Friday 19 January 2018

We can't let McCabe row hamstring Gardaí

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan Photo: Steve Humphreys
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan Photo: Steve Humphreys


When Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan took over, the force was in crisis. Controversy had seen her predecessor, Martin Callinan, step aside along with then Justice Minister Alan Shatter, in unprecedented circumstances. The allegations of a whistleblower had rocked the establishment. Her task was to lift Garda morale, and restore confidence. In 2014, she said: "We do have to listen to critics of the system, we have to be open to hearing what they have to say - that is very important. And I do intend to provide leadership in that regard."

She singled out the whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, for praise. She said: "Clearly what we need as well is a new era, a new culture so that the Irish people, the Irish citizens can have confidence in our policing system and confidence in our police. Confidence in our justice system is equally critical." Her mission was to herald a new era of trust, transparency and accountability.

So how have we come to a pass where leaked files claim that lawyers for Ms O'Sullivan had sought to question Sgt McCabe's motivations and his credibility? How could so many troubling questions again be raised, questions so grave that the credibility of the entire force could be tarnished unless they are clarified?

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