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Shatter: 'I'm not trying to silence whisteblowers'

The Justice Minister stressed that he has full confidence in the Gardaí to co-operate with an Ombudsman investigation.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 9.12am

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Alan Shatter has stressed that he ‘is not trying to silence’ whistleblowers by requesting that the Garda Ombudsman launch an investigation into the penalty points controversy.

He said the decision was made due to a ‘minority of members’ of the Public Accounts Committee ndermining its credibility by ‘pre-judging matters’.

The committee is meeting today to decide whether to call the whistleblowers before it.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister Shatter also said that he has ‘no doubt’ that the Garda Ombudsman will receive full co-operation from the Garda Commissioner.

Commissioner Kieran Fitzgerald, speaking to the same programme earlier, had been asked on whether he had confidence in the Gardaí, responding that he ‘couldn’t give an affirmative answer right now’.

Fitzgerald said that the investigation, which is planned to be launched as soon as Minister Shatter formally asks for one, may request ‘enhanced’ access to the Garda PULSE computer system as part of their investigation into penalty points.

He said preparations are already under-way for a ‘wide-ranging investigation’ to take place into alleged widespread malpractice in the administration of the fixed charge notice system.

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He said the nature of political controversy and intense media coverage of the topic risks undermining confidence in the oversight system and the system of justice, comments echoed by the Justice Minister.

The Ombudsman is prohibited from launching an investigation based on complaints from a serving member of An Garda Síochána.

Fitzgerald said he would “very much welcome” a review of the Garda Siochana act to make it “fit for purpose”.

Originally published 8.05am.

Background: Shatter slams ‘disturbing’ PAC comments, asks Ombudsman to probe penalty points issue >

More: PAC to decide whether to call serving garda sergeant to appear before it >

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Nicky Ryan

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