Shatter declines to be drawn on meeting garda whistleblowers

GSoc and senior counsel dealing with the issue and processes should ’take their course’

Minister for Justice  Alan Shatter

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Thu, Mar 27, 2014, 08:14

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has refused to be drawn on whether he would meet the Garda whistleblowers.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness had asked the Minister if he would consider meeting Sgt Maurice McCabe, former garda John Wilson and a female garda whistleblower who alleged sexual harassment “in order to learn from them exactly the extent of their complaints”.


Allegations
Mr Shatter said the issues were being dealt with by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and senior counsel Sean Guerin (who is reviewing the dossier of allegations by Sgt McCabe).

“I think in the circumstances we should let those processes take their course.”

He was responding during a question-and-answer session in the Dáil after a four-hour debate on the Garda Inspectorate’s report on the penalty point system.


Harassment complaint
He also told Mr McGuinness that he was unaware of any details of what occurred about the female garda’s complaint of sexual harassment, other than what the Fianna Fáil TD had said in the Dáil.

“If there is any issue of this nature that is not being followed up promptly I have no difficulty with the details being given to me and I’ll ensure it’s followed up.”

He said he could not follow the issue up without the Garda complainant agreeing to that.

Asked by Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty about the very first inquiry the GSOC made into the fixed penalty charges, Mr Shatter said he did not know why it was not published in 2009.

He said some of the recommendations “mirror” those in the Garda Inspectorate’s report and he said he would publish the report on the Department of Justice website.


No recollection
The Minister told Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins that he could not recall if he had phone conversations with the Garda commissioner between March 10th when the commissioner wrote the letter about the Garda phone tapes and March 15th when he went to Mexico for the St Patrick’s festivities.

Mr Shatter told Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty he did not think the scale of the issue was clear in November and “clearly the Attorney [General] became very concerned and alarmed” when that became apparent and she “appropriately briefed the Taoiseach”.