Inquiry may be widened to include all Garda issues
Taoiseach says commission could look at whistleblower claims and GSOC ‘bugging’
In her first public comment, newly appointed Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said there was a “crisis of confidence” among the public in relation to An the Garda Síoch a ána that had to be dealt with and changed.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has raised the prospect of an over- arching commission of investigation into different sets of allegations against the Garda.
Mr Kenny said yesterday that the commission he had promised in response to the Guerin report on the handling of the Garda whistleblowers’ claims might be widened to include the allegations that the headquarters of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) were bugged.
The GSOC claims are currently being investigated by retired High Court judge John Cooke, who is due to report to the Government shortly.
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“There is a possibility that when Mr Justice Cooke comes in with his report there may be something similar,” Mr Kenny said yesterday. “The question is, do you run these commissions individually or put them together?”
The Taoiseach insisted yesterday that Alan Shatter alone made the decision to resign as minister for justice and was not put under pressure to resign. “That was the decision that Alan Shatter came to himself and that’s directly stated in his own letter.”
In her first public comment, newly appointed Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said there was a “crisis of confidence” among the public in relation to the Garda Síochána that had to be dealt with and changed. “Clearly what we need as well is a new era, a new culture so that the Irish people can have confidence in our policing system, confidence in our police,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the Dáil yesterday Luke Ming Flanagan said another whistleblower, Garda Nicky Keogh from Athlone, had presented information to the confidential recipient, Mr Justice Patrick McMahon.
Mr Flanagan said the whistleblower’s greatest concern was with a drugs operation in November 2009 in which there was “a systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking Garda officers” to induce and coerce citizens to buy drugs from drug dealers and sell the drugs in turn to undercover gardaí, thus boosting crime detection figures.
The Garda said in a statement last night: “The use by any member of An Garda Siochana of the confidential recipient mechanism is a confidential process and, as such, we are not in a position to comment on it at this stage.
“In general, Commissioner [Noirín] O’Sullivan said recently that she doesn’t regard dissent as disloyalty, and that any member of An Garda Siochana who wants to raise an issue or concern will be supported in doing so.”