independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Opposition critical that Shatter will set terms of judicial inquiry

TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny has told the Dail that the High Court Judge's review will be bound by terms set by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

During Leaders' Questions, he said the Government's decision to establish a judicial review was done in "the interests of truth and honesty."

Opposition leaders were scathing in their criticism of the decision to have Mr Shatter decide on the terms of reference.

"The Minister for Justice has been deliberately evasive, used tactics to distract attention away from key facts. Why leave the terms of reference in his hands, Will the full report be made public," Mary Lou McDonald said.

Mr Kenny told the Dail that the inquiry will not be in line with the 2004 Oireachtas Inquiries Act, but rather will be based on the terms of reference set down by Mr Shatter in consultation with Attorney General Maire Whelan.

Mr Kenny said the inquiry will report back within eight weeks,  and will have full access to review all of the relevant papers and produce a "completely independent report."

Fianna Fáil Micheal Martin said Minster Shatter "did not level with the Dail" accusing him of "wanting to down play" the controversy last week.

Because of Mr Shatter's assertion that no bugging had taken place, Mr Martin said that GSOC Commissioner Kieran Fitzgerald had to go on television and "bury that notion".

"He should man up and apologise to the house," Mr Martin said in reference to Mr Shatter.

Mr Martin said the affair has undermined the administration of justice.  "There is something fundamentally wrong here," he told the Dail.

Mr Kenny responded sharply to such suggestions saying that if the Fianna Fáil leader had information about the mal-administration of justice,  "then it is your duty to report it to the Minister for Justice," he said.

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