Gilmore rejects claims of Shatter attempting to silence gardaí

McDonald accuses justice minister of being vindictive against protests

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has rejected Opposition claims that the Minister for Justice is attempting to silence gardaí. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has rejected Opposition claims that the Minister for Justice is attempting to silence gardaí. Photograph: Alan Betson / THE IRISH TIMES

Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 14:42

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has rejected Opposition claims that the Minister for Justice is attempting to silence gardaí.

Four garda sergeants face a disciplinary hearing today after they walked out when Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and later Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan addressed the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors' conference.

But Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Shatter in the Dáil of attempting to silence the garda and of being vindictive against them in their protests against the renegotiated Croke Park deal.

Mr Gilmore, who was answering leaders' questions said “the Government is not disciplining anybody. The matter of Garda discipline is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. It's not a matter for the Minister for Justice, it's not a matter for the Government and it should not be a matter for political debate and discussion or political interference...it should be left with the Garda Commissioner.”

Independent TD Mattie McGrath accused Mr Shatter of being prejudiced against gardai and then in a personalised attack, claimed the Minister had refused to allow gardai protecting him at his home, use toilet facilities there.

Mr Gilmore said: “Well if we ever needed a demonstration as to why the management of the Garda Siochána and matters relating to discipline in the Garda Siochana should not become a matter of political debate, we've just had it.”

Mr McGrath also called for a management board, a “buffer zone” between politics and An Garda Siochána and claimed the Garda Commissioner was “compromised” because of his own continuing service beyond his pension age.

Mr Gilmore called in the Tipperary South TD to “reflect seriously on the personalised attack he has just made on the Garda Commissioner”, who was “charged with the running of An Garda Siochána and he should have the support of every member of this House”.

He said it did not serve either Dail Eireann or Mr McGrath well to make a personal attack on the Garda Commissioner. “I think frankly that you should withdraw that.”