Mar 212014
 

I bet Leo Varadkar was that annoying toddler who tried to pull the chin-whiskers of elderly aunties, but it’s hard not to like his bull-in-a-china-shop indifference to other people’s sensitivities.  When he came straight out and called Martin Callinan on his bullshit, Varadkar was only saying what everyone else in the country thinks.  Come off it, Martin.

Martin Callinan Garda Commissioner Public Accounts Committee

Who believes Callinan when he says that his disgusting comment was about inappropriate access to confidential information?

I don’t.

Trying to justify his comments, this is what Martin Callinan said:

I want to clarify that my use of that term was not in reference to the character of either Sgt McCabe or former Garda Wilson, but the manner in which personal and sensitive data was inappropriately appearing in the public domain without regard to due process and fair procedures.

What I heard when the Garda Commissioner addressed the Public Accounts Committee was something quite different.  I heard him saying that, of thirteen thousand Gardai, only two whistle-blowers were making allegations of corruption and malpractice, and he found it disgusting.

Don’t take my word for it.  Judge for yourself what you think Martin Callinan said.

Here is the head of our national police force which, unfortunately, is also the national security agency, attempting to rubbish suggestions of malpractice in his force.  This is the same police chief who dismissed out of hand the critical findings of a High Court judge, Peter Smithwick, with a bland soundbite: this is not the force I lead.

Callinan’s pugnacious defence of the force he leads might have been laudable in an earlier era, but not today, and especially not in the wake of a report from another High Court judge, Fred Morris, who absolutely excoriated the force for its systemic corruption. After seven years, no action has been taken on foot of the Morris Tribunal’s findings.

Of course, this has always been a society based on the nod and the wink, and whether Martin Callinan would acknowledge it or not, he is as much a product of our nod-and-wink culture as anyone else.  Who hasn’t been friendly with a Garda willing to get a summons squared or a ticket fixed?  Well, the answer is that plenty of people aren’t in that fortunate position, but they’d be the people who don’t matter anyway.  The poor, the unimportant, the weakest.

For the rest of society, as often as not, it has always been possible to get minor charges fixed, depending on your relationship with the right people in our police force who, incidentally, need not be at a senior level.  In a monastic organisation such as an Garda Síochána, everyone is equal.  Templemore stays in the blood long after you’ve hopped on the last train out of it.

It’s ironic that Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s access to the PULSE system is strictly limited given the fact that other more junior Gardai routinely plug their USB sticks into it and download information that can, at best, be described as gossip about unconvicted citizens.  It’s doubly ironic, in an age of viruses and trojans, that those Gardai’s laptops could easily be used by their children to access the web, to interact on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or a dozen less reputable networks and therefore that confidential PULSE data is vulnerable to hacking by anyone wishing to read it.

Some IT technicians have suggested that the simplest way to access the PULSE system is to turn up at a Garda station with an aluminium case, catch the eye of the Garda at the desk and point to the door.  I believe them.  That’s how Ireland works, unfortunately, and yet a decent Garda is only permitted to access the system under strict supervision, because he tried to expose corruption.

It’s good that Leo Varadkar rejected the disgusting slur on two honourable policemen, and called on the Garda commissioner to retract it.  It’s good that Joan Burton agreed with him.  It’s good that Pat Rabbitte, however equivocally, supported the call to vindicate the whistleblowers.  It’s also good that Willie O’Dea, of all people, called on the commissioner to stop digging when he’s in a hole.

This is Ireland, however, and that’s why I have no confidence that Callinan will do anything other than reinforce his bunker.

In this land, we don’t retract and we don’t resign, even when we’ve lost the confidence of half the cabinet and all of the people.

 

 

  27 Responses to “Leo Varadkar Calls on Callinan to Retract “Disgusting” Slur Against Garda Whistle-Blowers”

Comments (27)
  1.  

    Good about Varadkar,but what’s the basis of your assertion that it’s fact “that other Gardai routinely plug their USB sticks into it and download information”? Likewise who are the “some IT technicians” to whom you refer”?

  2.  

    Callinan is so obviously part of the problem rather than part of the solution that you would wonder what little nuggets of dirt does the bollix Commisioner have on Kenny et al that keeps him in his job. If Kenny had any decency or vision he would see that this little weasel is a major embarrassment and an unnecessary distraction from more important matters of state– or maybe that’s the whole idea– make Enda is happy to have a clown like Callinan to distract us from focusing on our shrinking stinking sinking economy?

  3.  

    Tony, I’m not sure when this became a court of law. Do you say the same things to people who write for the newspapers?

  4.  

    . It’s just that I become very uneasy when I read unsubstantiated assertions which,let’s face it,anyone can make. It’s not a court of law,just two simple questions I asked which you failed to answer in my opinion.

  5.  

    If you think I’m going to name sources, you came to the wrong place.

  6.  

    Callinan is such an idiot, he couldn’t help himself, by letting slip the information he had gained from bugging GSOC to GSOC. And also leaking information to his fellow penalty point dodger Alan Shitter, to enable him to expose another penalty point dodger Mick the shirt Wallace.

    Reinstate Gemma Doherty, crushed by Martin Callinan and other penalty point dodgers at the Indo. apologise to the whistleblowers and resign, enjoy the pension we will be contracted to pay you and let a grown up from some other Country, run the guards efficiently.

  7.  

    His name is Shatter. Did you think this was an American website?

  8.  

    It’s like calling Noonan, Baldy, eventually you grow to prefer the alternative nickname and feel it might be more descriptive, and most definitely more appropriate to the individual. I’m not the first to mis spell his name, and it still amuses me when I read it back

  9.  

    Hats off to Leo Varadkar for sticking his neck out, meant to start by saying that, I did say how disappointed I was in him on another national website, the Forest Gump in me hopes maybe he read it and he thought I’m going to stop disappointing people and kick some ministerial butt.

    who can say, disappointing to see all his Labour colleagues growing a pair to order, after his statement though

  10.  

    @Bock No.5. Fair enough Bock,my response to that is you could be making it up. If your sources are so sure of their facts I dont see why you shouldnt name them.

  11.  

    Tonys pushing is coming across as silly.

  12.  

    Good man Paul,that’s the first time I’ve been accused of ‘pushing’ for having expressed my opinion. You seem to have a problem with free speech.

  13.  

    Tony, I’m only an insignificant blogger, but I do admire proper journalists, such as Kevin O’Kelly, who went to jail rather than reveal their sources. If they think it’s a good thing to protect their sources, then who am I to disagree?

  14.  

    I’m sure you or your sources won’t be jailed for telling the truth Bock.

  15.  

    @Tonyc; Having an axe to grind is one thing but having an agenda is quite another. Look, I know you’re probably just some insignificant troll who Bock pissed off at some stage and now you like to peruse his blog and make your rather stupid and ill-founded accusations as some kind of low rent mechanism to somehow reduce the validity of the post but what you’re really being is just an annoying gowl. There are plenty of sites you could visit where you probably wouldn’t even be called on it but seriously, take another Ritalin and fuck off, would ya.

  16.  

    Cap’n P,one thing I like about Bock,is that no many how many times I might challenge his views,he never resorts to the sort of personal abuse that some of the low lifes who visit this site do.

  17.  

    Tony, try to think of this as similar to an on-line newspaper, in an amateur sort of way. By now, any editor worth his salt would have given you two fingers.

  18.  

    I get it Bock. What I don’t get is the personal abuse,which in the comments policy you say you won’t stand for. Looks like the Cap’n is an exception to this.

  19.  

    I haven’t looked at the Garda website– I’m sure it’s a reassuring work of art. Perhaps somewhere on that site, there is a comprehensive FAQ on PULSE and a detailed account of how it’s data is secure and how routine access is policed and audited to ensure that only information that is required to investigate crime/complaints is accessed and that access must be requested, justified, verified and recorded.
    Then again, there are reports today that the personal files of celebrities were accessed innappropriately and repeatedly on a regular basis– does it matter whether USB sticks were used?. Is there any evidence that PULSE is secure and used appropriately? Is there any evidence that the penalty point system has been administered objectively, free from the cronyism of local corruption? Is there any evidence that the Commisioner with the dodgy tache wanted a robust accountable, objective and transparent penalty point system instead of the disgraceful shambles that he has presided over? Is there any evidence that Enda has the balls to ditch the naughty monkey in the uniform?

  20.  

    It was only when I saw the performance of Commissioner Martin Callinan in his testimony to the PAC that it began to dawn on me what kind of individual we have in charge of our police force.

    To my mind this individual displays all the symptoms of megalomania.

    He was pulled in kicking and screaming to the Public Accounts Committee and when he did appear in front of it he showed nothing but a distain for it, bordering on contempt. After all who the fuck are they to question him?

    He complained about being “usurped by subordinates” (McCabe and Wilson), he described the behaviour of Garda whistleblowers Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson as “disgusting”, not just once but twice.

    For me, the most insightful evidence of his mania laid in his continued use of the term “MY force”.

    I’m sorry Martin but it is OUR force.

  21.  

    Ours is a democracy for the feeble minded.

  22.  

    I may well be a low life, tonyc but you’re still a gowl who likes to troll blog sites.

  23.  

    Ok Cap,take your frustration out on me,I wont descend to your level.

  24.  

    Not sure it’s accurate to say the recommendations of Morris haven’t been acted upon after seven years. I’m sure you’ve heard of GSOC, Garda Inspectorate, Garda Reserve to name but three notable and direct progeny of Morris’ report. Also, as far as I’m aware (and I believe the Data Protection Commissioner is aware), nothing can be saved from pulse onto any sort of disc or external drive.

  25.  

    You’re sure I’ve heard of GSOC? No. What is it?

  26.  

    Well you may know its introduction was one of a range of pretty groundbreaking reforms brought in by Michael McDowell as a direct result of Morris’ recommendations. Also, the Morris report didn’t make a finding of “systemic corruption” in the force. Its terms of reference related to Donegal. It found evidence of corruption there alright and management failures more generally in the force. I appreciate an opinion piece is just that, but I think it’s only fair to call you out on complete untruths presented as fact.

  27.  

    Never heard of GSOC Bock? The least the man deserves is a little respect. You’re turning into a Cap’n P. Or should that be Cap’n P.M.?

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