Garda corruption report presented to Government

Commission of investigation examined claims that led to Alan Shatter’s resignation

A commission of investigation report that could have serious implications for both acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin has been presented to the Government.

The commission was established to look into the claims of Garda corruption that effectively led to the resignation of former minister for justice Alan Shatter and the early retirement of former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

The O’Higgins commission of investigation was established in February 2015 to examine the claims made by Sgt Maurice McCabe about corruption and malpractice in the Cavan-Monaghan division of An Garda Síochana.

The commission report was formally handed in to the Department of Justice on Monday evening.


Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said in a statement that she was examining the report and consulting with the Attorney General with a view to arranging for publication as soon as possible, in accordance with the provisions of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “I wish to express my gratitude to Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins and his team for the promptness with which the commission concluded its challenging work.”

The commission arose from the May 2014 report by Seán Guerin SC for Taoiseach Enda Kenny concerning the allegations made by Sgt McCabe.

The 2014 report followed a storm of controversy in the Dáil after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised Sgt McCabe’s dossier of claims and said they had not been properly investigated.

The Government accepted Mr Guerin's recommendation that a commission of investigation on the allegations was in the public interest to ensure continued confidence in the institution of An Garda Síochána and the criminal justice system.

Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins was appointed the sole member of the commission and it began its work in February 2015.

In December 2015 the Government agreed to a request from the judge to grant the commission an extension to April 29th for the report.


Sgt McCabe made a series of allegations of Garda misconduct.

They included malpractice and corruption relating to the Garda computer system, Pulse, and the handling of a child abduction by Jerry McGrath, who was released on bail and later convicted of murder.

The Guerin report suggested that Mr Callinan and Mr Shatter had failed in their duties to properly investigate allegations of corruption and malpractice in the force.

The O’Higgins commission has investigated the findings made by Mr Guerin and has made definitive conclusions as to their substance.

It was also charged with coming to firm conclusions about the substance of the allegations made by Sgt McCabe.

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins

Stephen Collins is a columnist with and former political editor of The Irish Times