Five ongoing inquiries on Garda and justice matters

Final report on fixed penalty points system to be ready within days

Five ongoing inquiries into Garda and justice matters being conducted are:

Fixed penalty points system

The Garda Síochána Inspectorate is responsible for ensuring standards are maintained in the operation and administration of the police force.

It does not investigate wrongdoing or individuals, but rather looks at operations and whether or not they accord with best practice.


In July last year it began a review of the operation of the fixed charge processing system by the Garda.

The investigation took into account the recommendations listed by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney in his investigation into alleged irregularities in the system.

Last week the inspectorate sent a draft report of its findings to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

The final report will be ready within days. It is then the Minister's prerogative to decide whether it will be published.

Sylvia Roche Kelly case

Sylvia Roche Kelly was murdered by Gerry McGrath in Limerick in December, 2007. It subsequently emerged that he had been released twice that year by gardaí following serious incidents.

One was the abduction of a five-year-old girl in Co Tipperary. The other was a serious assault on a female taxi driver in Co Cavan the previous April.

In 2010 the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigated the handling of this case by An Garda Síochána.

However, following a new complaint lodged by Mary Kelly, the taxi driver who was assaulted, the GSOC is understood to have launched a new investigation into Garda handling of McGrath.

Judge John Cooke inquiry

Earlier this month the Government announced it was appointing retired High Court judge John Cooke to investigate the potential security breaches identified by the GSOC in its offices in Dublin and whether or not they pointed to an attempt at covert surveillance.

The terms of reference charge him with setting out a chronology and sequence of events, and reaching conclusions in terms of the three “anomalies” that were identified.

While the inquiry has no power to compel witnesses, Judge Cooke may request bodies or individuals to give oral evidence. He has eight weeks within which to complete the report.

Seán Guerin inquiry

The Government yesterday announced that it would be asking Seán Guerin, a barrister with extensive experience in criminal law, to assess a dossier that was handed to the
Taoiseach by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last week.

The dossier comprised “10 sample cases” compiled by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, which alleged negligence, incompetence and malpractice on the part of gardaí in a number of serious cases.

Mr Kenny said yesterday that Mr Guerin would be asked to report back to him before the Easter recess and that the report would be published.

The terms of reference have not been published but they are unlikely to include powers to compel witnesses.

Some Government figures said yesterday that the Seán Guerin inquiry might be a prelude to a commission of investigation.

Department of Justice review

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has ordered a review of all the dealings between his department and Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe. They are believed to date back to early 2010, and the correspondence has been extensive. An integral part of the review will be documentation relating to Mr Shatter's assertion in the Dáil last October that Sgt McCabe failed to co-operate with an internal Garda inquiry into the fixed penalty points system.

Mr Shatter is expected to disclose details of the review this morning when he makes a statement to the Dáil.