Latest: Garda Commissioner would treat whistleblowers with 'utmost seriousness'

Update: The Garda Commissioner says he is open to whistleblowers in the force and would treat those coming forward with the utmost seriousness.

Commissioner Drew Harris has been responding to concerns, in light of the Disclosures Tribunal, before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality.

A report from the tribunal earlier this month found that senior gardaí engaged in a campaign to smear Maurice McCabe.

Commissioner Drew Harris says any future whistleblowers will be treated differently.

"If any individual in the organisation wishes to come forward and wishes, in effect, to whistleblow or to make a disclosure then that will be treated with the utmost seriousness," he said.

I am open to individuals should they wish to speak to me in terms of being whistleblowers.

Commissioner Harris also denied that a ban is in place on Garda overtime.

He announced last month that spending was too high and action had to be taken.

Speaking to the Justice Committee, Commissioner Harris said that while overtime is available, it is only for essential crime tasks and emergencies.

"We received a budget at the start of the year and we overspent the budget. Corrective action had to be taken," said the commissioner.

"So there is still per roster - which is every four weeks - approximately €7.2/7.3m available for overtime. So it isn't an absolute moratorium."

Digital Desk

Earlier: Garda Commissioner to face TDs' questions

Update 7.17am: The Garda Commissioner will face questions from a group of TDs for the first time later.

Drew Harris is due to address the Oireachtas Justice Committee about the future direction of the force.

His recent appointment was the first time an external candidate was given the top job within the gardaí.

The committee chair Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin hopes today's meeting will encourage Drew Harris to introduce a new culture that is more open and accountable.

Digital Desk

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