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Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan Niall Carson/PA Wire

Callinan has “no difficulty” in providing information to PAC

The Commissioner said that he would not discuss the issue of serving sergeant Maurice McCabe appearing before the PAC.

GARDA COMMISSIONER MARTIN Callinan has said that he has the “height of respect” for the Public Accounts Committee.

He made the comment after it emerged today that he is seeking legal advice over the proposed appearances of two garda whistleblowers at the Public Accounts Committee next week.

This afternoon, speaking in Dundalk, the Commissioner said:

I have the height of respect for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). I said that yesterday on a number of occasions. They do extremely good work for the citizens of this country. And I certainly don’t want to do anything to hamper that situation.

However, he added:

“But, you know, I have my own backyard to watch and I intend to be as transparent as I have to be in terms of appearing before these people and providing the type of information that they require.”

He said that he has “no difficulty at all, as the Commissioner and the accounting officer of An Garda Siochána, in providing that information”.

This afternoon, members of the PAC were divided on whether or not they should hear evidence from the whistleblowers in public or private session.

The whistleblowers have alleged that fixed-charge penalty notices have been cancelled corruptly and illegally. Their claims were dismissed by the Garda Comissioner yesterday.

The allegations are being made by a serving garda, Maurice McCabe, and an ex-member of the force, John Wilson. PAC chairman John McGuinness has indicated both men are willing to appear before the committee.

Asked about stopping McCabe from appearing before the PAC, Commissioner Callinan said: “I’m not going to discuss that matter at this time.”

Earlier today, Independent TD Shane Ross said that the whistleblowers have “every right to express a view, an opinion and give evidence in public”.

- Additional reporting Hugh O’Connell

Read: TDs divided on whether PAC should hear from garda whistleblowers publicly>

Poll: Should the garda whistleblowers be brought before the PAC?>

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