Former High Court judge appointed to review Garda whistleblowing allegations

Paul Williams suggests the controversy "is much more significant" than other scandals

Former High Court judge appointed to review Garda whistleblowing allegations

Image: RollingNews.ie

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has revealed details of the review into the Garda whistleblowing controversy.

Two senior officers have claimed they were involved in the smearing of a whistleblower.

The allegations were made under protected disclosures legislation.

Former High Court Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill will review the allegations and report to the Minister Fitzgerald within six weeks.

The Tánaiste said: "As I have already said publicly, it is vitally important that the claims of people making such disclosures are properly addressed. We have to do that in a way that is proper, just and fair to all. The rights of everyone to fairness and proper procedures have to be vindicated.

"I am determined that An Garda Síochána operate to the very highest standards and this involves ensuring that allegations of wrongdoing are dealt with properly and the persons making those allegations are fully protected and respected," she added.

Garda Commissioner Nóirin O'Sullivan has welcomed the review.

"An Garda Síochána will co-operate fully with this review process," she said in a statement. "An Garda Síochána re-iterates its support for employees who make protected disclosures and that anyone who brings forward any concerns or issues will be taken seriously and the matters examined."

The review has also been welcomed by opposition politicians. Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan said: "We now look forward to the judge working towards a speedy conclusion to his inquiry so that we can get to the truth of these matters."

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “It is extremely important that this inquiry commands the confidence and cooperation of everyone concerned particularly the gardaí who have made the complaints.

“I trust that the Minister has established that all parties to these allegations, have confidence in the process and will assist the inquiry fully."

Commissioner O'Sullivan attended a press conference this morning - to praise the gardaí involved in preventing an armed raid in Meath - but refused to be drawn on the scandal.

In a statement earlier this week, Commissioner O'Sullivan said "she was not privy to nor approved of any action designed to target any garda employee who may have made a protected disclosure and would condemn any such action".

She added that she will support an investigation into the matter.

Speaking to reporters today, she said the matter will be dealt with - later:

 

Meanwhile, Newstalk Breakfast presenter Paul Williams suggests the controversy "is much more significant than the other whistleblowing controversies or scandals".

He explained: "[One] dimension to this controversy is An Garda Síochana, now in the past two years, under this Commissioner, has become completely engulfed in a whole new set of controversies and crises. 

"This is not the way both Frances Fitzgerald and Nóirín O'Sullivan told us or promised the State they would reform the gardaí," he added.