Byrne urges Shatter and Callinan to apologise

Broadcaster and Road Safety Authority chairman also calls on two Garda whistleblowers to be reinstated and promoted

 Gay Byrne:  said he had got a “fantastically favourable reaction” to his comments and a large number of people had rung in to express agreement.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Gay Byrne: said he had got a “fantastically favourable reaction” to his comments and a large number of people had rung in to express agreement. Photograph: Alan Betson

Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 01:00

OLIVIA KELLY


Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne has said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan should apologise to the two Garda whistleblowers who exposed widespread breaches of policy in the penalty points system.

Speaking on his Lyric FM radio show yesterday, and later to The Irish Times , Mr Byrne said an apology from Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan to Sgt Maurice McCabe and former garda John Wilson was the “right thing to do”.

He also said the commissioner should do everything in his power to reinstate Mr Wilson to the force and ensure Sgt McCabe was promoted.

On his show, Mr Byrne said the whistleblowers who had brought to light the quashing of penalty points by An Garda Síochána had been “grossly wronged”.

“I’m talking about John Wilson and Sgt McCabe . . . they have been ballyragged and contradicted and made to feel badly, and the right thing to do now would be to come out in the open and say ‘we’re sorry these guys have been wronged and we want to put it right’ .”

Mr Byrne said his comments were made in his capacity “as a radio presenter and not with my RSA hat on”.

“In every walk of life you come to a situation where you have to do the right thing. As a citizen, the right thing it seemed to me for Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan to do is say we want to apologise most sincerely.

“[On the radio show] I talked about perception being all and the perception around the country was that these two guys were wrong,” he said. “They have been given a hard time.”

Mr Byrne said he had got a “fantastically favourable reaction” to his comments and a large number of people had rung in to express agreement.

The public reaction to such an apology would be wonderful, Mr Byrne said, particularly if the men were reinstated and promoted.

Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan should say: “Not alone do we apologise most sincerely for everything that has happened to you, not alone do we express our regret and our sorrow and all of those things, but we will do everything in our power to reinstate John Wilson, if that’s what he wants, into the Garda Síochána, and as for Sgt McCabe, we’ll see to it he gets promotion to the next step up.”