Kenny accused of saying Shatter admitted ‘inadequacy’ on claims

Ex-minister writes to Taoiseach urging correction of Dáil record over Guerin report

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Thursday asking that he correct the Dáil record over the Guerin report into Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s allegations. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Former minister for justice Alan Shatter wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Thursday asking that he correct the Dáil record over the Guerin report into Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s allegations. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Former minister for Justice Alan Shatter has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of mistakenly telling the Dáil Mr Shatter took responsibility for reacting inadequately to allegations of Garda malpractice raised by whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Mr Shatter wrote to Mr Kenny today, again asking Mr Kenny to correct the Dáil record over the Guerin report into Sgt McCabe’s allegations. He also asked for the Guerin report to be withdrawn in its current form.

The report by Sean Guerin SC was essentially a scoping exercise and led to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, whose report on Sgt McCabe’s allegations was published this week.

Acted professionally

The Guerin report said Mr Shatter did not heed Sgt McCabe’s allegations, while the O’Higgins report said Mr Shatter acted professionally at all times.

Mr Shatter has claimed Mr Kenny “encouraged” him to resign in the wake of the Guerin report, and has said the Taoiseach told him he would not be able to express confidence in him if he did not do so.

Mr Kenny has said he cannot comment on the Guerin report, citing legal concerns. Mr Shatter lost a High Court attempt to have some of the report quashed but he is pursuing the matter in the Court of Appeal, with a hearing expected next month.

Mr Shatter has released the letter he sent to Mr Kenny. In it, he takes issue with statements made by the Taoiseach on the day Mr Shatter resigned two years ago.

“On the day of my resignation, the 7th May 2014, you mistakenly informed the Dáil that when resigning, I ‘took responsibility’ for the ‘inadequacy of the action’ taken by me ‘in responding to the allegations made by Sgt McCabe’ as depicted in the Guerin report.

“No such acceptance of ‘responsibility’ was either expressed by me or contained in my letter of resignation, and it is clear, as a consequence of the O’Higgins report, that there is no question of the action taken by me being inadequate.

“On this, I believe that it is reasonable that the Dáil record should also be corrected, and I am asking you to do so.”

He also claimed the findings of the Guerin and O’Higgins reports totally contradicted each other.

Mr Shatter, who lost his Dáil seat in Dublin South in this year’s general election, said he was “surprised” neither Mr Kenny nor Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald acknowledged this.

‘Serious issue’

“On such a serious issue affecting a former colleague in government, I expected this would be acknowledged.”

He also claimed he outlined his concerns over the manner in which Mr Guerin was carrying out his work to Mr Kenny.

“Opinions expressed and conclusions reached by Sean Guerin SC not only caused my resignation from Cabinet but also had an enormously damaging effect on my good name and reputation, both as a politician and as a lawyer.”

It was initially expected Sgt McCabe would release a substantive statement in response to the O’Higgins report. It is understood, however, this will not happen.

Tonight, Mr Kenny’s spokesman responded: “The Taoiseach’s office has received correspondence from former minister Alan Shatter and the Taoiseach will respond in due course.”

A government source said Mr Shatter himself had “essentially” said in 2014 his “continuation in office would prevent the government from doing its business”.

“Secondly the minister made strenuous efforts to actually have himself excluded from the terms of reference of the O’Higgins investigation in the first place, including corresponding with the Taoiseach’s office through legal representation in an attempt to do so.

“Alan makes no mention of that now. The Taoiseach stated yesterday he was pleased that the former minister was seen by O’Higgins to have acted appropriately in relation to the McCabe allegations. This remains the case.”