Wednesday 29 January 2020

Judge who oversaw child abuse inquiry to chair next phase of Disclosures Tribunal

Mr Justice Seán Ryan: Collins Courts
Mr Justice Seán Ryan: Collins Courts
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

THE senior judge who oversaw the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is to chair the next phase of the Disclosures Tribunal.

The government today approved the appointment of Mr Justice Seán Ryan - the author of the Ryan Report on child abuse in institutions run by religious orders – as a member of the inquiry into the treatment of Garda Whistleblowers.

The first module of the Tribunal was chaired by Supreme Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton.

Tribunal hearings that ended in June probed allegations that whistleblower sergeant Maurice McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by senior Gardaí.

Mr Charleton’s report is due to be completed in the autumn and he is to return to the Supreme Court after that.

The Cabinet approved the selection of Mr Ryan to chair the second module of the Tribunal.

That module is to consider any complaints by other Garda members who made a protected disclosure and subsequently claimed to have been targeted or discredited with the knowledge or acquiescence of senior Gardaí prior to February 16, 2017.

Mr Ryan retired as a President of the Court of Appeal in March. He had held the position since the appeal court’s establishment in 2014 and previously served as a High Court judge.

Commenting after the Cabinet meeting Justice minister Charlie Flanagan said: “I am very grateful to Mr Justice Ryan for agreeing to undertake this role.

“I believe that as a result of his vast judicial experience, he is very well qualified for this position and will ensure the continued effective running of the Tribunal.

“While Mr Justice Peter Charleton will not complete his work until the autumn, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank him for his sterling work since the establishment of the Tribunal and I look forward to his final report into these very important matters.”

The decision by ministers paves the way for resolutions to be taken in the Dáil and Seanad after the summer recess, after which Mr Flanagan plans to amend the instrument establishing the Tribunal to give effect to Mr Ryan's appointment.

Separately, Cabinet was also told that the new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is to take up his role on September 3.

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