Callinan: Opening records to Garda ombudsman would lead to 'bodies lying all over the country'

Callinan: Opening records to Garda ombudsman would lead to 'bodies lying all over the country'

Garda chief Martin Callinan has warned there could be mass assassinations if the force’s watchdog was given unfettered access to classified records.

The country’s top officer said he had “no crib” with the Garda ombudsman carrying out its role generally.

But the commissioner said he had legitimate concerns about how very sensitive details were handled.

In the latest twist in continuing tensions between the force and its official oversight body, Commissioner Callinan said the crux of the disharmony was down to how top-level intelligence was handled.

The police chief said he needed reassurance on certain disclosures to the ombudsman relating to informants.

“Otherwise we will have bodies lying all over the country,” he said.

Mr Callinan was hauled before TDs and senators to answer charges that his rank and file were not co-operating with the official State investigators.

The commissioner warned it was the “nature of the game” that there would always be tensions between his force and its official watchdog.

This was because of the type of allegations being levelled against his officers and investigated by the ombudsman.

“Will there be tensions? Will there be issues? Of course there will,” he told an Oireachtas committee.

But he added that he was more comfortable that both sides could move on in a spirit of co-operation after recent negotiations led to new protocols on the handing over of information.

Mr Callinan said one officer has been arrested by the ombudsman, while two Garda stations were searched – in Cork and Limerick – under powers handed over to the watchdog.

The Garda chief also denied any Garda informants are being run “off the books”.

“If I find out about it I will deal with it and will deal with it in the most serious way,” he said of any rogue officers.

There are very strict policies in relation to registering informants in the force’s Covert Human Intelligence Source (Chis), Mr Callinan told the joint committee on public service, oversight and petitions.

But he refused to disclose how many people are currently on the system or how many Garda officers are running informants.

More on this topic

Policing Authority responds in homicide figures rowPolicing Authority responds in homicide figures row

New figures show 35 garda on long term suspension; GRA hit out at delaysNew figures show 35 garda on long term suspension; GRA hit out at delays

Report claims Garda response to public disorder at Jobstown protest was a 'qualified success'Report claims Garda response to public disorder at Jobstown protest was a 'qualified success'

Whistle blown on latest Garda ‘cover-up’ claimWhistle blown on latest Garda ‘cover-up’ claim


More in this Section

Man, 60s, dies in crash in Co SligoMan, 60s, dies in crash in Co Sligo

PSNI chief meets businessman Kevin Lunney who was abducted and torturedPSNI chief meets businessman Kevin Lunney who was abducted and tortured

Appeal for witnesses to Limerick crash that claimed teen's lifeAppeal for witnesses to Limerick crash that claimed teen's life

RTÉ sells two paintings at Sotheby's auctionRTÉ sells two paintings at Sotheby's auction


Lifestyle

It won’t come as news to mothers-to-be that they are not eating for two, as the old saying goes, but the number of extra calories needed may come as a surprise. And it’s much fewer than you might think.Eating for two: It's quality not quantity of food that matters during pregnancy

No. It is such a small word, yet at times, something many of us find difficult to utter. The inability to say no to work, friends or family can cause so much stress in our lived lives.Learning Points: Just say no, there’s power in that little word

Fiona Kelleher has set some of the works of Múscraí poets Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair to music, writes Pet O'ConnellPoetry and music combine in reimagining of works of Seán Ó Riordáin and Séamus Ó Céilleachair

I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one! I fear I might be getting to that stage with my daughter Joan, who is 8, whereby I am the needy one!Mum's the word: I’m the needy one... I get the kiss off from my own daughter!

More From The Irish Examiner