first_imgHAVING THE GARDA Ombudsman Commission investigate the penalty points controversy a year ago would have been the ‘right thing’ to do, Minister Leo Varadkar has said.He said this evening that he doesn’t want to “get into a conflict with the Garda Commissioner or with my colleagues in government”.However, he went on:the record does show and I was asked this question on radio probably about a year ago now, as to whether I thought that the investigation should go to the Garda Ombudsman commission and I said at the time that I did, and I really do think that would have been the right thing to do in the first instance.He made the comments on The Last Word with Matt Cooper on Today FM.WhistleblowerThe minister spoke about his feelings on the evidence that Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe gave the Public Accounts Committee last week on the penalty points issues.“I’m happy that things have definitely changed,” said Varakdar.He went on to say that one of the things that he knows was discussed in the PAC hearing when McCabe spoke “was what his view was on how the system is operating – the new revised system – and from what I’ve been told anyway the indications are that he’s very happy that the new system is working and the practices that were happening in the past are not happening anymore”.McCabe’s interview with the PAC was heard in private, and audio was kept of the proceedings.On 28 January, it emerged that Justice Minister Alan Shatter had written to the PAC requesting that they supply the Garda Ombudsman with any relevant documents they hold on the penalty points controversy.The previous day, Shatter had asked the Ombudsman to investigate the controversy surrounding the penalty points system.Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said at the time that he looked forward to “co-operating fully” with the Garda Ombudsman investigation.Varadkar said on the radio show that in today’s Ireland, “nobody trusts people to investigate themselves”.“That’s going to require a bit of a change and a culture shift but more and more if there is an issue people expect an investigation to be independent,” he said.Read: ‘He kept saying he loved the guards’: No specifics but garda whistleblower a ‘credible witness’>Read: Government tells PAC to cooperate with Garda Ombudsman investigation>last_img