Labour TD Alan Kelly has today called on Fianna Fáil to “do the right thing” and withdraw support for the Government.
His comments, on tonight’s edition of RTÉ’s Primetime, follows fresh calls for the Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan to resign after recent evidence given by her to the Public Accounts Committee.
Commissioner O'Sullivan last week insisted she only found out about financial issues at the Templemore training college during a 'brief meeting' over a cup of tea. The PAC today received a lengthy written record of the two-hour meeting from the Garda head of HR.
“The situation we have in the Gardaí at this time is a crisis for our country, and it has to be dealt with, and the political establishment have to deal with it. Otherwise politics is failing,” he said.
“The ordinary decent garda on the street, 99% of guards out there – they are suffering. Morale is low.
“It’s a crisis for our justice system, it’s a crisis for our country. The Oireachtas doesn’t have confidence in the Garda Commissioner, and ultimately this is now an embarrassment.
He added: “She doesn’t have the support of the majority of people in Leinster House. I believe that she doesn’t have the support of the Force. I believe the public out there… don’t support her either.”
He later called on Fianna Fáil to put pressure on the Coalition Government to express no confidence in the Commissioner.
“We also have a situation with FF who, let’s be honest about it, are rightly saying that it is not their job to look for a change in how the leadership in An Garda Siochána is done,” he said.
“However, it is their job to hold this Government to account along with myself, and they are holding the balance of power.
“They do have confidence agreement. The bottom line here is this – if they don’t have confidence in the Commissioner, which they have said, how can they have confidence in the minister for Justice and this Government, and how can they continue to support the Government that is keeping confidence in a Garda Commissioner which has clearly lost the team?”
When Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary pointed out that “it’s not the role of the Dáil to express no confidence in the Commissioner”, Deputy Kelly responded: “this is the security of the State we’re talking about.
“This is An Garda Siochána and ultimately if Fianna Fáil wanted to do the right thing they can march into the Taoiseach’s office, or contenders to be Taoiseach if they wanted to do it that way, and they can say: ‘Look, we will not support this Government given the fact we do not have confidence in the Garda Commissioner’.
“They can lay it on the line. It’s up to them to do so.”