Redacted version of report that led to Alan Shatter resignation, placed in Oireachtas library

Taoiseach tells Dáil paragraphs removed following 2019 Supreme Court judgment

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the paragraphs removed were conclusions in relation to Alan  Shatter which the Supreme Court ruled were outside the scope of Mr Guerin’s terms of reference.  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the paragraphs removed were conclusions in relation to Alan Shatter which the Supreme Court ruled were outside the scope of Mr Guerin’s terms of reference. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A redacted version of the controversial report that led to the resignation of then minister for justice Alan Shatter in 2014, has been placed in the Oireachtas library.

It replaces the original version of the review by senior counsel Sean Guerin which criticised Mr Shatter’s handling of allegations by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe into Garda misconduct.

In a statement to the Dáil Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the paragraphs removed were conclusions in relation to Mr Shatter which the Supreme Court ruled were outside the scope of Mr Guerin’s terms of reference.

The Taoiseach said that Mr Shatter had made clear in resigning that “Mr Guerin had not asked to interview him as he would have expected, if his intention was to reach conclusions about Mr Shatter’s approach with regard to issues raised by Sgt McCabe”.

Mr Martin also said that the Court “emphasised that it was far from being critical of Mr Guerin’s conduct in carrying out the review in the prevailing circumstances”.

But he said it was important that the Supreme Court’s decision was “properly reflected in terms of the information placed before the House”.

The Taoiseach told former Labour leader Brendan Howlin who asked if Mr Shatter had been notified, that there had been ongoing correspondence with Mr Shatter on the issue “and this is the culmination of that correspondence”.

An attempt was made in the Dáil in May to remove the report in light of the Supreme Court judgment last year, which upheld earlier judgments that Mr Shatter had handled the allegations correctly.

But Sinn Féin, backed by other opposition parties said it was unprecedented to remove a report in this manner, and the matter was put back for further discussion.

Outlining the history of the case in the Dáil Mr Martin said then taoiseach Enda Kenny appointed Mr Guerin to conduct a review of the Garda’s handling of Sgt McCabe’s allegations.

Mr Guerin provided his report in May 2014 and following a meeting with the taoiseach Mr Shatter resigned from government.

“Mr Shatter has made clear that in resigning he pointed out that Mr Guerin had not asked to interview him as he would have expected, if his intention was to reach conclusions about Mr Shatter’s approach with regard to issues raised by Sgt McCabe.

“Mr Shatter commenced proceedings for judicial review of the report. In February 2019 the Supreme Court found that the conclusions regarding Mr Shatter in the Guerin report were outside the scope of the terms of reference of the review and were arrived at without an invitation to Mr Shatter to express his views.”

The Taoiseach said the Court “granted a declaration that the conclusions in the report in respect of Mr Shatter were outside the scope of Mr Guerin’s terms of reference.

“The court also emphasised that it was far from being critical of Mr Guerin’s conduct in carrying out the review in the prevailing circumstances.

“In my view it is important that the decision of the Supreme Court is properly reflected in terms of the information placed before the House.

“Therefore as a matter of propriety and fairness I recently placed a redacted version of the report in the Oireachtas library with those paragraphs which the Supreme Court found were out of scope of the review removed from the text.”

Mr Martin said the “revised report is accompanied by the full texts of the Supreme Court’s judgments in order to contextualise the matter”.