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Minister's Apology to Garda Whistleblowers

Dublin, 26 March 2014

Statement from former Garda John Wilson

‘It has been a long time coming, but I’m glad that the record has been finally corrected by Minister Shatter about how we reported our concerns about the unlawful termination of tens of thousands of lawfully issued fixed charge penalty notices. Approximately 10,000 of these lawfully issued notices were unlawfully terminated on a yearly basis by senior Garda officers. These practices have now ceased directly as a result of our complaints. 

I would like to thank the general public for their support which kept us going over the past year. My family and I also greatly appreciate the support of Clare Daly TD, Mick Wallace TD, Pádraig McLochlainn TD, Luke Ming Flanagan TD, Joan Collins TD, Joe Higgins TD, Mary Lou McDonald TD, John McGuinness TD, Shane Ross TD and John Devitt from Transparency International Ireland for all their help since the beginning.*

I still encourage any prospective Garda whistleblowers reporting malpractice, wrongdoing and corruption within the force to report their concerns to a member of the Oireachtas and seek advice from Transparency International Ireland.

My colleague Sgt Maurice McCabe is still being penalised on a daily basis for reporting malpractice and corruption within the force. The Garda authorities should be proud to have a person of the calibre of Sgt Maurice McCabe as a member of our policing service. And I’m demanding in the public interest that Sgt McCabe has his full rights of access to the Garda PULSE system restored with immediate effect.’

TI Ireland calls for Maurice McCabe to be granted access to PULSE and repeats call on Data Protection Commissioner to set the record straight

John Devitt, TI Ireland’s Chief Executive, said: ‘I’m relieved for John Wilson and Maurice McCabe that the Minister has finally apologised. It’s important to remember however that Sgt McCabe is still unable to do his job properly because he’s not authorised to use the PULSE database without permission from a senior officer each time he needs to use it. This doesn’t just prevent him from doing his work, it also sends the message to other Gardaí that Sgt McCabe is not to be trusted. The denial of access is a form of penalisation and Sgt McCabe’s right to use PULSE needs to be restored without delay’.
TI Ireland has repeated its call on Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes to clarify criticism of the Garda whistleblowers during an interview he gave to RTE News on 21 March. TI Ireland believes his interview gave the inaccurate impression that the whistleblowers were in breach of the Data Protection Act and that they had accessed PULSE unlawfully. His office has declined to issue a statement making it clear that at no time did either whistleblower share personal data with members of the public and that they did not access PULSE to download further evidence after Assistant Commissioner O'Mahoney's investigation was launched.

Media Contact, John Devitt – 01 871 943301 871 9433

John Wilson and Sgt McCabe wish to advise that they are unavailable for interview.  

TI Ireland operates a freephone Speak Up helpline offering information and referral services for whistleblowers in the public and private sector. The helpline number is 1800 844 866 and is open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday

*John Wilson asked that his statement be amended on 27 March to recognise the support of John McGuinness TD and Shane Ross TD