Full-scale inquiry into allegations likely, says Coveney

Minister says Callinan will have to answer if any investigations reveal inconsistencies in his public statements

Simon Coveney: “There are two versions of events here”

Simon Coveney: “There are two versions of events here”


A senior Fine Gael Minister has said 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 said yesterday a decision will be taken after an examination of Sgt McCabe’s claims by Seán Guerin, the senior counsel appointed by the Government.

“I think there is likely to be, but I don’t know, is the honest answer,” Mr Coveney said of a full inquiry. “The Government only want the truth and they want to rebuild confidence in the Garda, which has clearly been damaged by this and if that means a full-blown inquiry, so be it.”

Mr Coveney, who was speaking on the Breakfast show on Newstalk radio, also said Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan will have to answer if any investigations reveal inconsistencies in his public statements.

Separately, other Fine Gael Ministers have privately criticised Mr Callinan and his approach to the recent controversies.

Mr Callinan suggested Sgt McCabe never co-operated with an 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.”

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

“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.”

Another senior Fine Gael Minister said Mr Callinan seems “to get into a scrap with everyone”.

“The PAC, Smithwick, GSOC, the whistleblowers,” the Minister said, adding there is a “certain sense that Shatter is taking the flak for him, which seems unfair from a politician’s point of view”.

A senior Labour source suggested those in Fine Gael were feeling more aggrieved about Mr Callinan because of the pressure Mr Shatter is under.

“He doesn’t exactly show a deft touch,” the source added of Mr Callinan.