Sunday 21 January 2018

Top Garda executive quits ethics committee of force

John Barrett
John Barrett
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

An Garda Síochána's head of human resources, John Barrett, has reportedly stepped down from the Policing Authority's Ethics Committee.

It is understood that Mr Barrett stepped down from the committee last Thursday.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee on May 31, Mr Barrett described as "extraordinary" suggestions by the Garda's executive director of finance Michael Culhane that he may have wanted to damage the force by raising concerns about financial irregularities at the Garda training college in Templemore.

Mr Culhane wrote to the Commissioner in October 2015 and questioned whether Mr Barrett had been unwittingly guilty of a criminal offence under the Official Secrets Act.

At a PAC hearing, Mr Barrett told TDs that it was "appalling" he had not been given a copy of the letter, despite asking the Garda Commissioner six times for it, either directly or through his solicitor.

When it was eventually released to him under the Freedom of Information Act, he said, 85pc was redacted. This letter about him was, however, handed over to the PAC on May 31.

Last night, the Policing Authority issued a statement to the 'Irish Examiner' newspaper saying that Mr Barrett informed the committee that he would be "stepping aside from his role in relation to the roll-out of the Code of Ethics by the Garda Siochána."

The Authority's draft Code of Ethics was published last September.

Mr Barrett has worked as head of HR since 2014.

Michael Culhane is executive director of finance in An Garda Síochána, a position he has held for over two decades.

Irish Independent

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