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May 30, 2016, 4:10 p.m.
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Source: Rollingnews.ieSINN FÉIN’S MARY LOU McDonald has said the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan needs to give an “immediate response” to claims by Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness that they met in a Bewley’s car park to talk about whistleblower Maurice McCabe two years ago.Speaking in the Dáil last week, McGuinness claimed:Every effort was made by those within the Garda Síochána at senior level to discredit Garda Maurice McCabe.The Garda Commissioner confided in me in a car park on the Naas Road that Garda McCabe was not to be trusted and there were serious issues about him.The vile stories that circulated about Garda McCabe, which were promoted by senior officers in the Garda, were absolutely appalling.Meeting in Bewley’s car parkSpeaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, who was also a member of the Public Accounts Committee at the time, said she was not aware of the meeting between the pair.McDonald said she was conscious that there was “no appetite in the system” for Maurice McCabe to appear before the committee.McGuinness, the former chair of the committee, today defended his decision to only reveal details about the meeting last Thursday.He said he did not bring the matter forward at the time as it may have “scuppered” the Public Accounts Committee and the testimony of McCabe.“I believe I was correct in doing it that way,” he said.The former PAC chair said he has gone public with the information now as McCabe’s integrity continues to be questioned today.  Culture within garda organisationHe said “serious questions remain” about the culture within An Garda Síochana and said whistleblowers continue to be “under siege”.McDonald said she understood why McGuinness did not go public about the meeting before McCabe appeared before the committee.She said she understood why he was “fearful of derailing of that process”.“I think there was merit in that concern,” she said, adding it was “well-founded”.However, she said McGuinness should have brought the information about the meeting to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.McDonald said an “immediate response” from the former commissioner was now needed.She also wants to know what the nature of the exchange was between the two, as well as what knowledge the current Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan had of these matters.