Alan Shatter: ‘the only way controversy can be avoided is by offering my resignation’

Resignation letter sent to ‘extraordinary Taoiseach’ Enda Kenny by Minister for Justice

Mr Kenny said Mr Shatter stepped down as a result of the inquiry by Séan Guerin SC into allegations of Garda malpractice. The Taoiseach said his replacement will be announced either today or tomorrow morning.

Wed, May 7, 2014, 18:36

Below is the text of the letter of resignation sent by Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny today.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD,
Department of An Taoiseach

7th May 2014

Dear Enda,

Thank you for furnishing to me this morning a copy of the report received from Sean Guerin SC on a “Review of the actions taken by An Garda Siochana pertaining to certain allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe”. As you know, the Report runs to over 300 pages and I have neither had the time to fully read or fully consider the contents of the Report. I have, however, fully read Chapters 1, 19 and 20 of the Report and a copy of the letter accompanying it of the 6th May 2014 by Sean Guerin SC.

I note that Mr Guerin states that “it is beyond the scope” of the Review “to make any determination of the complaints Sergeant McCabe has made”. However, having regard to all of the controversy surrounding allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe and the seriousness of the various issues raised by him, I agree with Sean Guerin’s conclusion (his having examined the Garda files and accessed information not furnished to me) that it is appropriate that these matters be the subject of a statutory inquiry.

I would, however, be less than honest if I did not also record my concerns and reservations with regard to his Report and, in particular, certain conclusions reached by him. I was surprised to learn that he received no documentation from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and, as he states in his letter, that “the process of drafting the final report was well underway” when he learnt of “difficulties” being expressed by GSOC with regard to the furnishing of documentation to him. Complaints made to GSOC and GSOC’s dealings with those complaints and the statutory role of GSOC were all, amongst other matters, of relevance to the consideration given by me to issues raised by Sergeant McCabe. Under the Terms of Reference furnished to Mr Guerin, he was requested to conclude his review within 8 weeks of 27 Feb 2014 “or as soon as may be thereafter”. In his letter, he notes that GSOC was willing to release what is described as its “voluminous” documentation subject to certain safeguards which he stated to be “not unreasonable”. I would have expected that, prior to finalising his report, he would have agreed reasonable safeguards with GSOC and obtained and considered documentation held by it with regard to the matters under review prior to formulating his conclusions. Moreover, I note that, under the Terms of Reference, Mr Guerin was authorised to “interview Sergeant Maurice McCabe and any other such person as may be considered necessary and capable of providing relevant and material assistance”.

At no time did he ask to interview me and I would have expected, if it was his intention to reach a conclusion or form an opinion with regard to my approach or the extent of my concern with regard to the issues raised by Sergeant McCabe, that he would have done so.