Taoiseach expresses confidence in Garda Commissioner

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

The Taoiseach has expressed his confidence in the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, following a damning report by the Garda Inspectorate which found consistent and widespread abuse of the penalty point system.

Speaking in Washington on the first of his six day visit to the United States, Enda Kenny said a number of issues would not have been brought to light had it not been for the actions of two garda whistleblowers.

But, asked twice, he declined to say they deserved an apology for the way they were undermined - in particular by the Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, who had claimed in October that they did not co-operate with an internal garda inquiry into the quashing of points.

"He had disagreements with the whistleblowers on a number of issues. He has addressed this at some length in the committee, in the Dáil and will do so again when the Dáil resumes on the Thursday after St Patrick's recess," Mr Kenny said.

Asked if the Garda Commissioner was "unwise" to call the actions of the whistleblowers "disgusting" when he appeared before the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in January, the Taoiseach said this comment had been clarified.

Mr Kenny said Mr Calinan's word related to "the release in the irregular fashion - put it that way - of the information about this to the public media."

He said he had full confidence in Mr Callinan, "The commissioner has responsibility for the day to day running of the gardaí. Clearly the findings of the Garda inspectorates report point out where disfunctionality and inefficiency in the system has been, that is now being addressed and that is the consequece of the eight month report by the inspectorate."

* By Mary Regan, Deputy Political Editor, Irish Examiner in Washington

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