Monday 23 April 2018

Whistleblower's PAC appearance in doubt

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

Tom Brady Security Editor

Doubts emerged last night over whether a Garda whistleblower would appear before the Dail public accounts committee today to discuss the penalty points saga.

Although the meeting is expected to go ahead, it is understood there was contact between the whistleblower and the committee yesterday.

The value of the appearance at a private meeting of the committee, given the restricted forum, and a parallel investigation being conducted by the Garda Ombudsman Commission are believed to have been the cause of the hesitation.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has admitted he has reservations about the decision of the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to hear evidence from a whistleblower about the quashing of penalty points by senior officers in the force.

Serving garda sergeant Maurice McCabe is due to give evidence to the committee in a private session today. But despite those reservations, Mr Callinan said he believed it would not be in the public interest to pursue the question of legal proceedings against the committee.

Oireachtas committees have already lost a series of High Court challenges to their powers to hold inquiries into different topics. These include the Abbeylara shooting and the cable network case.

Mr Callinan said he had every respect for the role of the committee and had no doubt it would act strictly in accordance with the legal advice it had received.

While he continued to have reservations, he said he noted that the meeting was being held in private and that it appeared to be the intention to confine the questioning of the person concerned and, in particular, that person would not be able to make allegations against his colleagues or members of the public.

Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness said: "We intend to stick to the letter of the legal advice we have.

"This is the first time a whistleblower has given evidence to a committee at Leinster House... It will help the committee understand how the Garda Pulse system actually works."

Irish Independent

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