Monday 5 December 2016

Shooting the messengers for doing their jobs

Far from impropriety, Connolly gave McCabe's concerns the respectful hearing they deserved

Published 23/02/2014 | 02:30

Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the private session of the Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House Picture
Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the private session of the Dail Public Accounts Committee meeting at Leinster House Picture

Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, sacked Oliver Connolly allegedly because the lawyer had an "inappropriate conversation", which he wouldn't "repudiate". The conversation was with garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe. This dramatic move was backed by the Taoiseach, who revealed it to the Oireachtas in a manner that suggested regrettable behaviour by the lawyer, who had to be "relieved of his duties".

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Having twice reviewed a transcript of the conversation, I cannot find in it a single sentence that is in any way "inappropriate". And the notion of "repudiating" it is odd – does that mean saying it didn't happen? Or that what was said was untrue?

The recording of the conversation, and the resulting transcript, are not of first quality. There are inaudible passages and patchy sections. It's an inconclusive and somewhat disorganised conversation, a chat over coffee. The lawyer does not appear to have done anything that warranted reprimand, let alone sacking.

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