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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Garda watchdog: why did I not get any whistleblower reports?

Published 09/03/2014 | 02:30

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Martin Callinan
Minister For Justice Alan Shatter TD Garda Commisoner Martin Callinan
Minister For Justice Alan Shatter and TD Garda Commisoner Martin Callinan

JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter's garda watchdog has claimed he has never received a whistleblower report from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

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In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Garda Inspectorate Chief Inspector Bob Olson said the commissioner has not alerted his office to anonymous reports of alleged garda misconduct, as is required under law.

"That's an issue I've got to look at – what do you do, we've never gotten one, we've never gotten a notification,' the former US Police Commissioner said.

He added: "I've been working on it since I got here with the commissioner and everybody.

"My attempts to try and rectify that have not been successful."

Mr Olson, who was appointed two years ago, also revealed he has never met Mr Shatter, despite the importance of his role and the fact they work in almost adjoining buildings on Dublin's St Stephen's Green.

And he said the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) bugging allegations are "scary", if true, because he "knows the technology involved".

The inspectorate's office independently investigates garda operation and administration on behalf of the Justice Minister and makes recommendations on how to achieve best practice in the force.

The Cabinet will this week discuss the findings of Mr Olson's most recent investigation into whistleblower garda Maurice McCabe's allegations of wrongly terminated penalty points.

Mr Olson said he interviewed Sgt McCabe as part of his review but did not receive any complaint he made through the confidential recipient for garda whistleblowers.

FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS, PAGE 8

Legislation states that once the Garda Commissioner receives a complaint from the confidential recipient he is required to get the complainant's permission to forward the allegation to Mr Olson's office.

However, the commissioner is not supposed to know the garda's identity because the system for reporting malpractice protects their anonymity.

Mr Olson said the "logical" thing for the commissioner to do is contact the confidential recipient, who could in turn seek the whistleblower's permission to send the allegations of malpractice to the inspectorate's office.

But his office has never received a single whistleblower report, Mr Olson claimed.

"I think it (the legislation) was put in there on purpose, not for us to be involved in investigating wrongdoing but for us to be made aware of confidential reports that may address a system failure or inefficiency," Mr Olson said.

Mr Olson said his office has never had anything withheld by gardai while carrying out investigations and enjoys a good working relationship with the commissioner.

Sunday Independent

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