Labour leader Brendan Howlin has made explosive claims in the Dáil that a journalist has told him the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan contacted media in 2013 with allegations of sexual crimes against garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, writes Juno McEnroe, Political Correspondent.
The claims were made as the House and TDs await the terms and recommendations today of a full inquiry going ahead into an alleged smear campaign against garda whistleblowers.
Mr Howlin told the Dáil he had been contacted by a journalist about comments made by the current garda commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan in 2013.
The reporter allegedly told the Wexford TD that the garda chief had contacted the media and made “very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed” by Sgt McCabe.
Mr Howlin made the comments using Dáil privilege today but was cautioned afterwards by the Ceann Comhairle Sean O'Fearghail.
The Labour Party has now officially confirmed that Mr Howlin was speaking about the present Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan, during his comments.
Responding to the allegations in the chamber, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said these were very serious claims.
Mr Kenny also told the Dáil that the Government was supporting Ms O'Sullivan while the inquiry into the treatment of whistleblowers was ongoing.
There were “no findings” against her, Mr Kenny said.
Despite this, Mr Howlin has also called for Commissioner O'Sullivan to step aside while the inquiry is ongoing.
He said that any normal inquiry whether it be of a school principle or a shop manager would require that they stand aside while such an investigation is carried out.
Government sources say they expect the terms for the inquiry to be published this afternoon.