Dáil motion tabled to remove Guerin report from record

Move to withdraw report follows Supreme Court judgment vindicating Alan Shatter

The Guerin report led to the resignation of then minister for justice Alan Shatter in 2014. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

The Guerin report led to the resignation of then minister for justice Alan Shatter in 2014. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times.

 

The Oireachtas has confirmed that a motion will be taken in the Dáil on Thursday to withdraw a report on Garda misconduct allegations from the record.

The controversial report by senior counsel Seán Guerin led to the resignation of then minister for justice Alan Shatter in 2014.

However it remains unclear if the report can be formally removed until it is also considered by the Seanad.

The Government has tabled the motion just over six years since the report was published on May 9th 2014 and two days after Mr Shatter resigned, when then taoiseach Enda Kenny said he could no longer express confidence in him.

It is a highly unusual move to remove a report from the Oireachtas library but follows a Supreme Court judgment last year.

It is understood, however, that if a report is laid before the Oireachtas it requires a resolution of both Dáil and Seanad for it to be removed.

The Seanad is in abeyance until a new government is formed when the next taoiseach appoints 11 nominees, following which the Upper House can sit.

The Guerin report criticised Mr Shatter’s handling of allegations by whistleblower Garda Maurice McCabe of Garda misconduct.

Subsequently the O’Higgins Commission found the former minister had handled the allegations correctly and a Court of Appeal judgment found that the report breached Mr Shatter’s constitutional rights.

Mr Guerin appealed the decision to the Supreme Court which ruled in Mr Shatter’s favour in February of last year.

Mr Shatter, who lost his Dáil seat in 2016, later wrote a book, Frenzy and Betrayal, to give his side of the story.

The former TD declined to comment on Sunday.

The Sunday Independent reported that the tabling of the motion followed discussions between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl, who agreed the report should be removed from the Oireachtas library, given the Supreme Court judgment.

Lawyers for Mr Shatter had written to the Ceann Comhairle seeking the report’s removal from the library but the Ceann Comhairle has no rule in relation to resolutions in adding information the Dáil record to qualify any document laid before the House.