PAC chair McGuinness: Whistleblower's life destroyed; should that be the case?

PAC chairman John McGuinness

Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness has said the treatment of whistleblowers in Ireland is "disgusting".

Mr McGuinness was responding to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who yesterday said he found it disgusting that allegations of corruption in the penalty points system were brought forward by just two members of the force.

In strongly worded criticism of the people who released the information, Mr Callinan said: "I find it quite extraordinary. Quite clearly we have two people out of a force of over 13,000 who are making extraordinary and serious allegations, and there isn't a whisper from anybody else about this corruption, this malpractice and all those things they are alleging against their fellow officers.

"Frankly, I find it quite disgusting."

The Garda Commissioner has asked the Attorney General for advice and is considering action to stop Sergeant Maurice McCabe from giving evidence next week about allegations of corruption in the penalty points system.

However, PAC chairman John McGuinness has argued that in his opinion, the "disgusting" thing is how the two whistleblowers have since been treated.

"What I find disgusting is how whistleblowers are treated in this country," he said. "Had we listened to the whistleblower in the Department of Finance we might not have had the crash landing that we had.

"This particular whistleblower says that in informing on what he saw as the irregularities in the system... his life is now destroyed. The question is - should that be the case?"

He added the two whistleblowers should not face legal action stopping them from appearing at a hearing next week.

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