Garda: Force has destroyed me over claims

A Garda whistleblower who alleges over 200 senior members of the force have been involved in wiping penalty points, in some cases corruptly, said the way he’s been treated over his actions has destroyed him.

The serving member is adamant that he should give evidence before the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee next week but his boss, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, may try to block such an appearance.

In what could become a legal battle between the Garda Siochána and an Oireachtas committee, Mr Callinan said he would be seeking legal advice on plans by a member of the force to give evidence.

He was understood to have been consulting with the Attorney General last night to establish if the PAC has the legal authority to hold such a hearing.

The whistleblower provided a “box of evidence” to the committee last November and is expected to appear before it either in a public or private hearing next Thursday to testify to his claims.

Another whistleblower, who has retired, also indicated his willingness to appear before the committee.

But the Garda commissioner argued they had limited information and might have been “misguided” in what they were claiming.

He acknowledged more than 10,000 fixed charge notices were cancelled every year, amounting to 30 a day, which he said was “not an inordinate number”.

At a dramatic meeting lasting almost five hours, Mr Callinan said the committee was not the appropriate place for members of his force to make allegations against their colleagues and that their examination of the issue was “grossly unfair”.

He said he would reserve judgement on whether to take disciplinary action against the serving member, but that allowing him appear before the PAC next week would have an “adverse effect on the maintenance of discipline and good order”.

Mr Callinan said it was “quite extraordinary” that just two members of the 13,000-strong force would make such allegations “and there isn’t a whisper from anybody else about this corruption, this malpractice and all those things they are alleging against their fellow officers”.

“Frankly, I find it quite disgusting,” he said.

PAC chairman John McGuinness read out new correspondence received from the whistleblower on Wednesday night.

“I discovered over 200 senior Garda officers terminating fixed charge notices inappropriately and, in most, corruptly,” he said. “Having been treated the way I was for reporting the above, I don’t think I would do it again, it destroyed me, my career and my family.”

Mr McGuinness asked if the decision by the whistleblowers to provide the information to public representatives demonstrated that they had lost confidence in the force’s internal systems for dealing with such issues.

Mr Callinan said there was no question of “intimidating” members, but the officers should have made information available to their superiors.

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