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Thursday 19 October 2017

Author of report that led Shatter to resign in appeal bid

Former Justice Minister and Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Former Justice Minister and Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The author of a report on Garda whistleblower claims which led to the resignation from government of Alan Shatter is seeking to appeal a court ruling that criticised findings he made about the former justice minister.

Barrister Sean Guerin wants to appeal to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal ruled that findings were reached in breach of fair procedure and natural justice as Mr Shatter was not given an opportunity to respond to them.

The senior counsel lodged documents seeking leave to appeal in recent days, the Irish Independent has learned.

The grounds of the appeal are not known, but Mr Guerin will have to show there are issues of general public importance or that an appeal would be in the interests of justice if the court is to consider the case.

Mr Shatter resigned from Cabinet in May 2014 after the Guerin report found he had failed to heed concerns raised by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

However, a subsequent commission of investigations led by Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins found Mr Shatter dealt with the concerns appropriately.

Mr Shatter blamed the Guerin report for the loss of his job. He went on to lose his Dáil seat in last year's General Election.

In its ruling, the Court of Appeal found that parts of the report were "seriously damaging" to Mr Shatter and the Government has an obligation to vindicate his rights. The president of the court, Mr Justice Sean Ryan, suggested that a chapter relating to Mr Shatter and another short passage in the report could be redacted.

But Mr Shatter has sought for the full report to be withdrawn from the Oireachtas library and removed from circulation.

It has already been removed from the Government's website.

Although the Court of Appeal ruled against Mr Guerin, Mr Justice Ryan said that he was not being personally critical of him.

He said Mr Guerin had to work under considerable pressure and deal with a large amount of documentary material under severe time constraints.

Irish Independent

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