Dáil report: Shatter resignation

Taoiseach did not ask Minister to step down and does not expect any other resignations

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Minister for Justice had acted with dignity and was not involved in anything underhand.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Minister for Justice had acted with dignity and was not involved in anything underhand.

Wed, May 7, 2014, 18:15

A commission of investigation will be set up in the wake of the publication of the Guerin report into allegations of Garda malpractice and the Dáil will debate the report and the terms of reference for the inquiry.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who announced the resignation of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the report recommended a comprehensive commission of investigation arising from the allegations of whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

He said Mr Shatter “feels it’s his duty to resign from his responsibilities” based on the report’s finding of an “inadequate response of the Minister under his statutory function and statutory responsibilities for independent investigation and analysis into these matters”.

The report will be published on Friday morning.

Asked by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin if it was the outcome of the report which caused Mr Shatter to resign, the Taoiseach referred to the Minister’s letter to him, in which he set out “his reasons for making decisions he has made himself”.

He said the Minister had acted with dignity and it was not a case of him being involved in anything underhand, illegal or any scams of any descriptions.

There was “inadequate investigation and analysis of the issues raised by Sgt McCabe by a variety of agencies”. He said the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission did not co-operate with senior counsel Sean Guerin in the preparation of his report and he did not interview the Minister for Justice.

Mr Shatter had read the report. “He has considered the implications of the report and in the interests of the entire situation he made up his mind and tendered his resignation, which I accepted with reluctance,” the Taoiseach said, highlighting Mr Shatter’s prodigious work ethic and output.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said however that Mr Shatter’s judgment on a whole range of policing and justice issues had undermined public confidence.

Mr Adams said the Taoiseach and Tánaiste had supported the Minister and Fine Gael and Labour had voted confidence in him. “So it wasn’t just the Minister who presided over this recent series of controversies”.

But he said Mr Shatter was “the author of a litany of mistakes. He did defame the two Garda whistleblowers. He did mislead the Dáil....He allowed false statements to stand. He corrected these only when it was politically expedient to do so and he actively sought to minimise the concerns of Gsoc that it’s offices were being bugged.

When Mr Adams asked if Mr Kenny sought Mr Shatter’s resignation and if he expected other resignations, the Taoiseach replied: “The answer to both questions is no.”

Independent TD Clare Daly told the Taoiseach the Opposition had been caught “somewhat unawares” by the announcement given the “unequivocal backing that you personally, the Tánaiste personally and everyone of your Government team has given consistently throughout every scandal that Minister Shatter has been involved in”.

This included the announcement that he was “guilty of a breach of law” in the data protection controversy over comments he made about Independent TD Mick Wallace.

“You and your Ministerial team including Minister (Leo) Varadkar, not later than this morning sought to dismiss and rubbish the findings of the Data Protection Commissioner”.