Senior FG minister says full Garda inquiry ‘likely’

Simon Coveney adds decision yet to be taken

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 12:13

Fiach Kelly

Political Correspondent

A senior Fine Gael minister has said he thinks it is likely a full scale inquiry will take place into the allegations of Garda misconduct made by Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney told the Breakfast show on Newstalk radio this morning a decision will be taken after an examination of Sgt McCabe’s claims by Séan Guerin, the senior counsel appointed by Government.

However, Mr Coveney was asked if he thinks a full inquiry will follow Mr Guerin’s assessment, and said: “I think there is likely to be, but I don’t know, is the honest answer.

“The Taoiseach is taking this very seriously, we had a long discussion on it yesterday in Cabinet. He feels he is not in a position to be able to make an accurate judgement on whether there should be a full blown inquiry. What he wants is a legal expert to look at the files that deal with 10 to 12 different cases.

“The Government only want out the truth and they want to rebuild confidence in the Gardaí which has clearly been damaged by this and if that means a full blown inquiry, so be it.”

Mr Coveney was also asked if he has “100 per cent faith” in Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, and said he has “faith” in Mr Callinan, but added: “I think this issue needs to be investigated fully”.

Mr Callinan has said Sgt McCabe never co-operated into a internal inquiry into the penalty points controversy, while Sgt McCabe insists he was never asked to do so.

Mr Coveney said: “If there are inconsistencies between what the Garda Commissioner is saying and what an investigation which is now under way turns up, the Garda Commissioner like everyone else will have to answer for that.

“There are two versions of events here. I believe Martin Callinan is doing the best he can in a very difficult circumstance at the moment but nobody is above reproach here and the investigations will expose what happened and the consequences of those investigation will be what they will be.”