Friday 24 January 2020

Whistleblower's claims against Shatter dismissed

Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Alan Shatter. Photo: Frank McGrath
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Claims that former Justice Minister Alan Shatter was "out to get" garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe have been dismissed by a commission of investigation.

Former garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly was alleged to have been recorded telling Sgt McCabe he would be targeted by Mr Shatter if he tried to "screw" him with his allegations of misconduct in the force.

A transcript of a recording of Mr Connolly, which was read into the Dáil record by Independent TD Mick Wallace, was central to Sgt McCabe's claim that his allegations were not properly investigated by the Department of Justice.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also used the transcript to demand an investigation into the Government's handling of the garda whistleblower's claims.

However, Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins' report is understood to have found "inappropriate and unpleasant" opinions were wrongly attributed to Mr Shatter by Mr Connolly.

The commission reported that Mr Shatter "adamantly repudiated" the claims and his denial was unchallenged and subsequently accepted by Mr Justice O'Higgins.

Yesterday, Mr Shatter put pressure on the current Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to publish the O'Higgins report.

Ms Fitzgerald issued a statement saying she was waiting for the advice of the Attorney General before publishing.

The commission of investigation focused on allegations of garda misconduct in the Cavan/Monaghan district alleged by Sgt McCabe.

Sources with knowledge of the report said Sgt McCabe is found to be a man of integrity who raised concerns about alleged garda malpractice in the public interest.

Mr Justice O'Higgins also noted the garda's decision to come forward with his allegations was courageous and came with a considerable personal cost. However, the judge also found some of the details of the allegations against senior gardaí were exaggerated.

Irish Independent

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