Saturday 16 December 2017

Important task of garda reform must now pass to another

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

James Downey

Politicians' expressions of regret for others' misfortunes are often, shall we say, formal. Not so with Enda Kenny's regret for the resignation of Alan Shatter. Since he formed the Fine Gael-Labour coalition three years ago, the Taoiseach has seen his Justice Minister as one of the chief mainstays of the Government. He admires Mr Shatter for his intelligence and his combativeness – which many see as arrogance. But yesterday he had no choice but to admit that Mr Shatter could no longer stay in office.

And if he is wise he will admit, if only to himself, that the resignation was belated. The alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman Commission's offices in February brought to crisis point a conglomeration of scandals which have inflicted enormous damage on the enviable reputation of the Garda Siochana and forced the departure of Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Mr Kenny should have seen the writing on the wall before the inquiry by Sean Guerin SC was set up to probe the handling of allegations by the garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe (pictured below). Mr Guerin has reported with admirable speed. His report will be published tomorrow. The Taoiseach gave an outline in the Dail yesterday.

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