Garda Recipient gone, the pressure now moves onto Minister Shatter…

Yesterday’s leaders questions was once of those explosive occasions when you don’t quite get the extent of it at the time its happening. It’s clear from today’s front pages that Micheál Martin’s virtual bomb yesterday was well placed.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Last week I read elements of the transcript of a conversation between the Garda confidential recipient, Mr. Oliver Connolly, and a Garda whistleblower, Mr. Maurice McCabe, such as how, if the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter, felt the whistleblower was going to screw him, he would be finished. In addition, it was said that if complaints were exposed to the print media, it would make him an angry man and so on. The elements of the conversation were quite shocking in terms of their import. The confidential recipient also spoke about his close proximity to “Alan” and how he communicated with him on the allegations the whistleblower had put before him. I have since listened to the audiotape of that conversation and can confirm its existence. Every single syllable I articulated last week is on it and, obviously, more. It reveals the frustration of the whistleblower and also the desire of the confidential recipient that at all costs this must not get into the print media, that it must be kept out of the media.

I subsequently met the whistleblower, Mr. Maurice McCabe, and must say he is a credible man. He has some story to tell, but the Minister for Justice and Equality, essentially, has not allowed him to tell it. I have met others, people who have been in authority, who equally believe in this man’s credibility. He did everything by the book, the whole way, as a whistleblower. He went to line management and was rebuffed. He went to the confidential recipient and got nowhere. He wrote repeatedly to the Taoiseach for over 12 months and gave his office a dossier with all of his allegations backed up by evidence. He went to the Department of Justice and Equality, but he got no response of any consequence. He initially went to the Department of Transport which sent it to the Department of Justice and Equality. He also went to the Road Safety Authority where he got a good response. The Taoiseach should speak to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Leo Varadkar, who did stand his ground. Maybe people should listen to him more in the Cabinet than to the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The bottom line is that when the inquiry into the penalty points saga was initiated, it was extraordinary that Assistant Garda Commissioner O’Mahony and the inquiry team did not actually interview Mr. Maurice McCabe, the man who had made the original accusations. Incredibly, the Minister, Deputy Alan Shatter, told the Dáil last October that the whistleblower had not co-operated with the inquiry. That was a blatant untruth. The person who chaired the inquiry has since confirmed that he did not interview the whistleblower.

What has occurred is absolutely scandalous. It is not just about penalty points, it is also about other serious issues that would make one’s hair stand on end. They are shocking revelations of incompetence which ultimately led to people being murdered as a result of a failure to act. It is very serious stuff which the Department of Justice and Equality has had for quite a long time but not acted on.

More here

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  • Mick Fealty

    So, I see there’s not a huge interest in this story amongst our partitionist northern republican constituency ;-).

    Nevertheless it’s an important one. Not least we are seeing a masterclass in using the formal arrangements available to a parliamentary opposition to create something of a swamp under a government’s ministerial feet.

    Having handed the Taoiseach documents relating to other cases handed to the Department of Justice two years ago (relating to cases from as long ago as 2007) Micheal Martin has forced the Taoiseach to take matters more seriously at the very moment he’d admitted the seriousness of the problem by sacking the independent recipient.

    In scrambling an inquiry into the suspect bugging of GSOC (Garda Ombudsman office), with its own hastily put together and typically narrow TORs, the Taoiseach now faces a serious escalation in a related but separate matter. Something that seemed to stump the Minister for Social Protection, Labour’s Joan Burton today:

  • Not fair Mick.
    I was going to comment earlier but everything with Shatter necessarily requires a kind of very careful wording.
    Its specific with Shatter.

  • And I would add tha certainly from my own perspective on my own Blog, I rarely post anything that is not supportive of my general agenda.
    What’s missing from my Blog is as revealing about me as the things that I actually do blog about.
    Likewise I rarely comment on things that I have a weak argument. Surely thats normal.
    We always want to choose our battlefield.
    But where Alan Shatter is concerned the battle ground is extremely muddy and people get bogged down.
    Whether here or on, I would not touch a Shatter thread.

  • Harry Flashman

    Actually Mick, I find the whole thing extremely interesting the only problem is that as so often with scandals in the Free State it’s so damned complicated and one gets the impression that the journalists reporting it know more than they’re letting on.

    It seems to me a story like this in the UK would be explosive and at least a ministerial head or two would have fallen by now. But with this story it’s kind of bewildering and one isn’t at all sure who’s doing what.

    Does anyone have an idiot’s guide to this scandal? I’ve checked the RTE, Irish Times and Independent websites and they all appear to be carrying pretty much the same story about what happened yesterday without any fuller background analysis.

    If one judges by the prominence given to the story by all three agencies: third after a poll in support of gay marriage and the protests in the Ukraine it appears that the news editors of those institutions are as worked up about the bugging scandal (it’s always either bugs or women’s reproductive organs in Free State scandals isn’t it?) as the Slugger readership.

  • Harry Flashman

    Belay that, I found a timeline on the IT website

    However it appears to bear no relation to the sacking of Connolly so now I am even more confused.

    I’ll check in again if anyone either resigns or is fired from the government.

  • Mick Fealty

    MUST work harder Harry (a coin or two in the poor box might help?)

    Martin has been working two beats. GSOC was a straight bugging thing, In not informing either the Minister or the Commissioner, GSOC proved they trusted neither.

    Next a conversation between Oliver Connelly (official ‘safe hands’ for ‘dissident’ cops) and a Garda whistleblower ( in which the former tells the latter not to rock the boat.

    Subsequently FF is flooding the airwaves ( with examples of the sh!tty way government treats whistleblowers.

    Yesterday the Taoiseach sacked Connelly because of said selectively quoted transcript, just a day after he announces an inquiry with very tight TORs on the situation at GSOC.

    Its the first effective outbreak of serious hostilities between FF and FG. Labour are stuck holding the FG baby, whilst SF can only follow FF’s lead.

  • I think it transcends party politics.
    To give An Taoiseach his due, he thanked Micheal Martin for drawing it to his attention….the most recent revelations.
    Two observations.
    Martin might be doing the “statesman” thing and leaving the party politics to Collins.
    And Kenny might be disarming Martin with kindness.

    Labour look very silly.
    The perils of Coalition means that they had to make supportive noises while everyone knew that Gilmore, Rabbitte and the rest of them…aided by anti-FF media and Tinternet….would have been calling for FF heads.
    Kenny has certainly outflanked his Coalition colleagues.
    Hard to see how the Minister can survive.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s the thing though, so far we just have bad form. Statesman or not, what Martin is trying to demonstrate is that in spite of the huge cynicism out there the institutions of the state matter to ordinary people in distress.

    Shatter is safe so long as there’s no direct proof he refused to act in any of the several cases now, courtesy of FF and the Sunday Times, are being brought out into the open.

    This a slow burn, not a barrack buster.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Hard to see how the Minister can survive.

    ? Stage 1 -Roll out the Rabbitte defence . Minister Shatter is hard working -progressive etc etc .

    Stage 2 -Roll out the rest including Gilmore with Kenny

    Can’t have Labour looking like lap dogs eh ?

    But all hail to Glasgow University for electing world famous whistleblower Edward Snowden as Rector of Glasgow University .

    Unlike the Irish Labour Party the students of Glasgow University cannot be accused of lacking ‘guts’ !

  • Greenflag