Opposition spokesmen on justice will raise emergency motions in the Dáil this week regarding the Garda Ombudsman’s report on alleged collusion between gardaí and an informant.
Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins and Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn also intend to bring the matter to the attention of the chairman of the Oireachtas justice committee, Fine Gael TD David Stanton.
Mr Mac Lochlainn said the matters raised by the ombudsman must now be debated in the committee, and that both the ombudsman and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan should appear before it.
Mr Stanton said he was open to members raising it, but said the committee should first await the outcome of a meeting between Justice Minister Alan Shatter, Garda Commissioner Callinan, and Garda ombudsman commission chairman Simon O’Brien.
Mr Shatter organised the meeting after an unprecedented public row between the agencies kicked off last Thursday following the commission’s press conference, where it announced partial details of its four-year investigation.
The probe examined the relationship between gardaí and a convicted drug trafficker, Kieran Boylan. While the commission released little specific detail from its 600-page investigation report, it made a number of general comments.
As well as expressing grave concerns regarding the informant-handling system, it heavily criticised the force for delaying and obstructing access to documents and records.
Mr Callinan rejected the claims, while senior Garda sources said “truck loads” of documentation were sent to the ombudsman and that only one document, which could not be found, was not handed over.
Mr Collins said he intended to raise the matter today in topical questions with Mr Shatter. “My main concern is if [the ombudsman commission], which is mandated by legislation ... was being inhibited from doing its job. I want to hear from the minister on that and what’s being done about it.”
He will raise it with Mr Stanton tomorrow but wanted to hear from the minister first before pushing it with the committee.
Mr Mac Lochlainn said he also intended to raise the issue as a topical question.
“The first thing is to raise it as a topical issue, get the minister to speak on it, but I do believe this needs to be addressed at our committee. The ombudsman is set up on behalf of the Oireachtas and if it raises concerns then we should address it.”
Mr Stanton said he was open to members wanting to raise the matter for discussion, but added that it should first await the outcome of the minister’s meeting.
Meanwhile, Mr Callinan is due to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday regarding the annual report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, during which he may be questioned on the ombudsman report.
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