Garda whistleblower official ‘relieved of duties’ by Shatter

Opposition demands that Minister for Justice address the House on the issue

Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter TD and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan photographed in Templemore Garda College during their 50th anniversary celebrations last week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter TD and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan photographed in Templemore Garda College during their 50th anniversary celebrations last week. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / THE IRISH TIMES

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 14:01

Oliver Connolly, who was appointed to receive information from Garda whistleblowers, has left his role, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dáil.

Mr Kenny said that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had “this morning relieved Mr Connolly of his duties”.

Mr Connolly was appointed at Confidential Recipient in the wake of the Morris tribunal into Garda corruption in Donegal.

The Taoiseach was replying to Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin who referred to a transcript of a conversation between Mr Connolly and Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Mr Kenny told Mr Martin in the Dáil last week that he had asked the Department of Justice for a report on the alleged conversation. Mr Martin said a transcript made for serious and grave reading.

“The import of the transcript is such that the Garda whistleblower is frustrated and there is a sense of disbelief that his complaints are going nowhere.”

Mr Martin said the transcript revealed efforts, if not subtle threats, that if the material in the possession of the whistleblower ever got into the media, “Minister for Justice Alan Shatter would come after the whistleblower”.

Mr Martin said today that he had put elements of the conversation on the Dáil record, “such as how, if Mr Shatter felt that the whistleblower was going to screw him…that he would be finished and that if complaints were exposed to the print media, it would make him an angry man and so on’’.

Mr Martin said what emerged was “quite shocking in terms of their import”. Mr Connolly also spoke of “his close proximity to Alan (Shatter) and how he communicated with him in relation to the allegations that the whistleblower put before him”.

Mr Martin said he had listened to a tape of the conversation and he could confirm its existence.

Mr Kenny said he had received the report on the matter from the Department of Justice. He had read all of the statements made in the conversation between Mr McCabe and Mr Connolly, and he also had contact with Mr Shatter, who was very concerned about the issue.

Mr Martin said Mr Shatter should come into the House and answer questions on he had dealt with the whistleblower.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said that the Taoiseach should relieve Mr Shatter of his duties.