Former Garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly says he is "uncertain" about what an appearance by him before an Oireachtas committee to discuss the whistleblower controversy would achieve.
Mr Connolly also says he will consider whether he will co-operate with a Government inquiry into allegations of Garda misconduct made by whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
Mr Connolly released a statement yesterday in which he said he felt a "personal sense of betrayal" that Sgt McCabe taped conversations with him and then released the transcripts, which were read in the Dáil by Independent TD Mick Wallace and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.
He said he was still bound by the office he held as confidential recipient, a whistleblower liaison within the force, and could not comment on any “alleged” or “unverified” conversations that were taped.
“I am precluded from commenting on the contents of the alleged transcript because to so comment would require me to violate the confidentiality of the reporting process and of the office itself.”
Mr Martin and Mr Wallace quoted Mr Connolly as telling Sgt McCabe: “If [Minister for Justice] Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.” Mr Shatter sacked Mr Connolly in the wake of the disclosure of the conversation and the Minister was unhappy with his response to the controversy.
Asked by The Irish Times if and why he made the comments, Mr Connolly replied: “There is an explanation for everything, but if you have truly considered my statement, you will know that I cannot provide you with the answer that you would find satisfactory without breaching the confidentiality of the office.”
Fianna Fáil has called on Mr Connolly to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, but Mr Connolly said: “In regard to Fianna Fáil’s request, I am uncertain what might be achieved. We’ll see.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he assumed Mr Connolly would be able to co-operate with the analysis of Sgt McCabe’s allegations being carried out by Seán Guerin SC, while “respecting” the confidentiality of the recipient’s office. Mr Connolly said Mr Kenny’s comments raised “matters for my further consideration”.
In his statement, Mr Connolly said he was satisfied he properly discharged his duties in respect of Sgt McCabe and another Garda whistleblower who approached him. He believes both contacted him “in good faith”. “Crucially, it was also my belief that they had reported to me in confidence and that our discussions were subject to the strictest confidentiality.”
He said he had been “subject to a concentrated attack by certain members of the Dáil” in recent weeks and accused the Opposition of “posturing”.
Mr Connolly added: “My honour, my good name, my professional competence and integrity, my privacy as an ordinary citizen have been impugned.”
He also said he remained an “an enthusiastic supporter” of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in his programme of reform.
“I have been asked to comment on the Minister for Justice’s decision to relieve me of my duties in office. The Minister and An Taoiseach have acted as they have in relieving me of my position. So be it.”
He said he should not be required to validate the conversation taped by Sgt McCabe “and I shall not validate, either by way of confirmation or repudiation, the contents of an alleged transcript unlawfully procured. “I am precluded from commenting on the contents of the alleged transcript because to so comment would require me to violate the confidentiality of the reporting process and of the office itself.”
He sharply criticised Fianna Fáil and said it had taped the journalists’ phones in the past. Recent attacks on him were a “naked political attempt to embarrass a Minister for Justice” with “selectively extracted lines from an unverified transcript of a confidential conversation” between a serving member of the Garda and himself.