D’ARCY: I WON’T REPEAT CRITICISM OF O’SULLIVAN
MINISTER Michael D’Arcy has refused to repeat the criticism he made of Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan last February, but has denied being ‘muzzled’ by the government.
During an interview with Alan Corcoran on South East Radio yesterday, Monday, in the wake of Commissioner O’Sullivan’s decision to retire with immediate effect, Deputy D’Arcy declined to repeat his criticisms, and refuted suggestions he was being muzzled now that he is a Minister of State.
As a back bencher, he broke ranks last February when he said he didn’t believe a statement by the commissioner in relation to garda whistleblowers, and said she should step aside in the interests of ‘natural justice’.
‘I think she made the decision in the best interests of An Garda Síochána,’ he told this newspaper yesterday. He wouldn’t be drawn on his previous comments, but denied being ‘muzzled.’
‘When you’re in government, you have to accept the goverment’s view, he said. ‘I knew that when I went into government. It doesn’t take from the position I had before that.’
‘When you enter government, you accept that there is a single government position,’ he added. ‘ These are the rules. I knew it beforehand, and I know it now. The position is, the government accepts her decision to retire. What was said in the past is in the past. The statement I made was on the record and if people want to read it, it is there and available.’ He said it is now a matter for the Policing Authority to take the next step in relation to what happens next.
During a Dáil debate in February on the terms of reference for a tribunal looking into the alleged smearing of garda whistleblowers he said ‘ The information I have been given is that up to ten journalists were briefed in relation to Sergeant (Maurice) McCabe.’
‘I don’t believe the commissioner,’ he added. ‘I don’t believe her because of her actions and how she instructed her legal counsel to deal with the O’Neill investigation. I do think in the interest of natural justice that the commissioner step aside in the interest of Garda Síochána. The interest of one individual cannot come in ahead of the police force.’