Tag Archives: Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

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This afternoon.

Further to allegations that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan look a central role in the attempted smearing of whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

During Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil, Soc Dem co-leader Catherine Murphy said:

The Commissioner’s statement last night that she was surprised by the revelations made yesterday astonished me.

Because those allegations had been circulating in both political and media circles for some months now if the Commissioner genuinely didn’t know about them them then there is a really serious failure in the intelligence gathering capabilities of her office or indeed the force and a serious problem with internal communication.

Given the tittle tattle that the last Commissioner seemed to know about Mick Wallace’s minor driving incident for example it’s very hard to believe that the current commissioner is oblivious to the most serious and scurrilous allegations about both her and Sgt McCabe that were circulating.

And given that it appears RTÉ crime correspondents were made privy to the intricate details of the O’Higgin’s report before it ever saw the light of day, the Commissioner might ask if RTÉ are getting more information than she is.

If it is hard to believe the Commissioner’s statement last night then it begs the question what else can we believe? We in the Social Democrats also see no option but for the Commissioner to step aside while the Commission undertakes its work.”

Gulp.

Last night: ‘Orchestrated And Planned’

Unspeakable Allegations

Previously: Breaking The Law On Prime Time

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

EXCLUSIVE: False sex allegation against McCabe circulated by Tusla following “clerical error” (Irish Examiner)

maurice:kenny

noirinnoel

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2

During Leader’s Questions

Brendan Howlin:” …This morning a journalist contacted me and told me they had direct knowledge of calls made by the Garda Commissioner to journalists during 2013 and 2014 in the course of which she made very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Sergeant Maurice McCabe. In 2015, the Garda Commissioner oversaw the investigation which examined the call logs of a garda who was under suspicion of leaking material to the media. If it were a fact that the Garda Commissioner was in direct contact with the media making allegations against one of her officers at around the same time, it would be extraordinary. I do not know whether the charges being made against the Garda Commissioner are true…”

An Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl: “I am concerned that the Deputy is raising points in the House that are extremely dangerous and that he is taking us into territory into which we should not venture. It is not an appropriate matter to raise in the House.”

Howlin
: “Yesterday, it was announced that there is to be a commission of inquiry into these matters. We have not seen the terms of reference relating to the latter. Those on the Opposition benches have not seen the redacted or full report that led the Government to make the decision. I am making no allegation.”

An Ceann Comhairle:
“To raise the question of the commission of inquiry is perfectly legitimate. However, the Deputy has just recounted a dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi story relating to a journalist contacting him and referencing the Garda Commissioner. Such a statement is not appropriate.”

Howlin:”I will be guided by the Ceann Comhairle. I have some track record in these matters.”

An Ceann Comhairle: “The Deputy does….”

Howlin: “…On the previous occasion that such information was given to me, I went directly to the then Minister for Justice and Equality, who caused an inquiry into these matters. I ended up in both the High Court and the Supreme Court, where I was told the proper course of action would have been to raise such matters directly in the House.”

An Ceann Comhairle:  “We have a long-standing tradition not to name people outside the House who are not in a position to defend themselves.”

Howlin: “There is to be a formal inquiry into these matters. I am saying that I have been contacted by somebody who is willing to give evidence to the commission and, in the circumstances, I am of the opinion that the Garda Commissioner should stand aside until the inquiry comes to a determination. I ask the Taoiseach to agree with me on it.”

Enda Kenny: I do not agree. The matter the Deputy has raised is of the most serious import, and he understands this. The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, received the report last October from Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill on his review of two protected disclosures which deal with matters of privacy, confidentiality and constitutional import. The Tánaiste will lay the order before the House today, as is required in dealing with commissions of investigation and matters of protected disclosure. The report to be published will be what can be published, taking into account those parameters of privacy, confidentiality and constitutional importance. It will be published today on advice received by the Tánaiste. The reason for the commission of investigation is because Mr. Justice O’Neill, in his review, pointed out that the review could not have attempted to establish where the truth lies in respect of the very serious allegations made here…”

Howlin: “We have not seen the review.”

Enda Kenny “:Protected disclosures are protected and the law is there for whistleblowers. These are allegations that are vehemently denied by the two people against whom they were made. For this purpose, the Attorney General spoke to the Chief Justice about appointing a judge to deal with it, as the Tánaiste announced yesterday.
There are set procedures that have to be followed. The Government yesterday approved the Tánaiste’s recommendations that a commission should be set up, that the draft order which she brought to Government would be approved, that the order would be laid before the House and that the statement of reasons would be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. With regard to the approving of the appropriate motions, it was agreed that a suitable person should be appointed to conduct the investigation and that the issues are followed in correct sequence in that regard.”

There you go now.

Previously: We Are Part Of A Cover Up

Untold Damage

Evidence Within Reach

Pic: RTÉ

Update:

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Statement from Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

Garda Commissioner refutes Brendan Howlin’s ‘most serious’ claims (Irish Examiner)

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From top: yesterday’s Sunday Times; RTÉ broadcaster Seán O’Rourke and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

This morning.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan gave almost an hour-long interview to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Her interview followed an article by John Mooney, in yesterday’s Sunday Times, about a 42-page audit carried out by the Garda Internal Audit Section (GIAS) on the Garda College in Templemore.

The report examined financial transactions at the college from 2009 to 2015. It did examine some transactions from previous years but was prevented from carrying out a full audit of those years because of a lack of documentation.

The audit’s results were given to Ms O’Sullivan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last September.

In the Sunday Times, Mr Mooney reported:

“It discovered that gardai had rented out land owned by the Office of Public Works to farmers, earning €129,903 over four years, and used the cash to finance garda societies. Meanwhile, European grants were placed on deposit and earned interest payments, in contravention of fiscal rules.

Auditors discovered that 37% of all expenditure linked to the college’s laundry service account in 2008 had nothing to do with laundry. Instead €7,231 was spent on meals and entertainment, €2,150 was given to parish clergy, €1,040 to the golf society and €300 spent on jewellery and gifts. A loan facility was also operated from the account with amounts of up to €500 being borrowed and repaid.

The audit discovered 50 bank accounts in total and said the current system of banking had resulted in a “non-transparent system of accounting”.

In many cases, auditors were unable to obtain supporting documentation to explain payments. There was nothing to explain transactions linked to the Garda College GAA account, although auditors found it had received public funds from the laundry account and a restaurant account.

Investigators also discovered that gardai held directorships in Garda College Sportsfield Ltd, without receiving permission from the justice minister or disclosing their interest, as is required under ethics legislation. What was “essentially a land-holding company” provided €100,000 to the Garda boat club in four transactions between 2000 and 2003.

Further to this…

During this morning’s interview, Mr O’Rourke and Ms O’Sullivan spoke about the audit for roughly 90 seconds.

This is what was said…

Sean O’Rourke: “Templemore, and an audit down there, I mean, that seems to be pretty chaotic.”

Noirin O’Sullivan: “Well, again, if you, it’s an internal audit report so obviously, it’s something that we identified ourselves which is, as you know, is the purpose of the internal audit. But it spans back over 20 years. It’s legacy issue. I suppose it’s accounting practices that wouldn’t meet today’s standards of accounting practices. What is very important is that in the internal audit report, there are a number of recommendations to bring the practice up to par with today’s practice and that, those recommendations are being implemented.”

O’Rourke: “But things like misuse of money, renting out land to farmers, throwing money at – well, I won’t say throwing money, but giving money to societies and other things – I mean was there just too much local discretion, to put it at its kindest, exercised?

O’Sullivan: “Well, my information, and what I’m advised is, that there is no misappropriation of money or misuse of public money so I think that’s very important. As I say, it is accounting practices that, by today’s standards, would not be acceptable. But it does span back and they are legacy issues.”

O’Rourke: “Coming back to the changes you want to bring about and you talk a lot about wanting to change the culture in the Garda Síochána…”

Later

O’Rourke: Can I ask you in a general way. Do you believe that you, Commissioner, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan will be vindicated by the O’Neill inquiry and indeed by the GSOC one?

O’Sullivan: “You know, obviously I, and An Garda Siochana, has always cooperated fully with the inquiry and it will reach its findings. And, you know, again, as I say, I’m satisfied that the process will establish the truth. But I think what’s important to look at is, while that process is going on, what have we done, what have we actually done to make the culture and the environment more supportive. So, we’ve put  a lot of structures in place. As I said earlier, we’re learning all of the time.”

O’Rourke: “Ok, but just before we leave that. Now I’ll move toward general points. You can’t prejudge the inquiry, ok, it has to take its course. But you, can you categorically state that you personally played absolutely no role in attempting to discredit Sergeant [Maurice] McCabe?

O’Sullivan: “Well, I’m on record as saying, from the outset when these issues were raised, that I have absolutely no knowledge, nor was I privy to any campaign to undermine any individual in An Garda Siochana.”

O’Rourke: “You use that word ‘privy to’ quite a lot. And I’m just wondering and, again, forgive me if I sound overly cynical or sceptical, but sometimes people put a formula or words together that sometimes can be designed to conceal as much as it reveals. Now ‘privy to’ – what does that mean?

O’Sullivan: “I think the, it means, okay, let me translate into what I mean by it, certainly I’ve no knowledge of any campaign to undermine any individual and nor would I take part in any campaign to undermine any individual.”

O’Rourke: “Do you think, as a result of change in culture, that things will work out well for whistleblowers? That they will be seen to have done their job, maybe in a way that is difficult but their careers won’t have suffered and they’ll be proven to be, men and women who will be admired and promoted as a result of doing the right thing?”

O’Sullivan: “Well I think it’s important that, as I say, that we do create a culture and an environment. So, for example, one of the things, the first things I did was, I invited in Transparency International because, again, this is very new and I know that other agencies are looking to An Garda Siochana at the moment for what we have done and what we are doing. We were fortunate as well that the Policing Authority, they were established, looked at our protected disclosures policy and obviously there are different people with different perspectives on the authority and they were able to input into what is now a revised policy but also Transparency International, both as an employer, but also to help us. So, to help us as an employer, to create the environment, but also to help us put the structures and the necessary structures in place. Because the numbers that we have are very small but nevertheless, as I say, we have learned very significant lessons…”

Listen back in full here

UPDATE:

The Code of Ethics for the Garda Síochána can be read here

Previously: You’ll Get Nothing From Me

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at a press conference in 2014, and whistleblower Supt Dave Taylor (left) 

Further to the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) planning a 24-hour withdrawal of services from 7am on Friday, and for such action to be repeated each Friday this month…

Irish Times reports:

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is to issue an order later on Tuesday to all Garda members to turn up for work on Friday, when a mass withdrawal of service is planned.

In a move that will greatly increase tensions in the Garda pay dispute row, Commissioner O’Sullivan is ordering those whose shift falls on Friday to be present for work.

But she is also planning to cancel all rest days and all leave, meaning every member of the Garda will be ordered to be present at their posts and Garda stations on Friday.

Garda Commissioner to order all gardaí to turn up for work on Friday (Conor Lally, Irish Times)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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There is something going around, in fairness.

Earlier: Protecting Disclosures

Update:


Rollingnews

Meanwhile..

“Regarding recent media reports, Commissioner O’Sullivan would like to make it clear that she was not privy to nor approved of any action designed to target any Garda employee who may have made a protected disclosure and would condemn any such action. It would be inappropriate for An Garda Síochána to comment on the specifics of any protected disclosure.”

An Garda Síochána statement this afternoon

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Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and her husband Chief Superintendent Jim McGowan

Detective Superintendent Jim McGowan, the husband of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, heads the team of half a dozen officers tasked with closely monitoring the water protesters and gathering intelligence on their whereabouts.

The Mail understands that the investigating officers also closely monitor social media and track the organising of the water protests and its leaders.
Dossiers on many of the ‘ringleaders’ of the protests have been compiled…

Him Indoors, Broadsheet, August 28, 2016

The promotion of the Garda Commissioner’s husband comes just weeks before responsibility for such appointments switches to the new independent Policing Authority.

Mr McGowan has also worked at Ballymun Garda Station in the DMR North Central division, and was previously the Superintendent in Trim, Co Meath. His current role is coordinating and tasking regional policing operations in the DMR division.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr McGowan said he was pleased with the promotion and that he was able to offer his service to the force at the rank of Chief Superintendent.

Garda Commissioner’s husband is promoted to chief superintendent (The Herald)

Good times.

Call for allegations to be brought to GSOC (RTÉ)

Last night: Explain Yourself

Pic Business & Finance

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This afternoon.

North King Street, Dublin 7

Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan arrives for a meeting with the new Policing Authority to discuss the findings of the O’Higgins commission as a debate continues in the Dáil concerning its contents and yesterday’s statement from Ms O’Sullivan.

Earlier: Fobbed Off

Maurice McCabe And the Plastic Rat

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

 

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

“The O’Higgins Commission Report presents inescapable lessons for An Garda Síochána, based on our shortcomings in a number of critical areas including our dealings with whistleblowers.

We must radically and permanently change that pattern and we will apply the insights and learnings from our recent experiences in developing a Garda Whistleblower’s Charter. As will be detailed below, actions to address this have already been undertaken and others are in progress.

There are clear constraints around the question of making public comment about this matter. I cannot offend against the basic principles of the rule of law; and that regard must be had to the statutory confidentiality of Commission proceedings, the relationship between lawyers and their clients and questions of basic fairness.

With reference to my previous statement of the 16th May 2016, there have been calls for further clarification regarding the instructions given to the legal team representing An Garda Síochána and the approach adopted by it, in relation to the proceedings of the Commission.

What is at the heart of the present controversy is that, despite legal prohibitions and the clear view expressed by Mr Justice O’Higgins about the confidentiality of the Commission’s proceedings, certain selective information purporting to relate to those proceedings has been put into the public domain.

By “selective”, I mean transcripts of no more than three minutes of what happened at a Commission which ran for 34 ten-hour days, generating thousands of pages of transcripts. This has been accompanied by an unsourced and unverified account of an alleged part of the proceedings.

Whatever the sources of information or misinformation that has been put into the public domain the inevitable effect is the risk to public confidence in An Garda Síochána being damaged in a very unfair way.

Mr Justice O’Higgins, as the Sole Member, having had the opportunity to hear and examine 97 witnesses and weigh the submissions made by the legal representatives of all parties subject of the proceedings, decided what should and should not be included in his Report.

In this context, it is worth noting that the Commission points out that it conducted its proceedings with particular regard to its duty of compliance with the requirements of constitutional and natural justice.

As Garda Commissioner, having fully accepted the findings of the Report, it falls to me to move swiftly to implement its recommendations. This I have done.

While it is important to dispel any public concern in relation to this issue, I have to be mindful of section 11 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 which provides that a commission shall conduct its investigation in private. I am advised that everyone involved in the proceedings of the O’Higgins Commission is bound to respect the privacy of those proceedings.

Furthermore, in relation to communications with the legal team representing An Garda Síochána, it is important in terms of receiving advice and giving instructions that privilege in such communications is protected so as not to adversely impact on the workings of An Garda Síochána and its entitlement to seek and obtain legal advice on a confidential basis in this instance and in the future.

These constraints, which reflect important principles of law, restrict my capacity to address the issues which have been raised in relation to the approach taken by An Garda Síochána before the O’ Higgins Commission.

However, I can confirm that An Garda Síochána’s legal team was not at any stage instructed to impugn the integrity of Sergeant Maurice McCabe or to make a case that he was acting maliciously.

I would emphasise that the overriding objective of An Garda Síochána, and its legal team, was at all times to assist the Commission in carrying out its statutory functions and to establish all relevant facts in relation to the matters referred to it for investigation as set out in its terms of reference.

This brings me to the charge which is in the public domain that is the most difficult to deal with sensitively and which is one of the reasons I have been reluctant to enter into public comment about this matter.

Whatever its source, the net charge that is now being made is that the credibility and motivation of Sergeant McCabe was challenged. I can only deal with this on the basis of what is set out in the Commission Report and I am conscious that this involves dealing with certain findings in relation to allegations of corruption and malpractice.

I have no wish to rehearse this matter again but it is simply impossible not to do so in addressing it.

As Commissioner of An Garda Síochána I have a duty to all its members and former members. Having regard to the nature and seriousness of the allegations, and the duty to assist the Commission in its task of establishing the facts and truth, I cannot see how it would be in any way unreasonable, improper or avoidable to appropriately test and cross examine the evidence of all persons giving evidence to the Commission including Sergeant McCabe.

The Commission found, in relation to certain allegations; these hurtful allegations to be unfounded and in at least one case based on a belief, but unsupported by evidence, and that those against whom such complaints were made lived for many years under the strain of those allegations.

An Garda Síochána is fully accountable for its actions or indeed inaction. We operate fully within the framework of accountability and oversight which the Oireachtas sets. I will be appearing before the Policing Authority tomorrow where I will deal with these matters to the fullest extent possible.

In addition to the above, I have taken the following steps to address other matters arising:

There has been a suggestion in recent reportage that two senior officers had sought to misrepresent before the Commission the contents of a meeting they held with a Sergeant in Mullingar in 2008.

In those circumstances, and in order to resolve any public disquiet, misplaced or otherwise which may arise, and in the interest of fairness to all involved, I have requested the Minister for Justice, pursuant to her powers within the Garda Síochána Act, to refer that aspect to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission for the purpose of investigating it in the public interest.

• On receipt of the Report, I directed Deputy Commissioner John Twomey to fully examine the content, findings and recommendations of the Report and to address any issues arising from that examination, including lessons learned that may further inform An Garda Síochána’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme. The programme which addresses, among other things, the fundamental issues arising in the O’Higgins report in relation to renewal of our culture, training, supervision, victims support and investigative practices, will be formally published in early course.

• In relation to whistleblowers, I have been consistent at all times: dissent is not disloyalty and as a service we are determined to learn from our experiences. An Garda Síochána agrees that whistleblowers are part of the solution to the problems facing the service. In this regard, yesterday we met with representatives from Transparency Ireland who have agreed to work with us to create an environment to ensure protected disclosures and people making them are welcomed and protected in An Garda Síochána.

• A Protected Disclosures Manager has now been appointed and we have begun establishing a dedicated team who will be appropriately trained to oversee all matters related to whistleblowers.

In conclusion and as stated at the outset, An Garda Síochána fully accept the findings of the O’Higgins Commission and we are committed to learning all lessons and fully implementing the recommendations.”

A statement from Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan released at midday.

Previously: ‘They Tried To Blame McCabe For Everything. It Was Bullshit’

Clarifying Matters

Rollingnews

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Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

The information used in the failed attempt to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe came from evidence submitted by two senior officers who had met the whistleblower in Mullingar in 2008.

The officers – an unnamed superintendent and a sergeant from outside the Mullingar area – said McCabe had admitted he ‘bore a grudge’ while making allegations of malpractice against a superior.

This evidence was used to demonstrate Sgt McCabe’s ‘malice’.

It was only when Sgt McCabe produced a tape recording of the conversation that the matter was quietly dropped.

Michael Clifford in today’s Irish Examiner writes:

If the commissioner is to retain credibility as a leader who wants to oversee a force where whistleblowing is welcomed as a positive element of policing, she needs to explain whether she was aware that two of her officers were going to give false evidence against another, McCabe, a man whom the commissioner had publicly lauded.

If she did know that false evidence might be proffered under those circumstances, her position is untenable.

If she didn’t know, there are plenty of questions that require answers. In such a scenario she was misinformed by her officers.

How well did she research the claims being made by the two officers? This, after all, was something that would put her in direct conflict with McCabe whom she had publicly lauded.

Surely she would want to know exactly what she was getting into.

If she didn’t know then, she was inadvertently placed in a position where she was party to an attempt to mislead the inquiry.

Surely she must be hopping mad on a personal basis if that is the case.

On a professional basis what has she done? The Irish Examiner understands that absolutely no action has been taken against the two since this affair emerged last May.

How exactly has the commissioner dealt with a matter that could be a conspiracy to commit a crime within her force in an attempt to discredit a whistleblower?

Garda Commissioner needs to step up or step down (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

Rollingnews