Tuesday 20 March 2018

Garda Commissioner refuses to comment on Jobstown 'perjury' claim

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan Photo: Gerry Mooney

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has refused to comment on allegations that Gardaí committed perjury during the recent Jobstown court case.

But she indicated that the court process - that saw six men including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy acquited of the false imprisonment of former Tánaiste Joan Burton - will not be included in a Garda review of the case.

There were heated exchanges in the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as Ms O'Sullivan was quizzed on the matter by Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald.

It came a day after Mr Murphy used Dáil privilege to claim “numerous gardaí lied under oath in a co-ordinated way” during the trial over the water protest in Novemebr 2014.

Ms McDonald asked Ms O'Sullivan for her reaction to concern over evidence given by some Garda members during the court proceedings.

Ms O'Sullivan said she didn't want to talk about the court case or the process saying all of the parties involved are entitled to due process.

She pointed out that certain matters relating to Jobstown remain before the courts and she is"very much constrained and precluded" in what she could say.

"I certainly don’t want to say anything that would in any way prejudice or jeopardise anything that is ongoing at the moment," she added.

Ms O'Sullivan said Assistant Commissioner Barry O'Brien has been appointed to review how events unfolded in Jobstown "from a lessons learned point of view".

She said if anyone had concerns over issues that transpired from the protest "or any other matters", they can make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)  or any Garda Station and it will be taken seriously.

Ms McDonald repeatedly asked if Mr O'Brien is investigating the evidence given by Gardaí during the case and accused Ms O'Sullivan "deliberately not answering this question" and "filibustering".

Ms O'Sullivan again pointed out that there are outstanding court proceedings in relation to Jobstown.

"When the totality of the matters before the court are concluded obviously that will then feed into the review," she said.

PAC chairman Seán Fleming asked if Mr O'Brien will be examining the court process at the end of the court proceedings.

"He would have no authority to examine the court process. The courts are an independent institution," Ms O'Sullivan said.

Mr Fleming asked if GSOC has notified her of any investigation arising from the Jobstown affair.

Ms O'Sullivan replied: "not at this point".

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