Sunday 23 October 2016

It's appropriate for Gardaí to investigate whistleblower claims - Frances Fitzgerald

Robin Schiller

Published 12/10/2016 | 12:18

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Collins
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Collins

Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has hinted that she will create a new independent body which will review Garda whistleblower allegations following two "very serious confidential disclosures" this month.

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Ms Fitzgerald has also stated that it is appropriate for An Garda Siochana to investigate claims made by garda whistleblowers relating to malpractice and wrongdoing within the force.

It comes as a High Court judge is set to review two confidential disclosures made to the Minister almost two weeks ago by two Garda whistleblowers.

Speaking at One in Four's annual report at the Royal College of Physicians, Ms Fitzgerald said that while she would consider an independent body to investigate such claims, she added that it is appropriate for allegations to be dealt with by gardai and the Garda Ombudsman.

"I have at present got a High Court judge reviewing two very serious protected disclosures that landed on my desk. The Policing Authority is also looking at policy's and procedures in An Garda Siochana because I want people to have confidence in the way An Garda Siochana deal with whistleblowers.

"If another independent body is necessary in order to do that then I would certainly consider it. We have considered how to best reassure the public that what's happening in An Garda Siochana meets the highest standards. If it requires another independent layer it's something I would certainly consider," she said.

"There are other investigations and I can't comment on individual cases but there's a variety of ways in which whistleblowing cases are investigated.

"I can't for example bring criminal proceedings. That has to be GSOC or An Garda Siochana so it's appropriate that certain cases are dealt with by An Garda Siochana and GSOC. I can't cut across other investigations and that's an analysis that there's more to it than meets the eye.

"We have to be very clear that there are other mechanisms through which cases are being investigated."

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