Whistleblower timeline

February 9, 2012

A conversation took place between garda whistleblower, Maurice McCabe, and the confidential recipient, regarding a complaint over Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s recommendation to promote a senior officer who was under investigation.

The conversation lasted an hour and some details of the transcript have emerged in recent days.

“I’ll tell you something, Maurice, and this is just personal advice to you. If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.”

“If Shatter thinks, here’s this guy again, trying another route, trying to put on pressure, he’ll go after you.”

February-March 2012

The complaint was handed to the commissioner to deal with, and he quickly responded that the complaint had no basis.

There is no mechanism within the system for an outside agent to adjudicate on a complaint against the commissioner.

April 4, 2012

McCabe and another serving officer — since retired — came forward with concerns and allegations in regard to wrongdoing in the writing off of penalty points.

On the same day, the confidential recipient reported to the commissioner on a complaint which Callinan insists related to just one superintendent, who had cancelled four penalty points. “That was it — sum total,” he told the Public Accounts Committee last month.

August 2012

A similar complaint was made by the whistleblowers to the Road Safety Authority. Frustrated that the confidential recipient process appeared to be going nowhere, they approached members of the Oireachtas.

November 2012

Under pressure from Independent TDs, Justice Minister Alan Shatter ordered an internal garda inquiry into the issue would be carried out by assistant commissioner John O’Mahoney.

April, 2013

Just before that report was published, McCabe wrote to the Taoiseach pointing out that he hadn’t even been interviewed by O’Mahoney’s team: “I have serious concerns regarding not being contacted or interviewed regarding my allegations,” the sergeant wrote to Enda Kenny.

“It would appear that the investigation is complete and if this is the case it’s a shocking development. One would have imagined that I would be one of the first to be interviewed.”

Kenny’s office passed the letter onto Shatter.

April 30

The justice minister’s office responded: “The conduct of the investigation is an operational matter for the Garda authorities.

“It would not, therefore, be appropriate for me to comment on whether Sgt McCabe was contacted or interviewed in the course of the investigation.”

May 15, 2013

The O’Mahoney report is published, largely vindicating the operation of the penalty point system.

In his statement, Shatter said: “Whistleblowers also have responsibilities. Their concerns must be real and genuine, and based on evidence rather than conjecture, especially when the allegations made are of widespread criminality in the authority responsible for enforcing the law and are therefore such as to be likely to undermine trust in and respect for that authority. They should also be mindful of the rights of others.”

September 31, 2013

A report by the Comptroller and Auditor General & finds one in five motorists escapes penalty points because of “significant weaknesses” in the system.

October 1, 2013

Shatter told the Dáil that the whistleblowers “did not co-operate with the garda investigation that took place”, despite being aware that McCabe was frustrated that ne had never been contacted by the investigation team.

November 9, 2013

The Irish Examiner reports that the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee comes into possession of a box of files allegedly showing that widespread abuse of the penalty points system may have cost the State millions of euro.

November 14

Callinan writes to the committee, saying: “I am of the view that these files, containing personal data, are files which I am responsible for and accordingly should be returned forthwith to me.”

January 23, 2014

Callinan gives evidence before the Public Accounts Committee and describes the actions of the whistleblowers as “disgusting” while threatening to go to the courts to prevent an appearance before the committee of McCabe.

January 27, 2014

Shatter makes a last minute intervention to prevent the appearance of McCabe before the Public Accounts Committee.

He refers the penalty points issue to the garda ombudsman and says they should be allowed to proceed with their work “unhindered.”

January 30, 2014

McCabe gives evidence before the committee in private.

February 5, 2014

Independent TD, Mick Wallace reads parts of the transcript of the conversation two years earlier between McCabe and the confidential recipient to the Dáil.

February 11, 2014

Fianna Fáil also read out parts of the transcripts into the Dáil record.

Shatter says it is “outrageous” to suggest that he “threatened anybody or authorised to threaten anybody”.

February 19, 2014

The Taoiseach says the transcript is a “serious matter” and announces to the Dáil that the confidential recipient, Oliver Connolly, has been “relieved of his duties”.

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