Tuesday 25 October 2016

Taoiseach: I have '100pc support' for Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan

Kevin Doyle in Washington

Published 18/05/2016 | 17:41

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he has "100pc support" for Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.

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However, Mr Kenny said that he is "quiet sure" she will clarify why her legal team were preparing to argue that Garda whistle-blower Sergeant Maurice McCabe was acting out of 'malice'.

Speaking in Washington Mr Kenny faced a series of questions over the latest controversy to engulf An Garda Siochana and his new government.

He gave his full backing to Ms O'Sullivan, saying that the only person who really knows what took place during the private hearings of the O'Higgins Commission is Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins.

Mr Kenny said the Commissioner was "overseeing the most radical change in garda structures since the foundation of the State".

"Obviously the Dáil commissioned Mr Justice O'Higgins to compile a report. He is the only person who listened to it all, who sat through it all, 97 witnesses.

"His mandate was to write up a report taking all of those issues into account and his report is very clear, both in the findings for the major personnel concerned, for the victims particularly and specifically in terms of the recommendations to be implemented. Commissioner O'Sullivan is now setting about implementing those recommendations with the Minister for Justice," he said.

The Taoiseach said it was Mr O'Higgins who decided that certain sections of his investigation should be held in private - but added: "I'm quite sure that if the opportunity presents itself the Garda Commissioner will put into the public domain what she's legally entitled to put into the public domain.

"I would make the point that it's a criminal offence to produce any documents relevant to a Commission of Investigation, which in this case were deemed appropriate to be held in private by the judge."

Asked if the current situation was similar to the one which led to the downfall of Alan Shatter as justice minister and Martin Callinan as Garda Commission, Mr Kenny said: "In this case there is a very clear set of findings. The judge is the only person who heard all the evidence, who sat through all the evidence... and produced his report. Nobody has condemned his report. It's a first class report. It's very clear. In particular it's findings in regard to different personalities in there."

Mr Kenny rejected calls for Ms O'Sullivan's resignation, saying all his dealings with her had been "first class" .

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