Vardakar this morning expressed confidence in Ms O’Sullivan and said he doesn’t think she should step aside during an inquiry.

“I don’t think that would be appropriate,” he said.

“Allegations are often made about senior office holders – not just the Garda Commissioner.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Eagers
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Eagers

“I don’t think it would be practical for senior office holders like the Garda Commissioner and others to step aside every time there’s an investigation underway,” Mr Varadkar said.

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor joined Mr Varadkar in backing Ms O’Sullivan saying: “I have absolute confidence [in her]”.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney also expressed confidence in Ms O’Sullivan this morning.

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

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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