Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he fully endorses Judge Peter Charleton’s description of Sgt Maurice McCabe in his third interim report.
Mr Flanagan said he thanked Judge Charleton for “carrying out a very thorough investigation of the very serious matters covered by the tribunal’s terms of reference”.
He said the tribunal’s investigation goes to the heart of how An Garda Síochána handles allegations of wrongdoing within the force. It is imperative that the public, whom the Gardaí serve, has confidence in An Garda Síochána and that any suspicion of wrongdoing is properly and fully investigated, he said.
“I want to highlight one important point made by Mr Justice Charleton in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe where he states that, in bringing to attention the serious state of lack of application to duty and failure to follow basic and fundamental procedures, that Sgt McCabe has done the State considerable service. His actions arose out of a legitimate drive to ensure that An Garda Síochána serves the people through hard work and diligence. Not only do I accept that description of Sgt McCabe but I fully endorse it,” said Mr Flanagan.
Now that Judge Charleton has delivered his lengthy report, Mr Flanagan said it requires, and deserves, careful study. The minister said it is worth pointing out that Mr Justice Charleton says in his report that it is important to read it in its entirety to appreciate the sense of its overall findings.
“I and my officials will examine the report to see what actions are required in the light of its contents and conclusions. I expect others to do likewise. We all have a responsibility to respond appropriately to the findings of the tribunal,” he added.
The expert Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland has just completed a root and branch analysis of policing. The implementation of its report will be fundamental to the transformation of An Garda Síochána, said the minister.
The tribunal was set up by instrument under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, as amended, by the Minister for Justice and Equality on February 17, 2017, following resolutions of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann on the previous day.
The tribunal was tasked with urgently inquiring into a series of controversies which all pivot on how the top officers in our national police force react when issues are aired as to the organisation’s performance.