Nóirín O'Sullivan says she asked Martin Callinan to withdraw whistleblower remarks

Garda Commissioner has called for an 'independent entity' to deal with whistleblowers

Nóirín O'Sullivan says she asked Martin Callinan to withdraw whistleblower remarks

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan speaking about the Garda Siochana Modernisation and Renewal Programme 2016-2021 at Farmleigh | Image: RollingNews.ie

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has said she wrote to her predecessor telling him to withdraw remarks calling whistleblowers "disgusting". 

Ms O'Sullivan told the Oireachtas justice committee that she disagreed with Martin Callinan's description of penalty points whistleblowers. 

"I am on record as saying the choice of words was unfortunate," she said.

"What I wrote to Martin Callinan was to withdraw those remarks because I do not believe they were said in the way they came across."

The garda chief called for a single entity to deal with whistleblower allegations but refused to be drawn on any specific cases in the public domain. 

She again re-iterated she was not privy to, nor did she approve of or condone, any alleged campaign against a whistleblower.

It comes after Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald received statements by two senior gardaí alleging senior garda management set out to destroy the character of a whistleblower.

An ex-High Court judge was appointed to review the claims last week. Former Justice Iarlaith O'Neill will have six weeks to carry out the review and report back to Minister Fitzgerald. 

Commissioner O'Sullivan told the Oireachtas committee that she believes the way protected disclosures are dealt with needs to change:

She also denied promoting friends and relatives to top jobs in the force, after being accused by Independent TD Mick Wallace of elevating her husband and bridesmaid.

Ms O’Sullivan said she never had a bridesmaid and described it as one of the "factual inaccuracies" in the public domain.

But Deputy Wallace stood over the claim this afternoon in an interview on Newstalk Drive.

"What sort of a connection she had to the individual involved remains to be clarified,” he said.

"But I can tell you that a number of individuals who we have evidence of complaints against have actually been brought closer to her since she became commission.

"She has promoted some of them.. This is a worrying trend."

He added: "Any information myself and Clare Daly have gotten in the last four years around malpractice has come from guards.

"You might say some of them have vested interest but we don’t just run to the Dáil when we hear something. We check it out, and double check and triple check."

Speaking earlier, Ms O'Sullivan also said she remains confident that planned strike action by the force next month can be averted.

Garda Representative Association (GRA) members are due to withdraw services on four dates in November.

But Ms O'Sullivan refused to discuss contingencies, saying she wants to see the matter resolved: