Fianna Fáil insists its decision to reveal the contents of a conversation between Garda whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe and the force's former confidential recipient was in the public interest.
Oliver Connolly, who was removed from his role as a whistleblower liaison by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter last month, has accused the Opposition of subjecting him to "a concerted attack" and of "posturing". The attacks on him were a "naked political attempt to embarrass a Minister for Justice".
However, Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said "any objective and fair analysis would agree that the office of the confidential recipient warning a Garda whistleblower that the Minister for Justice would target him if his claims were made public, is a very serious matter and warrants proper discussion and examination.
“While I understand Mr Connolly’s unhappiness that his comments were recorded and came into the public domain, I cannot accept his analysis that they do not now merit public discussion,” Mr Collins added.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he assumed Mr Connolly would make himself available to the inquiry by Seán Guerin SC into the claims by Garda Sgt McCabe. He expected Mr Connolly would be able to co-operate with Mr Guerin while “respecting” the confidentiality of his office.
Independent TD Mick Wallace, who read Garda Sgt McCabe’s transcript into the Dáil record, said Mr Connolly seemed an “honourable man” but Mr Shatter was unfit for office.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties questioned Mr Connolly’s claim that he could not comment on any discussions he had while in his former role.
Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said he shared the council’s concerns. “Obviously he didn’t consent to the conversation being recorded but it’s out there now. The implications of the conversation are very worrying.”