Sunday 25 September 2016

Barrister Guerin pursued State over unpaid fees of €126,300

Published 23/05/2016 | 02:30

Barrister Seán Guerin SC was paid €126,300 for the report Photo: Mark Condren
Barrister Seán Guerin SC was paid €126,300 for the report Photo: Mark Condren

Barrister Seán Guerin contacted the Government to express concern over the length of time it had taken for him to be paid over €126,000 for his controversial report into allegations of garda malpractice by Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

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Mr Guerin sent a letter to the country's most senior civil servant, Martin Fraser, which stated that he had yet to be paid, more than eight months after the completion of the report.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that the taxpayer footed a bill of €126,300 for the report, the findings of which led to the resignation of the Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

The documents also detail how Mr Guerin queried the length of time it had taken for him to be paid by the State since the completion of the report last May.

"It is now more than eight months later and almost two years since my appointment. My fees remain outstanding, as does payment of the third-party expenses incurred," Mr Guerin wrote in the later, dated February 22, 2016.

"In the circumstances, I would be obliged if you would confirm that arrangements are now being made to effect payment in early course," he added.

On March 8, Assistant Secretary to the Government Philip Hamell responded to say that payment was being arranged.

The Guerin Report found that An Garda Síochána and Mr Shatter had failed in their duties to properly investigate claims of malpractice contained in a dossier compiled by Sgt Maurice McCabe.

The subsequent O'Higgins Commission, however, found that Mr Shatter had taken the garda whistleblower's allegations very seriously.

Mr Shatter has since called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to remove the Guerin Report from circulation and to ensure that the Dáil record is corrected. He is also taking a legal case in a bid to overturn the findings.

"I don't think you can leave two contradictory reports in circulation, I think it's right that the Guerin Report is withdrawn, that the errors in it are removed from it and that the Dáil recorded is corrected," Mr Shatter said earlier this month.

But speaking to the Irish Independent, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the O'Higgins Commission endorsed findings from the Guerin Report in relation to a number of cases in the Cavan/Monaghan district.

"Despite what the early selective briefing suggested, it actually vindicates the Guerin Report's assessment of these individual cases, as some of them reveal very serious deficiencies, to put it mildly, in terms of the investigation process."

Irish Independent

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