Burying the controversy with an inquiry is not an option. The buck stops with O'Sullivan
Published 06/10/2016 | 02:30
Dismiss and deny and seek to discredit.
That's been the form of senior Garda management - often blindly backed by fledgling ministers - when serving officers have taken the major leap to become what are known as 'whistleblowers'.
Take the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who during a now infamous carpark meeting allegedly told ex-PAC chairman John McGuinness that Sergeant Maurice McCabe "wasn't to be trusted".
In fact, according to the Fianna Fáil TD, Mr Callinan even tried to persuade the PAC not to hear evidence from Sgt McCabe. It would be wrong to take evidence from a man who "couldn't be trusted".
A man about whom there were apparently told "vile stories". Remember, Nóirín O'Sullivan was Mr Callinan's deputy commissioner at the time of the meeting.
And it was Ms O'Sullivan whose position was once again brought into serious question following the hearings of the O'Higgins Commission, which was set up to examine complaints of Garda malpractice by Sgt McCabe.
The claims that Ms O'Sullivan instructed her lawyers to attack the credibility of Sgt McCabe and make the case that he was acting with "malice" once again sent shockwaves through political circles.
The commissioner has consistently denied the claims, insisting that she has always supported Garda whistleblowers.
But the latest set of allegations made by another serving officer not only paint Mr Callinan in an awful light, but implicate his successor equally.
The latest officer to make the protected disclosure did so after suffering a two-year ordeal of his own, which has seen his pay decimated, his reputation tarnished and his lifestyle ripped apart.
His family has also been brought through the mill. All of this has happened under the leadership of Nóirín O'Sullivan, who, as of last night, still maintained the confidence of the Government.
Fine Gael is terrified of losing another commissioner under its watch. Fianna Fáil isn't so keen on it, either.
But we have now gone beyond the point at which this issue can be swept away into another inquiry - Ireland's answer to every dilemma, it seems.
The force is in chaos. The person who must be held immediately responsible is Ms O'Sullivan, quickly followed by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.