herald

Sunday 24 September 2017

Garda chief silent on Jobstown trial 'perjury' claims

Noirin O'Sullivan
Noirin O'Sullivan

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has refused to comment on allegations that officers committed perjury during the Jobstown trial.

However, she indicated that the court process - which saw six men including Solidarity TD Paul Murphy acquitted of the false imprisonment of former Tanaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O'Connell - would not be included in a garda review of the case.

There were heated exchanges in the Dail's Public Accounts Committee meeting yesterday as Ms O'Sullivan was quizzed by Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald.

It came a day after Mr Murphy used Dail privilege to claim "numerous gardai lied under oath in a co-ordinated way" during the trial over a water protest in 2014.

Concerns

Ms McDonald asked Ms O'Sullivan for her reaction to concerns over evidence given by some gardai. The Commissioner said she did not want to talk about the court case or the process, saying all of the parties involved were entitled to due process.

She said certain matters relating to Jobstown remained before the courts and she was "very much constrained and precluded" in what she could say.

"I certainly don't want to say anything that would in any way prejudice or jeopardise anything that is ongoing at the moment," she added.

Ms O'Sullivan said Assistant Commissioner Barry O'Brien had been appointed to review how events unfolded in Jobs-town "from a lessons learned point of view".

She said if anyone had concerns over issues that transpired from the protest "or any other matters", they could make a complaint to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission or at any garda station and it would be taken seriously.

Ms McDonald repeatedly asked if Mr O'Brien was investigating the evidence given by gardai during the case and accused Ms O'Sullivan of "deliberately not answering this question" and "filibustering".

Ms O'Sullivan again said there were outstanding court proceedings in relation to Jobs-town.

"When the totality of the matters before the court are concluded, obviously that will then feed into the review," she said.

PAC chairman Sean Fleming asked if Mr O'Brien would be examining the court process at the end of the proceedings.

"He would have no authority to examine the court process. The courts are an independent institution," Ms O'Sullivan said.

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