Calls for whistleblower inquiry to be expanded to include politicians

Calls for whistleblower inquiry to be expanded to include politicians
Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan

There is growing agreement among parties that a new inquiry into claims garda chiefs led a smear campaign against a whistleblower needs to include members of government and politicians, writes Juno McEnroe.

Fianna Fail, Labour, the Green Party as well as Independent TDs have this afternoon called for the terms of the Charleton inquiry to be expanded.

They want communications between gardai and ministers as well as politicians to form part of the commission of investigation.

The new inquiry will examine claims made under protected disclosure that Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and her predecessor, Martin Callinan, orchestrated a campaign against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

The inquiry is tasked with looking at mobile phone communications, documents and can call witnesses, including media, to give evidence.

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said his party wanted the terms expanded to include potential communications with members of government. Labour's Brendan Howlin said members of the Oireachtas should also be included. Sinn Fein want other agencies included who may have been contacted by senior gardai alleged to have been part of the campaign.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said today that the government are open to accepting amendments to the commission of investigation but that they will have to be limited so the inquiry can be completed in a reasonable time. There will be no vote after the debate today, which instead will likely be held later this month on expanding the terms.

This afternoon a Fine Gael backbencher broke ranks, telling the Dáil the Garda Commissioner should step aside and that he doesn't believe Noirín O'Sullivan.

Michael Darcy also described the situation as GUBU-like.

“I have to put on the record that I don’t believe the commissioner,” he said. “I don’t believe her because of her actions and how she instructed her legal counsel to deal with the O'Neill investigation.”

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