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I won't apologise for voicing the public's anxiety over garda claims

I WAS interviewed on Morning Ireland last week about the controversies surrounding the garda cancellation of penalty points, whistleblowers and the alleged bugging of the GSOC offices.

These issues are refusing to go away – just like the anger with which my comments were greeted by some senior members of the force.

Some high-ranking officers believe that, as a former garda, I had somehow let the side down and was being disloyal.

Perhaps such officers should have listened with a more open mind. I'll go over the matter again.

MISTAKE

In relation to claims of garda misconduct in cancelling penalty points, Justice Minister Alan Shatter has accused whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe of failing to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony's inquiry into the matter.

Shatter is incorrect in this assertion and owes Sgt McCabe a public apology. None has been forthcoming.

Since these allegations surfaced, I've argued that an internal inquiry into the claims – even one conducted by a respected investigator like O'Mahony – would not be seen as independent and unbiased.

Gardai investigating gardai was a serious mistake. A wholly independent inquiry should have been set up. It wasn't, and as I predicted, the O'Mahony inquiry failed to allay public unease.

What seems to have especially riled my former colleagues is that I pointed out the extraordinary decision not to interview McCabe during the inquiry – a case of Hamlet without the prince.

Subsequent to this, Commissioner Martin Callinan referred to such whistleblowing in the force as "disgusting" – a comment that was completely inappropriate.

Separately, in relation to the recent allegations of bugging at the GSOC offices, it was disturbing to witness GSOC chairman Simon O'Brien being summoned like an errant schoolboy before the minister to explain himself.

Shatter said GSOC should have informed him of the inquiry they launched, but they were not obliged to do so.

The minister subsequently rubbished O'Brien's fears of garda surveillance at GSOC as "baseless innuendo".

Shatter's treatment of O'Brien was disgraceful, particularity on foot of a security assessment that revealed anomalies in a sweep at GSOC offices.

A third issue I spoke on was the comments allegedly made by the former confidential recipient, Oliver Connolly, to Sgt McCabe.

Connolly allegedly said garda misconduct claims made by McCabe would be "a disaster for them [the garda]".

If true, these comments are hugely alarming, very damaging and will cause deep unease to all citizens.

As a result of the charges and counter-charges over the past month and the damaging allegations of malpractice, the administration of justice is being deeply undermined.

So I am at a loss to understand why some senior gardai are so annoyed at my comments.

They reflect the public's anxiety.

Only the establishment of a full judicial commission would get to the heart of these myriad claims and satisfy the public.

Until that happens, I will be offering no apologies for my remarks.


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