Garda Síochána and Dáil privilege
Sir, – If there is no substance to the smear campaign allegations made in the Dáil by Brendan Howlin, he will need to consider his future in political life. On the other hand, if the allegations are substantiated, then a clear-out of the Garda senior management team, plus the Minister and her senior officials, will be necessary as there would clearly be a serious problem in both the Garda and the Department of Justice, and the public could not possibly have any faith in either organisation.
This is a defining moment in Irish politics, whichever way it goes. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The president of the High Court’s recent reaffirmation of the principle of parliamentary privilege as vital “to protect . . . the democratic process itself” was warmly welcomed and should be jealously guarded. Like all privileges, it is open to abuse.
Brendan Howlin’s allegations against the Garda Commissioner have stretched this principle to its limits. It is one thing to utter an opinion. It is quite another to repeat serious allegations heard third-hand with no knowledge or evidence beyond the word of an individual who was not party to the alleged discussions.
It is correct to review whether these utterances were an appropriate use of this privilege. – Yours, etc,