Saturday 24 February 2018

Concern over O'Sullivan's continued access to liaison unit

Retired: Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: PA
Retired: Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: PA
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The head of human resources at An Garda Síochána has voiced serious concern about the access to a special unit of lawyers and retired gardaí that is being provided to former Garda commissioners Nóirín O'Sullivan and Martin Callinan.

It has emerged that Ms O'Sullivan is continuing to avail of services provided by the internal unit in Garda Headquarters which was set up to liaise with the Disclosures Tribunal. The tribunal, led by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, resumes its hearings today into the alleged smear campaigns against Garda whistleblowers.

Ms O'Sullivan and Mr Callinan - who both resigned under clouds of controversy - are accused of being complicit in the smear campaign. But the Irish Independent can reveal that since Ms O'Sullivan's departure last week, head of HR John Barrett has expressed deep disquiet over the continued access to the unit.

Mr Barrett has told colleagues he intends to formally express his concerns to Judge Charleton over the access. The Dáil previously heard claims Ms O'Sullivan appointed some of her close friends to the unit - some of them retired gardaí.

Central to Mr Barrett's concerns is that serving members of the force who are key witnesses at the tribunal do not have the same access to legal services as Ms O'Sullivan and Mr Callinan. These include Sergeant Maurice McCabe, Superintendent David Taylor and Garda Keith Harrison.

Mr Harrison, who is due to appear in front of the tribunal today, has alleged he was subjected to bullying and harassment after arresting a colleague in Athlone for suspected drink driving.

It's understood Mr Harrison has also registered his concern with the tribunal about the make-up and access to the internal unit. Among those appointed to the unit are retired assistant commissioner Mick O'Sullivan and former chief superintendent Brendan Mangan.

The unit is headed up by Detective Supt Tony Howard, who was involved in investigating Mr Taylor over an unrelated issue. Mr Howard is assisted by Sgt Sinead Greene. Both officers previously reported to Ms O'Sullivan's husband, Detective Chief Supt Jim McGowan.

Irish Independent

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