Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed a report from the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) investigating irregular financial procedures at the Garda Training College in Templemore, but has also insisted that the work of the College as a whole must not be tarnished as part of any rush to judgement by some members of the PAC. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the PAC Report criticised a culture within An Garda Síochána (AGS) of withholding information, providing inadequate information and keeping issues internal to avoid external awareness:
“While I acknowledge the excellent work of the PAC, it is very disconcerting to hear some committee members openly contradicting each other and taking opposing viewpoints as to the significance of some its findings.
We have already had Committee members, Deputy Peter Burke from Fine Gael and Deputy David Cullinane from Sinn Fein actively disagreeing on the airwaves as to how all of this impacts the current Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan. One says the Report is so damning she must go. The other says the Commissioner inherited a culture that she tried to change.
On the other hand we have Deputy Alan Kelly adopting a typically grandstanding position by initially saying this was all a cover-up, only to back away from that this morning on local radio when he put the issues down to gross incompetence. If he cannot distinguish between incompetence and an active cover-up then there are serious questions to be asked.
The people of Tipperary are rightly proud of the long tradition of excellence at Templemore and the capacity of the college to train front-line gardaí who put their lives on the line week in and week out notwithstanding the obvious limitations at higher management level that have been revealed by the PAC,” concluded Deputy McGrath.