Alan Shatter attacks Fianna Fáil over Garda allegations

Minister denies misleading Dáil over claims

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 13:45

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has “entirely rejected” allegations by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin of “undermining the administration of justice”.

In a statement to the Dáil this morning, he said there was no basis for an allegation he misled the House by claiming whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe did not cooperated with an investigation into his complaints.

And he said all allegations by the whistleblower were fully investigated.

He rounded on Mr Martin and rejected all allegations about his handling of alleged Garda misconduct. Mr Shatter insisted that none of the allegations the Fianna Fáil leader made were true.

“I think many of the former statesmen in his party would be appalled by the cavalier attitude he has taken to An Garda Síochána against whom he has made the most serious allegations without waiting to establish the truth or otherwise of them,” he said.

He said Mr Martin had come into the House last Thursday and his “dramatic appearance on the plinth last Wednesday, he raised these very important issues as if they were entirely new, had never arisen during his term in Government and had never been addressed previously either by the confidential recipient, An Garda Síochána by GSOC”.

In a 5,600 word, 30-minute statement to the Dáil, Mr Shatter listed details of the allegations made and the investigations that followed.

He said is was “entirely incorrect” to say that nothing had been done to deal with alleged Garda misbehaviour. And he said the procedures were “scrupulously observed”.

Mr Shatter said: “The allegations were dealt with under the procedures in place at the time and the confidential recipient, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission fulfilled their statutory roles in relation to them.”

The Minister said the Opposition maintained that a commission of inquiry was needed. He said Mr Martin and others clearly did so without knowing all the facts. He said Lorcan Roche Kelly, husband of murdered Sylvia Roche Kelly, and Sgt McCabe had each written to then Fianna Fáil minister for justice Dermot Ahern, “whom I do not hold at fault in any way”.

In reply, the Fianna Fáil leader noted that the Minister made no reference to the confidential recipient and his sacking of him.

Mr Martin said the Minister was challenged in 2011 that appointing a friend and donor might not be able to act fully and independently of the Minister. “And these fears have been fully realised, Minister.”

Mr Martin said it was not unprecedented for ministers - when presented with such serious material - to take action to hold independent inquiries.

Mr Martin highlighted the investigations including the attack on Mary Lynch, the kidnapping of a five -year-old child and the murder of Sylvia Roche Kelly.