independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Whistleblower garda had 'no choice' but to quit force

John Wilson has resigned from An Garda Siochana

A Garda who last year revealed details of penalty-point terminations that are now the subject of an official inquiry quit the force last week. He says that he felt he had "no choice".

Garda John Wilson, of Cavan, is a nephew of the late Tanaiste John Wilson TD and a brother of the current Fianna Fail whip in the Seanad, Senator Diarmuid Wilson.

Now aged 50, Mr Wilson retired last week. Married with children, he has no job to go to but says that he felt under so much pressure within An Garda Siochana that "my position was untenable".

Mr Wilson dismissed a recent internal garda enquiry into the setting aside of some penalty points by gardai as inadequate.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has promised to bring a report on that inquiry to Cabinet.

Mr Wilson called yesterday for a public inquiry, saying: "There are tens of thousands of fixed-fine penalty notices that I believe have been terminated."

ANALYSIS page 18

Referring to a recent English prosecution in which a former British government minister and his spouse were jailed because she took his penalty points, Mr Wilson said: "Chris Huhne and his wife would not be in jail today if he was living in Ireland.

"He would have known a garda and it would have been sorted. He would not have one penalty point."

Frustrated by his inability to have his complaints dealt with as he wished within the garda complaints system, Mr Wilson last year took his information to some members of Dail Eireann under the Garda Siochana Act 2005.

Section 62 of that act permits a person who is or was a member of An Garda Siochana to disclose information obtained in the course of carrying out duties to a limited range of specified persons, including members of the Oireachtas "where relevant to the proper discharge of the member's functions".

Mr Wilson said: "I can never be accused of running outside the organisation first. I went through the proper channels first."

He said he could ill afford to depend on his garda pension and that he "loved the interaction with the community" that his work involved.

He is calling for an independent public inquiry, but not a tribunal. "Maybe an independent High Court judge; I would settle for that."

Irish Independent

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