Martin Callinan's use of 'disgusting' to describe whistleblowers was 'unfortunate' - interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan has described her former boss’s use of the term ‘disgusting’ in relation to the whistleblowers as "unfortunate".
She said former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who stepped down from the position last week, has a particular opinion in relation to that issue and he was entitled to that.
But she insisted that the force must now be prepared to accept internal dissent.
She said gardai with a different view can be “the catalyst for change, the corrective for inaction, and can bring added value”.
In a ground-breaking speech at a Garda Reserve Graduation ceremony in Templemore this afternoon, Ms O’Sullivan spelled out what lies in the garda force in the wake of recent controversy.
Referring to the whistleblowers, without naming them, she said they must be taken seriously.
“We’ll be working hard on changing the mindset so that we don’t view dissent as disloyalty but rather as an opportunity to improve what we are already good at doing.”
Ms O’Sullivan said they must develop strong working relationships with oversight bodies, and key stakeholders such as the Road Safety Authority.
Those strong working relationships could help them improve road safety and improve the quality of life for citizens.
She told the 79 Reserve graduates they may be called upon to show great physical courage.
“But be in no doubt: You will be called on to show moral courage in dozens of small unspectacular ways.
“You will need the courage to stand up to any concensus that’s easy, appealing and wrong.
“You will need the courage to question, even when questioning irritates and infuriates people who can influence your future. Because that’s what a good garda does. They respond to emerging situations.
“The public trust has to be won and won again.
She said that today was a good example of this relationship that the gardai enjoyed with the public as it showed members of the public volunteering to act as part-time members of the force.
She said the position of whistleblower Sargent Maurice McCabe, whose access to the PULSE computer system is currently restricted, is under review.
Ms O’Sullivan also indicated that she would apply for the post of garda commissioner when it was advertised.