Garda Whistleblower Scandal: The winners and losers

Garda Whistleblower Scandal: The winners and losers

CALLS for the establishment of a comprehensive commission of investigation into unresolved issues raised by garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe have been made in the Guerin Report.

The 300 page document led to the resignation of former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter on Wednesday and highlights concerns about the adequacy of investigations into allegations of serious crimes raised by Sgt McCabe.

In a scandal that has rumbled on for nearly one year, the Irish Post looks at the winners and losers of a story which has burned both career and State institution.


John Wilson and Maurice McCabe
Undermined consistently but consistently undeterred, the two Garda whistleblowers entered a long and stressful battle with the Garda Commissioner, then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and, in the case of John Wilson, cancer. Both emerged the other side of those two high profile resignations credited with doing the State some service.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan arriving at Leinster House ahead of a Public Accounts Committee in January Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan arriving at Leinster House ahead of a Public Accounts Committee in January

The Public Accounts Committee
Set up to scrutinise government spending, the brief of John McGuinness, Mary Lou McDonald and Shane Ross et al was never expected to hit with the kind of probing vigour that led to the Garda Commissioner making the now infamous “disgusting” remarks in reference to the whistle blowers. It was the beginning of the end play.

gerry adams-n Gerry Adams's recent arrest could not prevent Sinn Fein's rise in the polls

Sinn Fein
Their recent rise in the polls has roots in the Government’s consistent blundering from one Garda scandal to the next. All the while an untainted Sinn Fein made the kind of poll gains that even the recent arrest and questioning of Gerry Adams couldn’t diminish.

justiceforall-n Luke Ming Flanagan (left) and Clare Daly's claims were ignored by the government and Ireland's media  (Photo: Photocall Ireland)

Mick Wallace, Luke Ming Flanagan, Clare Daly
The original recipients of information which outlined widespread penalty point terminations, all three were at different times, undermined – and in the case of Clare Daly arrested (and later cleared of a drink driving charge) - as the government and large sections of the media ignored their claims. Wallace was famously and incorrectly exposed as having a traffic offence quashed during a televised exchange with Alan Shatter – how his and the Independents’ stock has soared.


Alan Shatter Alan Shatter resigned earlier this week as Minister for Justice

Alan Shatter
Labelled in more recent weeks as the Minister for Self Defence, the former Justice Minister – so noted for his conscientious nature – blundered when stating on the Dáil record last year that the whistleblowers had failed to cooperate with an internal Garda report. This is just one strike against the minister but there have been so many that the death of his political career looked destined for a thousand cuts.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan arrive at Leinster House ahead of the Public Accounts Committee meeting Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan's fate was sealed by the scandal

 Martin Callinan
The second part of the justice double act, the former Garda Commissioner proved equally adept at saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Ultimately, however, not doing anything at all when he received the original complaints from the whistleblowers sealed his fate.

Enda Kenny speaking in London this morning Fine Gael has been diminished by the scandals and Enda Kenny has not emerged unscathed

Enda Kenny
He’s still smiling but the scandals have come with the kind of ad-break frequency that has stalled the government. Fine Gael has been diminished by these scandals, no question, and as party leader and Taoiseach Kenny has not emerged unscathed. The mounting pressure was beginning to tell on the doorsteps and that’s bad news for them with Sinn Fein and the Independents hot on their heels.

media-n The Irish media should have picked up the story from the whistle blowers much earlier than it did

 The Irish Media
It could have been a triumph for Irish journalism. The join the dots nature of the information - made accessible by the whistle blowers - should have been easy work for the mainstream in Ireland, yet unbelievably for more months than was acceptable (with the exception of the Irish Examiner and a few others) the will to tackle the story came from overseas publications.

The bigger picture started to become clear in 2013 with the Guardian and the Irish Post picked up the story in August 2013. But it was only once the PAC got involved in January that the mainstream came charging down the hill. This, four plus months later, and in an era when news travels fast, is unacceptable to many.


The Gardai
Their reputation has taken a battering the kind of which they never expected. It hasn’t been one round either and with each breaking scandal (Penalty Points, The Garda Ombudsman office bugging case, Ian Bailey, The Guerin Report etc) the punches have continued to land clean and crisp. The fear now is that this ain’t no 12-rounder. Now new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald is tasked with restoring confidence.