Belfast Telegraph

Corruption claims ‘a very serious issue’ for former Garda commissioner

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy says the force wanted to get to the truth of whistleblowing claims.

Corruption allegations made against Garda officers at the O’Higgins Commission were a “serious issue” for Noirin O’Sullivan, a senior officer has said.

Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy said the force led by the former Garda commissioner wanted to get to the truth of whistleblowing claims.

Ms O’Sullivan is due to give evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal soon. No allegations of corruption have been made against her.

She met lawyers representing the Garda during commission hearings in 2015, Mr Healy said.

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Disclosures Tribunal

Mr Healy told tribunal chairman Judge Peter Charleton: “The commissioner was concerned that allegations of corruption were a very serious issue for her.”

The Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle is investigating whether unjustified grounds were used in an attempt to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the private 2015 O’Higgins Commission.

The commission investigated Sgt McCabe’s claims of wrongdoing among gardai in Cavan-Monaghan.

Mr Healy was the former commissioner’s liaison during the O’Higgins hearings.

The Garda was listening to whistleblower claims while also allowing those accused an opportunity to give their versions, he said, adding: “The ultimate aim was to get to the truth as to whether or not the complaints were correct.”

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Garda Commissioner before the Oireachtas Joint Committee

Ms O’Sullivan was Garda commissioner from 2014 until announcing her retirement in September last year.

Part of the Disclosure Tribunal’s terms of reference is considering whether a false and unfounded child sex abuse allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006 was used against him.

It is also investigating whether Mrs O’Sullivan’s lawyers advised that Sgt McCabe’s motivation should be challenged at the private inquiry despite public support for whistleblowers.

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