10 May 2017

Following further revelations on Primetime last night, Labour TD and Vice Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Alan Kelly has said it is now time for Fianna Fáil to act on the latest controversy.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Fianna Fáil has said if they were in Government they would have removed the Garda Commissioner. Their position that they cannot do anything is absolutely untenable following the latest revelations on Primetime, the Public Accounts meeting last week, and my contribution in the Dáil on April 12th.

“Fianna Fáil has leverage over the Government that they are not prepared to use, despite the evidence that has been brought to light and their statements of no confidence in the Commissioner from their Leader and Justice Spokesperson.

“What has been revealed is that for years public money was siphoned through 42 accounts in the Garda College, outside the accounting framework of the Garda vote and away from the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor General. Since 2006 the Garda Commissioner has been the accounting officer of An Garda Siochána.

 “The culture in An Garda Siochána for years ensured that this was kept away from the internal audit section, and when the Commissioner was told about it, and separately legally advised to bring it to the attention of the Minister for Justice she didn’t act.

“This situation with the Garda Commissioner is a crisis for our country, for our justice system and for An Garda Siochána. The ordinary, decent, hard working Garda is being let down by the political establishment.

“This morning Leo Varadkar said what was important was what was being done. What appears to have been done is that the civil servant in charge of Human Resources in An Garda Siochána, John Barrett who brought these matters to attention has now been side-lined for calling a halt to this behaviour.

“That indicates no cultural change, and further damage to efforts to reform our police force.

“It is critical now that action is taken to restore public confidence in our police force which has been shattered following years of controversies.

“First we had the treatment of multiple whistle-blowers such as McCabe, Taylor and Harrison. Then we had the breath test figures and summonses. Then we had the homicide figures. Now we have Garda financial mismanagement.”

“Fianna Fáil has the power to act and end this crisis but they are failing in their duty.”

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