From top: Deputy Commissioner Dónall O’Cualáin, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality; Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace; Noirin O’Sullivan
In light of the latest Garda controversies.
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, along with Deputy Commissioners Dónall O’Cualáin and John Twomey, and Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.
Readers may recall a post from yesterday in relation to Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn’s announcement last week that Superintendent Pat Murray from Athlone had been appointed to carry out the “fact finding” internal investigation in relation to the near one million false breath test figures and 14,700 wrongful convictions.
The post drew attention to the fact that, previously in the Dáil on December 15, 2015, Independents 4 Change TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly spoke about Superintendent Pat Murray.
Mr Wallace said of Superintendent Murray: “This is an individual who has harassed and bullied a Garda whistleblower to an awful degree for a long time.”
He also said that he would give the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald proof of Superintendent Pat Murray reclassifying crime figures.
During this morning’s meeting of the justice committee, Mr Wallace asked about Superintendent Pat Murray and the Garda’s internal investigation.
From the exchange…
Mick Wallace: “Senior garda indiscipline is not under the remit of the Policing Authority, right? But, Commissioner, it is within yours, right? And would you agree that there’s a problem around how Garda indiscipline is dealt with? Now, in line, in tune with the question, I wanted to ask if Superintendent Pat Murray had any involvement in the internal inquiry? You might answer that for me?”
Noirin O’Sullivan: “Deputy, or chair again, I’ll take your direction on this. I don’t think it’s appropriate to speak about individual members and, you know, I’m not sure what the question specifically relates to but I’m happy to answer a question on a broader issue if you wish.”
Chairman Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: “Deputy Wallace, can you maybe rephrase? Maybe relook?”
Wallace: “I just read a press report that Superintendent Pat Murray was actually involved in a, but I don’t know if it’s true or not. And I just wanted the commissioner to confirm if yes or no…”
Ó Caoláin: “Is their a relevance to you raising it….
Wallace: “There is yeah, it’s connected to…”
Ó Caoláin: “…To be careful again, in the context of what I cautioned members about, at the outset of the meeting, I’m not privy to what is in your question…”
Wallace: “I’m referring to a new internal investigation that the Commissioner is setting up. And I’m just wondering in light of the problems in dealing with indiscipline in the force, I’m wondering if, whether Superintendent Pat Murray, who has, is under, is the subject of a protected disclosure. And I’m wondering if he got a job involved in the internal investigation or not. Yes or no.”
Ó Caoláin: “Commissioner I, again, I’ve no advance indication of the questions such as this presenting. I appreciate that there are subliminal issues involved. You’re free to answer as you deem appropriate and, if the matter is inappropriate, in your opinion, I would accept that that is the case and we’ll move on.”
O’Sullivan: “Well, chair, thank you. Deputy, what I can tell the committee here today is that commissioner Michael O’Sullivan is appointed to conduct the investigation and to establish the facts.”
Wallace: “So you’re saying that Pat Murray is not involved?”
Ó Caoláin: ” That, I think, I think, with respect, the Commissioner does not believe that that is appropriate in the context that you’ve raised. And I’m respecting that, deputy Wallace. Is that, that is your position, Commissioner?”
O’Sullivan: “Yes. The assistant commissioner is in charge of the investigation. There is nobody else in charge of the investigation.”
Wallace: “So is he not involved in it?”
Ó Caoláin: “Deputy Wallace, I ask you…”
Wallace: “All right, ok..”
Ó Caoláin: “Can we move on please?”
Wallace: “Right, I’ll move on. I realise it’s hard to get answers.”
The pope, who is 80, “will do everything he can”, to attend the World Meeting of Families, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, a senior Vatican official, told journalists, as he announced plans and final dates for the ninth edition of the gathering of Catholic families.
The World Meeting of Families is to take place on 21-26 August.
Francis will be the first pope to visit Ireland since John Paul II in 1979.
Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan before the Justice Committee:
Pressed to offer an explanation as to how the inaccurate recording happened, the Garda Commissioner said it could possibly relate to the fact that checkpoints were designed to be a preventative measure.
“Perhaps it wasn’t as valued as detections“, she told Fianna Fail Deputy Jack Chambers, but said she did not want to detract from the diligent work done by gardai and said the process of establishing the facts was still ongoing.
Deputy Chambers pressed the garda delegation on whether a bonus system paid to senior gardaí could have played a part in the exaggerated figures.
The commissioner said she did not know the details of such a bonus system and agreed to come back to the committee.