Alan Shatter's statement in full: Former Justice Minister welcomes Cooke Report 'on all matters'
I welcome the publication of the Cooke Report and the detailed consideration given by retired High Court Judge John Cooke into reports of unlawful surveillance of the offices of GSOC.
As should be the case with any such inquiry, it was of particular importance that Judge Cooke took the time he required to properly conduct his review in accordance with his terms of reference, that he fully engaged with GSOC and also applied fair procedures in the conduct of his inquiry. It is clear from the content of the report that he did so.
It is also noteworthy that Judge Cooke fully engaged with GSOC and their legal representatives; agreed with them appropriate arrangements for reading all documentation of relevance to the alleged unlawful surveillance; raised questions and considered all responses and submissions received from GSOC and Verrimus, the security firm employed by them; conducted his own independent enquiries with regard to important technical matters; and also held a meeting with GSOC and their legal representatives to give them an opportunity to comment on conclusions to be expressed in the report.
His so dealing with matters was clearly in the public interest and ensured, insofar as is possible, that all information of relevance was available to him with regard to conclusions reached and recommendations made.
I previously addressed these matters in detail as Minister for Justice in Dail Eireann on both 11 and 18 February and before the Joint Oireachtas Petitions Committee on the 19 February.
I did so on the basis of information then available to me as received from GSOC, including their technical reports and a technical peer review of those reports commissioned by the Department of Justice.
I reported to the House GSOC’s own conclusions that “no definitive evidence of unauthorised technical or electronic surveillance was uncovered” with regard to their offices.
I also recounted that there was no identified connection between any member of An Garda Siochana and any of these matters, GSOC having in their own press release stated that “there was no evidence of Garda misconduct”.
I dealt with these matters in a straightforward, truthful and comprehensive way.
In doing so, I also detailed the statutory obligation of GSOC to inform the Minister for Justice of progress made in and the conclusions of any public interest investigation undertaken pursuant to Section 102 of the Garda Siochana Act 2005.
I welcome the conclusions of Judge Cooke on all of these matters.