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26 Justice Department employees suspended from duty with full pay

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett, who received the information, contrasted this with the fact the Garda Commissioner is still in her role.

Justice Minister for the Republic of Ireland Frances Fitzgerald (left) and An Garda Siochana Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Justice Minister for the Republic of Ireland Frances Fitzgerald (left) and An Garda Siochana Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

A TOTAL OF 26 Justice Department employees have been suspended from duty with full pay, pending an investigation.

The Deputy who asked for the information in a parliamentary question, AAA-PBP’s Richard Boyd Barrett, said that the situation is at odds with the fact the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan does not have to stand aside from her role while the Charleton Tribunal of Inquiry is underway.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Boyd Barrett pointed out the figures show that normally staff at the Department and its associated organisations stand aside when under investigation.

On the same programme, Minister for Education Richard Bruton re-stated the Government’s view that Commissioner O’Sullivan should stay in her role while the Tribunal is underway.

Government Chief Whip Regina Doherty told RTÉ radio show This Week that the government has full confidence in O’Sullivan.

“There are allegations that have been made against the current commissioner which she has rejected and is welcoming the fact that she will have the opportunity to clear her name,” she said. “We have confidence in her ability to do her job.”

She said the Policing Authority will keep a “close eye” on ensuring the tribunal will not take up too much of the Commissioner’s time with regard to her doing her job.

Doherty said that it is “without doubt” that the government has “full confidence” in O’Sullivan.

Meanwhile, RTÉ reports that O’Sullivan’s predecessor, Martin Callinan, told a judge-led review that he met with Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness in a car park. The meeting occurred before Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe appeared before the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee almost three years ago.

Confidential correspondence seen by RTÉ’s This Week programme indicates that Callinan “rejected accounts of the meeting contained in two protected disclosures”.

The opening statements in the Charleton Tribunal – officially to be called the Disclosures Tribunal – will take place on Monday.

The tribunal will examine the alleged smears made against Sergeant Maurice McCabe and others.

Read: The Charleton Tribunal has an official (different) name, and its opening statement is due next Monday>

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