Martin Callinan said some of the actions of the garda whistleblowers were disgusting
The Cabinet will discuss the continuing controversy over the remark by the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan about the actions of garda whistleblowers.
Two months ago, on 23 January, Commissioner Callinan, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and described the actions of the two whistleblowers Sergeant Maurice McCabe and retired garda John Wilson as “disgusting”.
Following the publication of the Garda Inspectorate report on the penalty points system, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, followed by Labour ministers have called on Commissioner Callinan to withdraw the remarks.
However, it is understood Labour is not going to take this further.
The party is focusing on seeking agreement in principle on an Independent Garda Authority, along the lines of the Police Board in Northern Ireland.
A Government source said there is an open mind across party lines on the issue, but it should not be rushed.
A spokesman for the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Mr Varadkar met yesterday regarding the whistleblower controversy. The meeting was described as “good-natured”.
It is also understood that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Mr Varakar met informally yesterday.
Separately, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday said Minister Shatter, should withdraw remarks he made last October, that the whistleblowers had not co-operated with the internal garda inquiry into the penalty points issue.
This is also expected to be raised at today’s meeting.
While in the afternoon, the opposition will have their opportunity to press the matter further during Leader’s Questions.
Meanwhile, Chief executive of Transparency International Ireland John Devitt has said that it would be hard to believe any apology that the Garda Commissioner or Justice Minister may offer to the whistleblowers at this stage is heartfelt.
Speaking today to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Devitt said that Mr Callinan and Mr Shatter need to acknowledge the impact of events on the two gardaí at the centre of the controversy.
He said both men had suffered greatly as a result of speaking out.
Mr Devitt said: “I’m not sure any apology would be heartfelt, I don’t think it would mean that much given the substance of what they have said already.
“They have shown no appreciation of the suffering and the impact of the action their words have had on either John Wilson or Maurice McCabe and their families.”
He said sergeant McCabe needs to be given power to access the force’s computer system, Pulse, again so he can do his job properly and that he currently has less access than a trainee.
Mr Devitt added that Mr McCabe has not been able to do his job properly since late 2012 and that failure to reinstate his access is tantamount to reprisal.
Independent TD Clare Daly, also speaking to Morning Ireland, said that Commissioner Callinan must step down following his handling of the penalty points controversy.
She said that matters have gone too far for an apology to suffice.
“I think any apology at this stage would clearly be totally ungenuine and unmeaningful.
“The reality is now that such is the contamination from the handling of this very important situation that really there’s no alternative, but for the Commissioner to go at this point in time.
“It’s not just the treatment of the whistleblowers which has been absolutely scandalous, but Commissioner Callinan has sought to minimise this issue from the very beginning,” said Ms Daly.
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