Saturday 3 December 2016

Why we should care about what happened to Shatter

It was clear from the start that the Guerin Report, which ruined the former minister's career, was unfair

Published 13/11/2016 | 02:30

Political colleagues: Former justice minister Alan Shatter (right) pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny outside Leinster House in March 2011 Photo: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie
Political colleagues: Former justice minister Alan Shatter (right) pictured with Taoiseach Enda Kenny outside Leinster House in March 2011 Photo: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

Something quite bizarre and unexpected happened last week that took me completely by surprise. Forget about Donald Trump: I turned out to be right. That never happens. When Senior Counsel Sean Guerin issued a government report wordily entitled A Review of the Action Taken by An Garda Siochana Pertaining to Certain Allegations Made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe in May 2014, Alan Shatter was forced to resign. Guerin criticised him to the point that Taoiseach Enda Kenny, weary of a stream of apparent scandals emerging from the Department of Justice, informed the besieged minister that the jig was up.

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In vain, Shatter appealed to the High Court that the report was unfair. Judge Seamus Noonan not only turned him down, but excoriated him for asking. All seemed lost. But last week, the Court of Appeal said Shatter was right. The Guerin Report was fundamentally unfair.

I'd said so at the time, but sure no one was listening. They were too busy cheering.

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