Wednesday 11 December 2019

Report highlights 'serious failings' on ex-minister's watch

Whistleblower Garda Sgt. Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke
Whistleblower Garda Sgt. Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

SERIOUS failings by An Garda Siochana, the Department of Justice and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter have been identified in the Guerin report.

The 300-page report by Senior Counsel Sean Guerin into allegations of wrongdoing within the Garda has recommended that a full Commission of Inquiry be established.

The report concludes that Mr Shatter failed to properly perform his statutory duties in his handling of the allegations made by garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and, as a result, he tendered his resignation to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The report is not due to be published until tomorrow, but Mr Shatter resigned having read just three chapters of it.

The report concludes that there was "an inadequate investigation and analysis" of the issues raised by Mr McCabe, pictured, by various agencies.

Mr Shatter in his resignation letter said he had concerns and reservations with how Mr Guerin arrived at certain conclusions.

He said he was surprised that Mr Guerin had not received any documentation from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

Mr Shatter also expressed surprise that he himself was not interviewed by Mr Guerin.

Speaking in the Dail, Mr Kenny said: "His report is factual and straight and hard hitting. It points out the inadequacy of investigation in a range of authorities."

The brunt of the report deals with An Garda Siochana, the Department of Justice and the Minister for Justice, to a lesser extent, Mr Kenny said.

The report was sent to Mr Kenny on Tuesday night, and Mr Shatter received a copy of it yesterday morning. Mr Guerin warned Mr Kenny that publication of the report would have to take in certain legal and data protection matters and people's privacy.

Mr Kenny said the Government would respond fully to the report's recommendations next week, but committed to the establishment of another Commission of Inquiry.

He added: "The report details failings in dealing with evidence submitted by Garda McCabe. The report points out the inadequate response of the minister under his statutory function for independent investigation into these matters. It is in that respect that the minister feels it is his duty to resign."

Mr Guerin did not speak to Mr Shatter in the carrying out of his review but he did have access to documents from Mr Shatter's office and department.

Mr Shatter in his letter said that complaints to GSOC and GSOC's dealings with those complaints were of relevance.

Under the terms of reference, Mr Guerin was authorised to interview Mr McCabe and any other such person as may be considered necessary of providing relevant and material assistance.

"At no time did he ask to interview me and I would have expected, if it was his intention to reach a conclusion or form an opinion with regard to my approach or the extent of my concern with regard to the issues raised by Mr McCabe, that he would have done so," Mr Shatter said.

Mr Kenny said he accepted the resignation with regret and reluctance.

"This report came as a response to issues raised which were of grave concern," Mr Kenny said.

Irish Independent

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