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Wednesday 13 December 2017

PAC seeks legal advice on whistleblower evidence

Shane Phelan and Niall O'Connor

Q THE Dail's spending watchdog is seeking legal advice on what to do with a "box of evidence" supplied to it by a garda penalty points whistleblower.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan wrote to Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John McGuinness seeking the return of the documents.

However, Mr McGuinness said yesterday legal advice was being sought as to whether the documents could be examined by the Comptroller & Auditor General Seamus McCarthy. Mr McCarthy previously conducted an investigation that found as many as one in five drivers were evading fines because of weaknesses in the fixed penalty system.

Mr McGuinness said the material was "fresh information" and "we should examine it".

He said there was a public interest in it being investigated.

To date, the material has not been viewed by the committee.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has said he believed the "box of evidence" was protected by privilege. Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent that it would be up to the PAC to decide what to do with the files.

"As far as I understand it, anything that is given to the Oireachtas is under privilege," he said.

Irish Independent

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