Author Topic: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower  (Read 17511 times)

Hardy

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The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« on: February 20, 2014, 03:09:25 PM »



This story is getting huge now with Micheál Martin's revelation of (some of) the content of Sergeant Maurice McCabe's dossier. Penalty points are the least of it. The mishandling of investigations into the crimes of Jerry McGrath, who went on to murder Sylvia Roche-Kelly while on bail is the main issue (but not the only serious one, it seems) McCabe tried to highlight. He was thwarted at every turn
- by his superiors,
- by the Commissioner (who described his attempt to bring this to light as "disgusting"),
- by the Confidential Receiver, who instead of doing his job of taking and handling the information tried to influence him not to make it public,
- by Shatter, who read the dossier months ago, doesn't seem to have done anything about such serious revelations and instead accused McCabe, under Dáil privilege, of failing to co-operate with an investigation into the penalty points allegations, when he wasn't even approached to give evidence.

It’s not surprising that there are skeletons in the Garda cupboard. Every police force has them. Indeed, I’ll be amazed if there aren’t hundreds more, given that the guards, unlike most police forces, have been operating without effective public supervision for most of their existence and given personal and anecdotal evidence of the types of both malevolence and incompetence of which some of their members are capable.

Martin has been quite clever (or to give the benefit of the doubt, even public-spirited) in giving this directly to the Taoiseach, as Cosgrave did to Jack Lynch  at the time of the arms smuggling case. Kenny  would seem to have no choice but to do the statesmanlike thing or lose all credibility.

As so often happens, it seems to be the attempt at a cover-up that leads to the undoing of the culpable. It’s hard to see how Shatter and Callinan can survive in their jobs.  Their downfall will be a good outcome if it leads to a proper system of overseeing the activities of the guards.
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deiseach

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 03:25:33 PM »
I'm staggered at the extent to which Alan Shatter seems willing to carry Martin Callinan's water. There's no doubt in my mind that some skulduggery took place towards GSOC from certain members of the guards. The hilariously inept planting of a story poo-poohing the whole affair with Paul Williams pretty much confirmed for me that someone had something to hide. But Shatter is effectively acting as a lightning rod for Callinan, to the extent that I can see Callinan surviving this (although a new government would surely demand his head, just as happened with Patrick McLaughlin and Edmund Garvey before him). What is in it for Shatter?

Hardy

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 03:27:46 PM »
I'm staggered at the extent to which Alan Shatter seems willing to carry Martin Callinan's water. There's no doubt in my mind that some skulduggery took place towards GSOC from certain members of the guards. The hilariously inept planting of a story poo-poohing the whole affair with Paul Williams pretty much confirmed for me that someone had something to hide. But Shatter is effectively acting as a lightning rod for Callinan, to the extent that I can see Callinan surviving this (although a new government would surely demand his head, just as happened with Patrick McLaughlin and Edmund Garvey before him). What is in it for Shatter?


Hard to know. The cynical might infer that Callinan has his own dossier.
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deiseach

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 03:30:04 PM »
I'm staggered at the extent to which Alan Shatter seems willing to carry Martin Callinan's water. There's no doubt in my mind that some skulduggery took place towards GSOC from certain members of the guards. The hilariously inept planting of a story poo-poohing the whole affair with Paul Williams pretty much confirmed for me that someone had something to hide. But Shatter is effectively acting as a lightning rod for Callinan, to the extent that I can see Callinan surviving this (although a new government would surely demand his head, just as happened with Patrick McLaughlin and Edmund Garvey before him). What is in it for Shatter?


Hard to know. The cynical might infer that Callinan has his own dossier.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

easytiger95

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 09:26:25 PM »
Haven't been following this very closely, but I was shocked by Callinan's performance in front of the PAC a couple of weeks ago - I think in the long run that will go down as his Pee Flynn moment - his arrogance and disregard for the committee was so blatant that it is actually scary to think what more could be going on within the force. A fish rots from the head down, and if Callinan is anyway indicative of senior officers' attitudes towards normal democratic oversight and the importance of holding institutions to account, then things could get very smelly indeed.

Is it any wonder that practically no one in institutional power in the history of the state has been held responsible in a court of law for their abuses of that power?

Rossfan

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2014, 10:53:23 AM »
Rather ironic that TG4 had a programme on the Guilford 4 last night.
THe most chilling part was where Gerry Conlon at the end mentioned some English Chief judge saying after they were freed that it would have been better if they were hung rather than exposing the Justice system.
That attitude alive and well with Callinanshatter.

Scary scenario .... and also scary that slíbhín Micilín Martin is now the cool clean hero.
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johnneycool

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2014, 10:56:20 AM »
Rather ironic that TG4 had a programme on the Guilford 4 last night.
THe most chilling part was where Gerry Conlon at the end mentioned some English Chief judge saying after they were freed that it would have been better if they were hung rather than exposing the Justice system.
That attitude alive and well with Callinanshatter.

Scary scenario .... and also scary that slíbhín Micilín Martin is now the cool clean hero.

It is the same mentality that resided in the Catholic church where the good name of the institution was more important than the wrongdoings.

Orior

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2014, 11:22:01 AM »
I have seen a few minor skeletons stored in the cupboard recently. I can't whistleblower because it would be seen as bitter and not do my company (a supplier) any good whatsoever. Skeletons are everywhere in varying degrees
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Hardy

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 03:15:28 PM »

Has Shatter finally been nailed?

(SUNDAY INDEPENDENT 4 MAY 2014)

NIAMH HORAN AND JOHN DRENNAN

A SHOCKING finding that Justice Minister Alan Shatter broke data-protection laws could spell the end of his cabinet career. The finding is contained in a draft decision by the Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, which is due to be issued this week.

It follows a complaint made by Independent TD Mick Wallace after Mr Shatter revealed live on RTE's Prime Time on May 16, 2013, that the Wexford deputy had been cautioned by gardai for using his mobile phone while driving.

Mr Shatter later told the Dail that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had told him about the incident, which occurred in Dublin in May 2012. Mr Wallace subsequently filed an official complaint to the Data Protection Commissioner's Office.

The Sunday Independent has learned that Mr Shatter has been found guilty of breaking data-protection law.

"Fine Gael are in a real bind. This is one they cannot just brush under the carpet," a legal source said.

An adverse finding by the Data Commissioner leaves Mr Shatter open to a lawsuit by Mr Wallace, who can take civil proceedings against him, seeking compensation.

Mr Shatter, who has faced repeated calls to resign over his handling of a string of garda controversies, will be able to appeal the decision.

However, the damaging finding that a serving Justice Minister has been found to have broken the law could spell the end of his ministerial career and will certainly compound existing tensions within the Coalition.

Two further reports - the Cooke investigation into the GSOC bugging controversy and the Guerin review into garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe's claims of mishandling of criminal investigations - could spell further trouble for Mr Shatter and the Coalition.

One minister told the Sunday Independent last night: "If those reports, particularly the one on GSOC, do not support Shatter, he really is toast."

The minister added: "Confidence is utterly shattered on both sides of the Coalition. The election campaigns have been disastrous, the voters hostile. More trouble over Shatter would put the tin hat on it."

Prior to today's revelations, one senior Labour source had warned: "Shatter is on the brink, his line of political credit is very thin."

Another senior Labour figure warned: "Our tolerance for indulging failing Fine Gael ministers is very low. When it comes to errors, Mr Shatter is on a political choke chain."

Mr Shatter, however, is believed to enjoy the confidence of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

One senior Fine Gael told this newspaper: "Enda is very loyal, too loyal for his or our good. He feels Shatter has been hounded by the media and vested interest groups who want his head."

However, anger is growing within Fine Gael over Mr Shatter's performance.

A Fine Gael minister said: "Shatter has ruined us. We were doing grand, we had just left the Troika. His performance and (Health Minister James) Reilly's have been devastating for our core vote."

When the complaint against Mr Shatter was first raised, Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes said it was "incumbent upon all persons in the public, whether they are ministers or public servants, to be careful about personal data that they hold and not to disclose it, other than with the consent of the person".

A source close to Mr Wallace said: "This is a massive coup for Mick, who has long argued that the public cannot have a Minister for Justice who abused his position by using his power to find private information on an individual to smear their reputation for political point-scoring."

Commissioner Hawkes last night said he could not comment "at this juncture".
I studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through - L.Cohen

muppet

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 03:25:17 PM »
I'd question the timing of this action by the data-commisioner.  ;)

Seriously though, if he broke the law as Minister for Justice he should resign.
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lynchbhoy

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2014, 03:42:39 PM »
+1 muppet
..........

Rossie11

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 03:56:25 PM »
Good article by Gene Kerrigan also today on a similar topic

A small event occurred last week that should not be allowed to vanish down the memory hole. It involved our dear leader, Enda of the Thousand Cuts. In considering this matter, it's as well to bear in mind that this is the man who on occasion goes into rooms, alone, with EU and other leaders, and with ECB banking warlords, and who reaches understandings with them – the details of which are not revealed to us.

The incident – it's on the Dail record, it's on YouTube – was a demonstration of our Taoiseach's ability to find a juvenile aspect to any issue, to then tell an untruth about his conduct, and then to try to shush it up with a half-hearted withdrawal of his juvenile intervention.

Mr Kenny has been in the Dail since 1975 – but for 36 of those years we didn't have to worry about him. For a couple of years in the Nineties he was a junior minister for tourism, but other than that he wasn't in a position to do much damage. He was leader of Fine Gael, mind you, but – well, someone has to be.

Then, Fianna Fail wrecked the country and Mr Kenny promised change, so he was elected along with an army of faithful cheerleaders.

Last Wednesday, at Leaders' Questions, Luke Flanagan informed the Taoiseach that he'd been approached by a serving garda, under the Garda Siochana Act. The garda made an allegation of corruption within the drug squad. This garda, he said, wasn't sure he could trust GSOC. He was generally apprehensive about coming forward.

The garda was right to worry. The former Commissioner described whistleblowers as "disgusting". Forced by public concern to appear to give a damn, the Government prepared whistleblower legislation, but the Taoiseach's every move was grudging.

It was in the Seventies that Mr Kenny came to political maturity (in his case, an unfortunate phrase). Back then, and too often since, the dominant culture said it's best to keep your mouth shut. Better to let corruption blossom unseen. To reveal it is to lower respect for the police force/the planning system/the church.

And we know where that leads.

"It was," said Flanagan, "a worrying ordeal for the garda in question to go to GSOC today, given his understandable concern about confidentiality." Flanagan went with him that morning – they met at or went into the coffee shop next door to GSOC, and former garda John Wilson, whose own whistleblowing led to his exit from the force, went along for support (and was in the public gallery during the Dail exchange).

The garda's worry, Flanagan said, "was significantly increased this morning when it became obvious that we were under surveillance by an unmarked garda car".

Flanagan asked a question of Mr Kenny. "What will the Taoiseach do about this, bearing in mind good people are being silenced and the legislation he is standing by is anything but fit for purpose?"

Now, we've no idea if the allegation of corruption holds water. We don't know if that was indeed a garda car. And if it was, we don't know if it was there to watch the garda, or Mr Wilson, or Mr Flanagan or GSOC – or if it just happened to be in the vicinity. There may be an innocent explanation.

What we do know is that in recent years things have happened within the force that are extremely worrying. And concerns about such matters should be treated with seriousness.

What an adult Taoiseach would say would be something like this: "I hope you're wrong – I trust someone took the registration number of the car. I will put a reliable official on this and before the end of the day I'll get back to you with my opinion as to whether this requires further action. Or – and I hope is the case – perhaps there was a misunderstanding."

That's how adults respond to serious matters.

Here's how the Taoiseach responded. "I have no information about, about..." And between those two 'abouts', there was a suggestion of a titter.

"... Deputy Flanagan being followed or under surveillance by an unmarked car. Sharp man to know that an unmarked car was actually shadowing him. Maybe it was not him they had under surveillance."

Now, Flanagan hadn't asked the Taoiseach what he knew about the surveillance. But Mr Kenny was, like any comedian, merely laying the groundwork for his joke.

"Maybe they thought there was somebody dealing." Boom boom.

There was some hooting from Mr Kenny's cheerleaders. Beside the Taoiseach, Michael Noonan left a smirk on his face for some time.

Flanagan believes that cannabis should be decriminalised. This suggested to the Taoiseach that he might make a joke about Flanagan being under surveillance by the drug squad. Mattie McGrath and Roisin Shortall immediately understood how wrong this was, in the context, and asked the Taoiseach to withdraw the remark.

Flanagan protested about the Taoiseach making "a joke out of it".

Mr Kenny: "I made no joke about any comment you made." This was untrue.

The old grudging attitude emerged briefly and he couldn't resist letting us know what he thinks of whistleblowers. "It seems that anybody who has had any connection with a garda over the past 30 years wants to bring forward reports and comments."

He then attacked Flanagan. "It ill behoves you to come in here and make your allegations about treating comments that you make as a joke."

The adults sought to gently help the Taoiseach off the hook on which he'd hung himself. Micheal Martin said the Taoiseach had, "made a remark . . . which could be misconstrued . . . Perhaps it should be withdrawn".

One of Mr Kenny's Fine Gael cheerleaders, a Mr Butler, had to be told by the Ceann Comhairle, "Sorry, deputy, you're not entitled to roar and shout across the chamber".

Mr Butler made a remark about "yer man" in the public gallery, referring to John Wilson. Never, even in his dreams, will Mr Butler deliver the public service John Wilson has performed.

Later, Pearse Doherty said he was disappointed. "I think these issues should be taken seriously."

Aware at last that the adults were embarrassed by the smirking, Mr Kenny then said: "I withdraw any remark that might have given a perception of a joking nature." He couldn't say he'd instinctively made an inappropriate joke about serious matters – the fault wasn't his, it was in those who perceived his comment to be a joke.

He invited Luke Flanagan "to give me the information he has received"; it will be treated "with the respect it deserves".

And we know how much respect that is.

It may well be that what happened near the GSOC offices on Wednesday was some sort of misunderstanding. We must hope it was – in which case, no harm done. Let's see where, if anywhere, the allegation about corruption in the drug squad leads.

We hope it was a misunderstanding. Because if that was a police car, and it was keeping surveillance on legitimate behaviour – officially or unofficially – we are in bigger trouble than we thought. And that's no joke.

armaghniac

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2014, 05:05:09 PM »
Shatter resigns.

No great loss.
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muppet

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 05:15:37 PM »
Shatter resigns.

No great loss.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0507/615716-alan-shatter-mick-wallace/

Shatter had to go, he broke the law.

Wallace broke the law too. We know he didn't pay €1.4m in taxes and we also know, though we shouldn't, that he was stopped by a Gárda while driving and talking on a telephone. Both of these are against the law. I would like to see Mick on his bike as well.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 05:24:30 PM by muppet »
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AQMP

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Re: The Minister, the Commissioner and the whistleblower
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2014, 05:16:17 PM »
Was it not only yesterday that Alan Shatter enjoyed the confidence of the Taoiseach and Taniaste?  A bit like the chairman's vote of confidence for soccer managers = kiss of death!