Friday 19 January 2018

Ten reasons why Alan Shatter had to go

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Mick Wallace,Independent deputy for Wexford speaking to the media following the resignation of the Garda Commission Martin Callinan at Leinster House yesterday. pic Tom Burke 25/3/14
Clare Daly,Ind.deputy for Dublin North at Leinster House
Garda Sgt.Maurice McCabe
Garda whistleblower John Wilson at Leinster house this evening
Sophie Toscan du Plantier
New Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

1 The immediate reason why Alan Shatter was effectively sacked by the Taoiseach was the opinion in the Guerin report that there was substance in Maurice McCabe's (pictured) allegations that several serious garda criminal investigations had been mishandled. Shatter had been told about this and asked Commissioner Callinan for a report. The report was unsatisfactory and Shatter accepted it.

2 He similarly accepted Callinan's word that there was little substance in the allegations of McCabe and now former garda, John Wilson, right, about the abuse of the penalty points system and backed the Commissioner, who called them disgusting.

3 Shatter incorrectly attacked the whistleblowers for failing to co-operate with an internal garda inquiry and when he eventually had to apologise, he did so only grudgingly, saying it had been a mix-up – and not his mix-up.

4 He sacked his friend, the Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly, when Connolly would not disassociate himself from a warning he had given McCabe about getting on Shatter's wrong side.

5 Again he backed the Commissioner when Mr Callinan rubbished GSOC's suspicion that its premises might have been bugged by gardai. He commissioned a report, which, he told an Oireachtas Committee, proved there was no bugging. When he eventually disclosed the contents of that report, it did not prove anything of the kind.

6 He told the Dail that GSOC had breached its legal duty in failing to inform him of the inquiry it had launched into the suspected bugging. It had not.

7 He used gossip about Mick Wallace, pictured, that he got from the Commissioner to score a point on a TV programme, something that the Data Protection Commissioner subsequently found to be in breach of the law. He had previously claimed a Standards in Public Office Commission inquiry had cleared him on this. It had not. On his watch nothing appears to have been done to properly investigate why Clare Daly, TD, left, was handcuffed and the media tipped off that she was arrested for suspected drunk driving though she was later proved innocent. Then there was the story of his own garda checkpoint incident – he said he could not give a breath sample because of asthma.

8 During all the time he was Minister for Justice, there appears to have been no serious effort to address the way the murder inquiry of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, right, was handled. Any proper inquiry would have discovered the very serious reservations expressed by the former DPP, Eamon Barnes.

9 When the recording of telephone conversations in some garda stations – including some privileged conversations – came to light, he did not see a report from the Commissioner that came into his office, and the matter had to be handled by the Taoiseach. This culminated in the effective sacking of Martin Callinan, above, and the establishment of an inquiry.

10 During his term of office, he does not appear to have seriously addressed criticism of An Garda Siochana in the Garda Inspectorate report into penalty points, in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report, and in the report by Judge Peter Smithwick, who found a culture of loyalty to the force placed above doing the right thing. Smithwick was attacked by members of the gardai, and his report criticised by Martin Callinan. The judge was not defended by the minister.

Sunday Independent

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