Sunday 19 February 2017

It should have been done sooner, says Shatter as report taken off website

Published 24/11/2016 | 02:30

Alan Shatter pictured leaving the Four Courts. Pic:Collins Courts
Alan Shatter pictured leaving the Four Courts. Pic:Collins Courts

The controversial Guerin Report into the handling of Garda whistleblower allegations has been removed from the Department of the Taoiseach's website.

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Former justice minister Alan Shatter - who resigned due to the report - last night welcomed the move but said he believed it should have happened "long ago".

The removal of the report was revealed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who said he made the order that it should be taken down after consulting with the Attorney General.

"Obviously, arising from the O'Higgins Report and the decision of the Appeals Court there is no reason that it should be up on the website," Mr Kenny said.

The report by senior counsel Seán Guerin led to the resignation of Mr Shatter in 2014 after it found he had failed to heed concerns raised by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Read more: Moves by Alan Shatter to quash parts of Guerin report opposed by author

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The subsequent O'Higgins Report, published earlier this year, found that the former justice minister took whistleblower allegations seriously and that his actions were "entirely reasonable and appropriate".

The Court of Appeal ruled earlier this month that month that opinions critical of Mr Shatter in the Guerin report were reached in breach of his right to fair procedure as he was never asked to give his version of events.

Last night Mr Shatter outlined how he took the initial High Court action "not only to vindicate my good name" but also to reinforce the principle that "no individual should be criticised or condemned upon the conclusion of an inquiry, whether statutory or non-statutory, without a fair hearing".

On the removal of the report from the Taosieach's website, Mr Shatter said: "I believe such action should have been taken long ago and certainly no later than upon receipt by the Taoiseach of the O'Higgins Report.

"The Taoiseach has, to date, declined to acknowledge, either in the Dáil Chamber or elsewhere, that Judge O'Higgins' conclusions contradicted those of Mr Guerin. I now ask that he do so," he said.

"It is my hope that within the coming days this long drawn out and personally stressful saga will finally end."

Irish Independent

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