Brian McCarthy: appointed

THE GARDA commissioner is making enquiries to establish what action if any should be taken against the Sunday Times for a breach of legislation when it revealed a garda whistleblower's identity.

In November, the Sunday Times published the name of the whistleblower who made a confidential report alleging criminal malpractice against other gardaí in Co Cavan. The article followed revelations the week before in this newspaper about developments in the investigation into corruption in the county.

Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan was "so appalled" by the whistleblower's identity being published in a newspaper that it prompted him to raise it with garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy. "If the anonymity of a garda whistleblower is blown, what is the point in having a confidential recipient to investigate corruption within the force? It defeats the purpose. Anonymity is an important part of that process. By publishing the whistleblower's name, this can deter other gardaí who are aware of problems within the force from coming forward," he told the Sunday Tribune.

Brian McCarthy, a former secretary-general to the President, was appointed by the government to receive confidential information from gardaí who want to report corruption and wrongdoing in the force. It is understood that the outgoing garda commissioner has now asked McCarthy to investigate – under the Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice Regulations 2007 – how to proceed against the Sunday Times for its actions.

Section 124 of the 2005 Garda Síochána Act clearly states the identity of gardaí who report alleged corruption in confidence must be protected.