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Garda chief may move to halt PAC quiz

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 Martin Callinan. Photo: Tom Burke

Martin Callinan. Photo: Tom Burke

Martin Callinan. Photo: Tom Burke

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is in talks with the Attorney General's office about options open to him as two garda whistleblowers prepare to come before the Public Accountants Committee (PAC).

The courts could be open to the senior officer as early as today where he can apply for an injunction in a High Court hearing preventing the committee from speaking to the two whistleblowers.

It comes after the commissioner was grilled for five hours yesterday over reported wrongdoing in the gardai.

The PAC is scheduled to question garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe next Thursday.

IRREGULARITIES

However, if the garda commissioner is granted a temporary injunction it means he will not appear before the committee next week. The PAC wants Sgt McCabe to give evidence of the alleged irregularities in the force where penalty points were cancelled.

Mr Callinan told the committee he was considering taking legal action over the committee wanting to talk to Sgt McCabe when he appeared before the committee yesterday.

PAC chairman John McGuinness has insisted they still plan to have the serving garda sergeant before them.

"We are going ahead. We have made our decision.

"The committee members believe that the whistleblower should get an opportunity to appear before the committee," said the Fianna Fail TD.

A second whistleblower, John Wilson, who is now retired, attended yesterday's hearing and offered to give evidence himself.

He said he will be "fully standing over the allegations of corruption and malpractice".

Both whistleblowers leaked alleged wrongdoing in the gardai.

Commissioner Callinan feels that no member of the force should discuss garda matters with a public government committee.

EXTRAORDINARY

This morning Independent Deputy Shane Ross said he thought it was "extraordinary" that Mr Callinan said the committee was not the platform for whistleblowers to give information.

"He was almost disdainful of the Public Accounts Committee, which is after all a democratic forum," Mr Ross said on RTE's Morning Ireland.

"He went on to talk about being usurped by subordinates, which was an extraordinary phrase to use – again regarding his 'subordinates', as he calls them, as being second class citizens when they have every right to express a view, an opinion and give evidence in public."

hnews@herald.ie


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