Saturday 20 October 2018

Tricky Garda questions spell more trouble ahead

A Christmas election has been averted but Garda controversy could still trip up this Government

Former Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Former Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

John Barrett threw down his pen and slumped back in his seat in apparent exasperation. Not for the first time, the Garda's head of human resources had been blocked by his boss from answering a particularly pointed question at the Public Accounts Committee.

"You're straying," the acting Garda Commissioner, Donall O'Cualain, warned Barrett at one point. "I have to insist that these questions are not answered," he said, at another.

The hot topic was the internal Garda unit set up by the now departed Noirin O'Sullivan to liaise with Mr Justice Peter Charleton's Disclosures Tribunal. The tribunal is investigating an alleged attempt to smear the whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Barrett had concerns about how the unit was set up and who it served. Alan Kelly, the Labour Party TD and vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, knew it. The acting Garda Commissioner knew it.

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