Monday 19 February 2018

Probe into the leaking of O'Higgins report would be pointless - Tánaiste

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

An investigation into the widespread leaking of sections of the O'Higgins report ahead of its publication has been ruled out by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

The Tánaiste does not believe an inquiry into who leaked elements of the report into alleged garda malpractice would actually result in the culprits being found.

Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins submitted his final report to the Department of Justice on April 26 but for legal reasons it took until May 10 before it was publicly released.

However, in the interim, several media outlets managed to obtain sections of the report.

It is an offence to reveal details of a commission of investigation's findings before they have been officially published.

However, asked by Social Democrats TD Róisín Shortall whether there would be any probe into the leaking, Ms Fitzgerald replied: "While I regret that elements of the report were leaked to the media in advance of publication, I do not believe that an inquiry into the leaking of the O'Higgins report or parts of the report prior to its publication would be likely to identify the sources of any leaks."

She added: "Leaving aside the clear legal constraints arising in relation to the work of any commission of investigation, I believe the partial leaking of the report carries with it a real danger of undermining the work of the commission."

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan remains under pressure in the wake of the report to clarify whether her legal team was instructed to question the motivation of garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe. She is due to appear before the Policing Authority on Thursday.

Irish Independent

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