Garda whistleblower John Wilson calls for Alan Shatter resignation

Saturday 05 April 2014 08.05
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John Wilson welcomed comments by Commissioner Noreen O'Sullivan
John Wilson welcomed comments by Commissioner Noreen O'Sullivan
Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan said those who manage the organisation need to control the reflex to push back against criticism
Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan said those who manage the organisation need to control the reflex to push back against criticism

Former garda John Wilson has said he has no confidence in the Minister for Justice and that Alan Shatter should resign.

In an interview on RTÉ's The Late Late Show, the whistleblower said it was the right decision for former garda commissioner Martin Callinan to go.

He also asked why fellow whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe's full rights of access to the pulse system were not being restored without review.

Asked about the apology Mr Shatter made to the whistleblowers, Mr Wilson said it was important that he finally corrected the record of the Dáil.

But asked whether he accepted the minister's apology, he said that he has absolutely no confidence or faith in Mr Shatter. 

Asked if he thought Mr Shatter should resign Mr Wilson said: "No doubt."

He also described Mr Shatter's behaviour in relation to the penalty points scandal as "deplorable".

Mr Wilson said Mr Callinan had done the country some service, but that it was the right decision to go.

He said he believed that Mr Callinan's credibility was gone, and his position had become "totally untenable".

Mr Wilson also welcomed comments by interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan about tolerance of dissent within the force.

Earlier, Commissioner O'Sullivan said the force needed to be more accepting of internal dissent, and added that she did not view dissent as disloyalty.

However, Mr Wilson said actions speak louder than words and only time will tell.

He said he would still encourage members of the force who want to report wrongdoing within the organisation to contact members of the Oireachtas or Transparency International.

He said that the corrupt practices that he and Sgt McCabe reported were ingrained in the culture of the gardái for many years.

He also described Commissioner O'Sullivan's decision to review Sgt McCabe's access to the garda PULSE computer system as "bizarre".

He said it was in the public interest that Sgt McCabe's full PULSE access be restored immediately because Sgt McCabe acted lawfully at all times.

RTÉ was unable to contact Sgt McCabe for a comment this evening.

Speaking at a garda reserve graduation in Templemore, Co Tipperary earlier, Commissioner O'Sullivan said she had arrived in the post in a maelstrom of controversy.

Mr Callinan resigned last month following a storm of protest over his comment that some of the actions of some garda whistleblowers was "disgusting".

She said it was unfortunate that Mr Callinan used the word "disgusting".

Commissioner O'Sullivan said that Mr Callinan had a particular opinion in relation to the matter and he was entitled to that opinion.

In a speech to 79 garda reservists today, Commissioner O'Sullivan signalled a change in the attitude of An Garda Síochána to whistleblowers.

She said those who manage the organisation need to control the reflex to push back against criticism and need to be open to outside help, even if it comes in the form of criticism or a complaint.

She said: "In any organisation as large and complex as An Garda Síochána there will be people within the organisation who will identify issues that they wish to bring to our attention and I certainly believe that those people need to be supported.

"And we need to have mechanisms in place to ensure that they can bring those forward.

"Indeed they may not always be fully right, but nevertheless there may be issues which will help us to continue to improve."

She said it was vital that senior management listens to the perspective of those on the frontline.

The fact that she has come to the job in what she described as "a maelstrom of controversy" means she has a lot of immediate work to do, she said.

Ms O'Sullivan also said gardaí are working hard on changing the mindset.

Members with a different view will be listened to, she added.