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Thursday 28 August 2014

Treble trouble for Shatter

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has been under fire over his dealings with the gardai and the GSOC. Fionnan Sheahan outlines the main issues

Fionnan Sheahan

Published 02/03/2014 | 02:30

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PENALTY POINTS

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Controversy: Claims by Garda whistleblowers, Sergeant Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, that gardai wiped tens of thousands of penalty points without good reason, sometimes for prominent individuals, family members and acquaintances.

What's happened so far? The issue has been investigated to different degrees by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony, Dail Public Accounts Committee.

Findings: C&AG found income lost to the Exchequer and the Assistant Commissioner found no evidence of a culture of abusing the penalty points system, but three gardai were disciplined.

What's happening now? After eventually being asked to investigate the issue by the Government, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission is conducting an ongoing inquiry, with no deadline for completion.

GARDA WATCHDOG 'BUGGING'

Controversy: Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission fears it may have been bugged after a security sweep found three potential threats.

What's happened so far? The issue was investigated by GSOC, through a security sweep by British security firm, Verrimus; the Department of Justice through a peer review by Irish security firm, RITS.

Findings: GSOC could not determine the cause of anomalies and found no evidence of garda involvement in suspected bugging. RITS found no evidence of bugging.

What's happening now? Former High Court Judge John Cooke was appointed last week to review all the reports and correspondence relating to the suspected bugging in the next seven weeks.

GARDA MISMANAGEMENT

Controversy: Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe claims 12 cases, some involving murder, abduction, and assault, were not properly conducted or investigated. His dossier was passed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.

What's happened so far? The cases were variously investigated by the Garda Siochana, GSOC, Director of Public Prosecutions, Department of Justice, Department of Taoiseach.

Findings: Garda Siochana says cases thoroughly investigated and no evidence of corruption or malpractice had been discovered. GSOC found malpractice in one case and recommended minor disciplinary action for two gardai, but garda management ruled not enough evidence to carry out that punishment.

What's happening now? Barrister Sean Guerin SC is to review claims made within eight weeks with the possibility of a Commission of Investigation to follow. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to publish his summary report on the review conducted by his office.

Sunday Independent

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