McCabe to be interviewed as part of Government review

Minister for Justice sends email to colleagues thanking them for their support

Sgt Maurice McCabe is to be interviewed as part of the investigation into his claims of malpractice within the gardaí. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Sgt Maurice McCabe is to be interviewed as part of the investigation into his claims of malpractice within the gardaí. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 01:12

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe is to be interviewed by the senior counsel appointed by the Government to investigate his claims of malpractice within the force.

The terms of reference for the review to be carried out by Seán Guerin were published by the Government last night, and Mr Guerin will also be able to interview anyone else necessary.

However, Mr Guerin will not have the power to compel people to give evidence, but Government sources said co-operation with the review is expected.

Separately, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter sent an email to his Fine Gael colleagues thanking them for their support in recent weeks as he faced political pressure over the various Garda controversies.

Following his review, Mr Guerin will also report back to Taoiseach Enda Kenny in eight weeks with his conclusions, including whether a Commission of Investigation is needed into the allegations contained in a dossier Sgt McCabe gave to Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin.

Mr Guerin will “undertake a thorough examination of the action taken by An Garda Síochána pertaining to certain allegations of grave deficiencies in the investigation and prosecution of crimes” in Cavan and elsewhere made by Sgt Maurice McCabe, the terms of reference say.

As well as the dossier, which was given to Mr Kenny by Mr Martin, Mr Guerin will also examine a letter “understood” to have been sent by former confidential recipient Oliver Connolly to Sgt McCabe.

Mr Guerin will also interview Sgt McCabe, who has taken advice from former Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, and any other relevant people, and will consider any relevant documentation provided by Sgt McCabe or anyone else.

Documents from the Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and any other entity of public body as is deemed relevant”.

Mr Guerin will also examine “what steps, if any” have been taken by the Garda Síochána or other public bodies to “investigate and resolve” the allegations made by Sgt McCabe and will review the “adequacy” of any investigations carried out.

He will also consider if “there is a sufficient basis for concern as to whether all appropriate steps were taken by An Garda Síochána or any other relevant entity or public body to investigate and address the specified complaints”.

Mr Shatter’s email of thanks, sent to TDs and senators yesterday, said: “As you are aware, difficult issues have arisen in the Justice area over the last two and a half weeks.

“This is just a brief note to thank all my Fine Gael colleagues for your support in dealing with these issues and for the contributions that many of you have made in the Dáil, in statements issued and on the broadcast media. It is very much appreciated.”

He also thanked members of the Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee “who raised important questions” when he was before the committee, and “those who spoke in the Dáil . . . and participated in what was an important debate on these issues”.

Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been told it cannot publish a transcript of a private meeting it held where Sgt McCabe discussed the penalty points controversy.

Some member of the PAC, such as chairman John McGuinness, Independent TD Shane Ross and Sinn Fein’s Mary-Lou McDonald, as well as Sgt McCabe himself, wanted the transcript published.

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