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Saturday 20 September 2014

Whistleblower row has damaged public faith in system, says Gay Byrne

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 21/03/2014 | 02:30

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Broadcaster and RSA chairman Gay Byrne with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar launcing the pledge campaign not to use your phone while driving.

ROAD safety chief Gay Byrne believes the whistleblowers' controversy has damaged public confidence in the penalty points system.

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Mr Byrne, who is chairman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), yesterday warned that young garda officers have been undermined by the actions of some of their superiors.

But he said he hopes that further whistleblowers will be encouraged to come forward as a result of the actions of Sgt Maurice McCabe and former garda John Wilson.

Speaking at a road safety conference in Dublin, the veteran broadcaster said: "I think one of the worst aspects of it is people have paid their fines, and they have taken their punishment when a whole raft of people over here have got away scot free. This is a cause of resentment, natural resentment," he said.

"It is awful for young members of An Garda Siochana who are out there at all hours of day and night, trying to do the job in very bad weather... and they are undermined not by rogues, thieves, drug barons, not by anything else but by own superior officers. That is the most depressing aspect of the whole thing," he added.

Mr Byrne reiterated his call for Sgt McCabe to be promoted, while adding that he believed Mr Wilson should be reinstated if he wishes.

He also said that by calling on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw controversial remarks he made about the whistleblowers, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar had done a "wonderful thing".

"I think it would be the right thing to do for Minister Shatter and for the Commissioner perhaps now to come out and say we were wrong and you were right and you deserve something to be done about this," Mr Byrne told reporters.

"The minister, our minister Varadkar, having said in public this morning precisely the same thing – of course I welcome it and it was a wonderful thing for the minister to do," he added.

Irish Independent

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