Wednesday 22 November 2017

Whistleblower 'evidence' is protected by privilege - Varadkar

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has said he believes a so-called 'box of evidence' handed into the Oireachtas by a garda whistleblower is protected by privilege.

Minister Varadkar was responding to reports that Garda Commissioner Martin Callanan has sought possession over the documents.

The documents, which contain allegations of abuses of the penalty points system, was handed to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by a garda whistleblower.

The files were forwarded to the committee's legal team before a decision is taken whether to allow politicians to examine the findings.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes have expressed concern over the development.

Mr Callinan has demanded the return of the files amid suggestions that the leak to the PAC could constitute a criminal offence.

However Minister Varadkar told independent.ie that it will be up to the PAC to decide what to do with the files.

"Thats going to be a decision for the Public Accounts Committee themselves," he said.

"As far as I understand it, anything that is given to the Oireachtas is under privilege. So what the PAC will have to weigh up really is the privilege they are given to investigate matters such as this on the one hand with the need to rotect peoples privacy on the other but that will be a decision for them."

Irish Independent

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