'Confidential recipient' for Garda whistleblowers sacked

Justice Minister Alan Shatter

The confidential recipient in the Garda who hears complaints of malpractice from serving officers has been sacked.

Solicitor Oliver Connolly has been let go following reports that he told a whistleblower he was “finished” if Justice Minister Alan Shatter thought he was being “screwed” over claims of rogue policing.

A line from a transcript of a conversation between Mr Connolly and whistleblower Garda Maurice McCabe was read into the record in the Dáil last week by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

“I’ll tell you something, Maurice – and this is just personal advice to you - if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished,” Mr Martin said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny revealed in the Dáil that the go-between had been relieved of his duties.

“There were a number of contacts with the confidential recipient,” Mr Kenny said.

“This is a very serious matter.”

Mr Connolly was appointed in 2011. His dismissal is the latest in a long line of controversies the Garda and the Minister have been embroiled in.

The Taoiseach told the Dail that a report had been written by the secretary general of the Department of Justice amid publication of extracts from the meeting between Mr Connolly and Mr McCabe.

A full transcript has since been leaked.

Mr Kenny said a number of discussions have been held with Mr Connolly over the allegations in the last two weeks.

“Following publication of the full element of what is alleged to have happened, I did not have the opportunity to listen to audio tape personally, having read all the statement made having been in contact with the Minister for Justice, who’s very concerned about this, he has this morning relieved Mr Connolly of his duties,” he said.

Independent TD Mick Wallace had also used parliamentary privilege to detail another section of the transcript from a conversation allegedly held in a cafe in Dublin on February 9, 2012.

He said Mr Connolly told Mr McCabe: “If Shatter thinks: ’Here’s this guy again, trying another route, trying to put on pressure’, he’ll go after you.”

Mr McCabe has provided a report to a number of TDs over alleged abuse of the garda penalty points system and in the last month gave evidence in private to a parliamentary committee on the issue.

The office of the confidential recipient was set up in the wake of the Morris Tribunal into garda corruption in Donegal.

It was designed to offer officers or civilian members of the force with concerns a route to alert an intermediary to malpractice or corruption in the force without concerns their identity would be revealed.

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