Shatter accused of burying points issue
Martin says Garda whistleblowers isolated and undermined
Micheál Martin: “It goes to the heart of how a system and a Government treats whistleblowers. The Minister is very culpable with regard to the remarks he made on the floor of this House.”
Garda whistleblowers were isolated, undermined and denied access to records, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Dáil yesterday. “They were told by the Garda Commissioner that their behaviour was disgusting,” he said.
Mr Martin said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had brought matters to a new level when, on the floor of the Dáil, he had said the whistleblowers had not co-operated with the investigation of the authorities and, in particular, with the O’Mahony investigation. “He went outside of the House to say that their accusations were wild and groundless and lacked evidence.”
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Taoiseach Enda Kenny said allegations had been made by a whistleblower in September 2012 in respect of the operation of the fixed charge processing of penalty points. “I have not seen the report but I understand it contains a lengthy series of recommendations, and the report will be presented to the Cabinet this afternoon by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
“I understand it contains a lengthy series of recommendations which the Minister accepts and he will recommend their implementation to Cabinet.”
Mr Kenny said he agreed with Mr Martin that the Garda whistleblower was engaged in conversation and discussions with the Garda Inspectorate and had probably helped the inspectorate to provide a full and comprehensive analysis. The Minister would publish the report later in the day and place it before both Houses of the Oireachtas.
Mr Martin said that what was obvious over the past year was that the system tried to bury the issue, and the Minister went along with the modus operandi, despite the Road Safety Authority sounding alarm bells with him. “The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Leo Varadkar, accepted the credibility of the whistleblower on this issue and I know he stood his ground with the Minister for Justice.”
Mr Martin said the Minister for Justice’s tone and demeanour was to isolate and undermine the whistleblowers and present them as unreliable mavericks who could not be trusted. He said the whistleblowers were undermined. “It goes to the heart of how a system and a Government treats whistleblowers,” he added. “The Minister is very culpable with regard to the remarks he made on the floor of this House.”
Mr Kenny said it was all very well for Mr Martin to come into the Dáil with his “righteous attitude when he forgets that in 2003, his Government did nothing about a report”.
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin (SF) said the Garda Inspectorate report had serious implications for Mr Shatter. “It would seem, from the leaks we have noted this morning, that the report vindicates the actions of the whistleblowers.”
Mr Ó Caoláin said it begged the question why the Minister had attempted to “discredit Sgt McCabe”.