Dáil told Garda Commissioner ‘should fall on his sword’
Fine Gael asked how they can stand over claim to be the ‘law and order party’
Shane Ross: “If a message is to go out today from us to the people, it should be that the commissioner should fall on his sword and resign because of his behaviour and because of his deep politicisation in this particular controversy”
A call has been made for Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to “fall on his sword” and resign.
Independent TD Shane Ross made the call during a day-long Dáil debate about allegations of Garda malpractice and incompetence.
The Dublin South TD said that for the Garda Commissioner to call whistleblowers “disgusting” was something every TD recognised as unacceptable.
“If a message is to go out today from us to the people, it should be that the commissioner should fall on his sword and resign because of his behaviour and because of his deep politicisation in this particular controversy.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the relationship between the Minister, Garda Commissioner, GSOC and the confidential recipient was “at best dysfunctional, and at worst actively subverting the goal of dealing with allegations of improper behaviour”.
Mr Martin noted that in the Minister’s speech to the Dáil he made no reference to the confidential recipient and his sacking of him. He said in 2011 the Minister was challenged that appointing a friend and donor as confidential recipient might mean he would not be able to act fully and independently of the Minister. “And these fears have been fully realised, Minister.”
Mr Martin told Mr Shatter: “You just don’t have the humility to say sorry, that you got it wrong.”
He noted that the Minister was the only person who accused Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe of not co-operating with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony’s investigation into his claims.
He added that the assistant commissioner or his team “never contacted, interviewed, called, telephoned, texted, e-mailed, faxed or visited Sgt McCabe”.
He told the Minister “your behaviour on this has been absolutely appalling”.
Mr Martin added that Sgt McCabe told him that the confidential recipient was right that “you did come after him”.
Mr Shatter had consistently refused “to even contemplate the idea that he might be wrong, and he has repeatedly impugned the integrity of any deputy, senator, journalist or member of the public who has challenged him”.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said “the only acceptable way to bring this chaotic episode to some sort of clarity and to a conclusion is to establish an independent inquiry”.
Mr Adams said the scandals demonstrated “an unhealthy close relationship” between the Minister and the Garda Commissioner, and each controversy highlighted the Minister’s “inability” to properly address the serious issues that had emerged for gardaí and the justice system.
Mr Adams said Mr Shatter even “went on to the plinth to attack the two whistleblowers in a scurrilous effort to undermine their credibility”.
However Reform Alliance TD Lucinda Creighton said “the general public is expected to believe that Deputy Gerry Adams, without any hint of irony, has concern for the protection of whistleblowers – this from a man who is widely accused of ordering the abduction and murder of a woman who his movement believed to be a suspected whistleblower”.
Independent TD Mick Wallace, who was the first to raise the penalty points controversy, said: “Fine Gael used to pride itself as the party of law and order. How in God’s name can they still stand over that?”
‘Rubbish all the way’
He said the Minister’s attitude to all allegations by Independent TDs about penalty points was to “minimise, dismiss and rubbish all the way”.
The Wexford TD shouted at Mr Shatter: “Minister, you look up at us and you say how dare those people with the long hair and raggy jeans have the audacity to challenge you?”
He told Mr Shatter: “It’s time for you to go, Minister, and bring the commissioner with you.”