5. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she still has full confidence in the Garda Commissioner, with particular reference to the manner in which Garda personnel making protected disclosures are dealt with in view of the fact that the Garda Commissioner is now in position for over two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40597/16]
Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: I want to make it absolutely clear that no finding of wrongdoing of any kind has been made against the Garda Commissioner. In those circumstances, she is entitled to our full confidence and support.
It is right to recognise that the Garda has done some excellent policing operations and continues to work keeping our communities safe. We have just talked about the threats from paramilitary organisations. It is critical the policing necessary to interrupt those activities continues.
I hope the Deputy will appreciate that, like any other public servant and in line with any concept of fairness, the Garda Commissioner is entitled to her good name - as, indeed, are people making allegations entitled to theirs - unless facts properly established prove otherwise. One of the lessons of the past couple of years is the danger of treating allegations as fact and rushing to judgment before the actual facts are determined.
The House will be aware that I asked Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill to review two protected disclosures which I received from members of An Garda Síochána last October. I received his report last week and am grateful for his work in this regard. I am still in consultation with the Attorney General about this matter and I hope the House will understand that I am not in a position to say any more about it at this stage. However, I will take all steps necessary to ensure the disclosures in question are properly and fairly addressed.
On cases of whistleblowing generally, the reality is that neither the Deputy nor I, as Minister, are in a position to determine facts in individual cases without having processes in place to deal properly with allegations of wrongdoing by members of An Garda Síochána. The veracity or otherwise of allegations cannot be established across the floor of this House. That is why we have put proper processes in place to examine these cases. They will involve an impartial examination of the case made by people making allegations and those against whom such allegations are made.