Friday 19 January 2018

Taoiseach apologises to Maurice McCabe

Meanwhile, Brian Purcell is to answer questions in front of justice committee

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Brian Purcell

Philip Ryan and John Downing

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has apologised to garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe for the handling of his allegations of garda misconduct.

Mr Kenny said he had “no problem apologising” to Sgt McCabe for the length of time it took for his concerns to be addressed.

Barrister Sean Guerin last week published the outcome of his investigation into Sgt McCabe’s allegations of misconduct in the force.

Sgt McCabe said the report “vindicated” him after he first raised concerns about how serious crimes were investigated six years ago.

The report was highly critical of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s handling of Sgt McCabe’s complaints.

Mr Kenny told the Dail he ordered an “expert review” of the how Department of Justice is managed following the shock resignation of Mr Shatter last week.

Mr Kenny expects this investigation to have a “very short timeline”.

The Garda Inspectorate will also launch an inquiry into serious crime investigations carried out by gardai following the damning findings of the Guerin report.

Mr Kenny said the Cabinet would bring forward legislation which will strengthen the powers of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

An independent Garda authority will be up established by the end of the year and a new Garda Commissioner will be recruited through an open competition.

The Taoiseach also formerly announced a Commission of Investigation into Sgt McCabe’s claims of serious negligence among gardai working in the Cavan/Monaghan Division.

Meanwhile, justice Department secretary general Brian Purcell has agreed to attend a committee of TDs and senators to answer their questions.

Officials at Leinster House today said Mr Purcell had accepted the Oireachtas Justice Committee's invitation and they were now working on agreeing a precise date or time within the next few days.

The TDs and Senators on the committee had invited the secretary general this Thursday.

He is the most senior official at the Justice Department which was heavily criticised by the Guerin report for its handling of complaints by Sgt McCabe.

The new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has already pointedly avoided publicly expressing confidence in Mr Purcell.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has said that the Justice Department was "not fit for purpose".

Mr Purcell was a central figure in events leading up to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan standing down from his post on March 25 last.  

He has never spoken about these events or about the following resignation of the Justice Minsiter Alan Shatter last week.

The Justice Committee chairman David Stanton welcomed the decision to attend.

"We expect Mr Purcell will appear in the next few days. I am pleased that it is clear that he has no problem at all accepting our invitation," Mr Stanton told the Irish Independent.

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