Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said that the conflicting accounts provided by senior Gardaí in relation to internal meetings about financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore, have further damaged public confidence in the force.

“Almost two years ago, revelations about financial irregularities in Templemore were first exposed. We continue to remain in the dark about much of the truth surrounding these claims and whether a criminal investigation will take place.

“I absolutely accept that people can have differing recounts of events, however, the discrepancy between the Commissioner’s recollection, and that of the head of Human Resources in An Garda Síochána who took notes during this particular meeting in 2015, is startling to say the very least. This is a clear and disturbing contradiction of events.

“Irrespective of who is correct, the conflict reveals that senior management of An Garda Síochána were unaware of vital issues of concern and importance to the force. This exposes significant dysfunctionality at the top of the organisation.

“The public and rank and file Gardaí are entitled to expect that the force is being managed both competently and effectively. Regrettably, the evidence heard during yesterday’s PAC meeting confirms that once again, this is not so.

“There is a clear onus on the Commissioner to provide additional detail and carry out more in-depth research to fully establish the facts about what occurred on that day.

“The Commissioner and other senior members of Garda management have previously come before an Oireachtas committee to provide clarity and accountability, yet they have thrown up more questions rather than providing answers.

“While they will return to appear before PAC this summer, the Commissioner must first realise the significance of these latest revelations. Deflecting poor management of public money as a legacy issue is not an acceptable explanation of these potentially severe breaches of procedure,” concluded O’Callaghan.