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Dáil agenda thrown into dissarray after row over plan to withdraw report that led to Shatter resignation

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Alan Shatter. Pic Steve Humphreys

Alan Shatter. Pic Steve Humphreys

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl,Picture: Maxwells

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl,Picture: Maxwells

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Alan Shatter. Pic Steve Humphreys

TOMORROW'S Dáil agenda has been thrown into disarray following a row over the government's bid to withdraw a controversial report that led to Alan Shatter's resignation as justice minister from the Oireachtas record.

The motion to withdraw the report by barrister Sean Guerin into garda misconduct allegations by the whistleblower Maurice McCabe was listed to take place without debate tomorrow on foot of a Supreme Court judgment last year.

The tabling of the motion by the Government follows discussions between the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ceann Comhairle Sean O Fearghail, who agree the report should be removed from the Houses of the Oireachtas library in light of the court judgment.

However, TDs from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, Labour and others raised concern that this was due to take place this week.

Some, including Fianna Fáil argued that it should be deferred to a later date.

Labour TD Brendan Howlin said there was surprise that the motion was on the order paper and suggested it would be "useful to have a more considered period until the report is withdrawn".

He added: "one lawyer suggested you can no more un-lay a report than a hen can un-lay an egg."

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said the proposed motion can do this.

He said there is legal advice to say that this device is legitimate and it is “safe to proceed”.

Fine Gael TDs including justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the motion should go ahead.

Peter Burke, said it is "important we do not deny natural justice to any former member."

A vote was taken on tomorrow's business and the scheduled was scrapped by TDs.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said it was a "very poor reflection on our parliamentary process and the business committee needs to have a look at itself."

Mr Ó Fearghaíl said the business committee will meet later today to consider tomorrow's schedule.

Responding to events in the Dáil on Wednesday in a statement to Independent.ie, Mr Shatter said: “It is disappointing a majority of those attending the Dáil today opposed taking the motion tabled by government to withdraw the fundamentally flawed Guerin Report from the Dáil record and the Oireachtas library."

Mr Shatter claimed that some of those who spoke against the motion made false allegations about his conduct as justice minister in 2014 and that these allegations were later found to be false.

He added: “It is also noteworthy that Sinn Fein led the opposition as over the last six years I have regularly been targeted and trolled on social media by Sinn Fein supporters some of whom have engaged in anti-Semitic invective.

“They all have a vested interest in maintaining on the Dáil record a narrative indisputably proved false derived from the fundamentally flawed Guerin inquiry which the Supreme Court in 2019 held improperly reached conclusions.

“Their contempt for the truth, democratic values, the rule of law and constitutional rights is sadly consistent with what I experienced in 2014. Clearly nothing has changed.”

Online Editors