Tuesday 23 January 2018

Government pushed on whether 'other state agencies' were involved in alleged McCabe 'smear campaign'

Dáil set to debate garda inquiry terms of reference

Sinn Fein's Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Mark Condren
Sinn Fein's Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald. Photo: Mark Condren
John Downing

John Downing

The Government was today quizzed on whether “other state agencies” were approached by the gardaí in relation to allegations against whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald used Dáil question time to ask the Justice Minister if gardaí had approached other state agencies about disputed the details of disputed claims of misconduct by Sgt McCabe.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said to her knowledge there were approaches to the garda oversight body, GSOC.  But she was not aware of approaches to any other state agency.

The Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan also faced fresh calls for her to temporarily stand aside pending an investigation into alleged mistreatment of the garda whistleblower.

As the Dáil prepared to debate the terms of reference for a new judge-led inquiry, Sinn Féin backed calls from Labour and Independent TDs for Ms O’Sullivan to take so-called administrative leave.

Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said the ill treatment of whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, was deplorable and the allegations hit at the core of police and justice administration systems.

Ms McDonald said that Commissioner O’Sullivan was not guilty of any wrongdoing.  But as “a matter of good procedure” it was best that she temporarily stood down pending the investigation by Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton.

Minister Fitzgerald said that allegations against Commissioner O’Sullivan had been examined, along with counter allegations against other parties, by retired High Court Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill. But Judge O’Neill could not decide in favour of one side or the other – so Commissioner O’Sullivan must stay in her post.

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