Garda misconduct ‘unlikely’ to be confined to one district

Rabbitte describes Guerin report as ‘shocking litany of serious allegations’

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said the Morris Tribunal into allegations of Garda misconduct in Donegal had failed to bring about change in the force. Photograph Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said the Morris Tribunal into allegations of Garda misconduct in Donegal had failed to bring about change in the force. Photograph Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte has said it is “unlikely” the examples of Garda misconduct revealed in the Guerin report is confined to one Garda district.

Mr Rabbitte described Seán Guerin SC’s report into wrongdoing in the force in the Cavan-Monaghan area as “extraordinary”.

“It is a shocking litany of serious allegations where the safety of Irish citizens was put at risk,” he said.

“The proposition that it is restricted, this kind of misconduct and misbehaviour - inadequate investigation, vulnerability of citizens - that it is confined to Cavan-Monaghan I think is unlikely,” he said.

Mr Rabbitte said the “horrors that were exposed in Donegal” by the Morris Tribunal had failed to bring about a much-needed cultural change in the force.

When asked on RTÉ Radio this morning if he supported the view of Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar that the justice system was unfit for purpose, Mr Rabbitte declined to comment, saying to do so “would be unfair to the new Minister for Justice [Frances Fitzgerald] who is still reading herself in”.

“If she thinks I do have any advice of merit, any advice I will give her in private,” he added.

Mr Varadkar said yesterday that the justice system had accepted Garda assurances without question when serious allegations were made about wrongdoing in the force, which was unacceptable.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has committed the Government to a “root-and-branch analysis” of the practice of the administration of justice in the country and has also promised a full review of the operations of the Department of Justice.

The Guerin report investigated a dossier compiled by Sgt Maurice McCabe that made serious allegations of Garda shortcomings and malpractice in 10 cases. It also inquired into how the Garda, GSOC, the Department of Justice and the minister for justice Alan Shatter responded to the allegations.

Mr Kenny has insisted the central issue arising from the report concerned “the practice, rather than the policy” when it came to the administration of justice.

“I would welcome the contributions of all the members of the Dáil because this is not just about politics”.

The new Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last week declined to express confidence in the secretary general of her department, Brian Purcell.

“In relation to the secretary general, I have just been appointed to the department. I have just received this report so I will be having further discussions with him in relation to the content of the report,” she said.

The most serious finding in relation to the minister and his department was that it “accepted without question” Garda commissioner Martin Callinan’s response to the allegations made by Sgt McCabe.

“In effect the process of determining Sergeant McCabe’s complaints went no further than the Minister receiving and acting upon the advice of a person who was the subject of a complaint [the commissioner],” the report said.

Mr Guerin, in his report, concludes there is a basis for a commission of investigation inquiry for each of the 10 serious allegations identified by Sgt McCabe.