Enda Kenny said a review of claims of malpractice in the force by a Garda whistleblower will assess the “investigative methods and processes” previously used to examine the allegations.
Mr Kenny said barrister Sean Guerin would give him the review of whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe’s claims by mid-April.
While the exact terms of reference were last night being finalised, Mr Kenny said Sgt McCabe would be consulted during the assessment of the dossier of 12 cases.
The review will assess how complaints about the relevant cases — some which relate to murder, abduction and assault — were handled as far back as 2008. It will not only examine the actions of gardaí and the Garda Ombudsman, but also the role and input of justice ministers since that time, including Michael McDowell, the late Brian Lenihan, Dermot Ahern and Mr Shatter, Mr Kenny said.
However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last night said none of that party’s previous justice ministers had dealt with Sgt McCabe’s claims of Garda malpractice. Fianna Fáil have claimed Mr Shatter let Sgt McCabe’s concerns about fellow gardaí “run into the sand” for over two years.
Despite his department having conducted its own review of the dossier, Mr Kenny said he was “not in a position to verify the veracity of the whistleblower’s claims” and this was the reason why he had decided on ordering the barrister-led review. If a full statutory inquiry was recommended under the Commission of Inquiries Act 2004, one would go ahead, Mr Kenny said. The review will then be published. This review is separate from the Cooke review examining the alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman.
Mr Guerin will “examine and assess all relevant papers and recommend what further action might be taken”. Mr Kenny added: “Mr Guerin, who is an experienced criminal lawyer, will assess the investigative methods that were carried out on the papers that are available to him. I expect that everybody will co-operate with this, including the Garda, the DPP where relevant, GSOC, the confidential recipient and the Department of Justice and Equality.”
Mr Shatter is expected to outline specific details about the review of the whistleblower’s claims later today.
A Government spokesman last night could not confirm if witnesses could be interviewed as part of the probe.
It also remains unclear if former ministers will be asked questions.
He said Mr Kenny, Mr Shatter and the Attorney General were deciding the terms and conditions.
The spokesman could not say if the review would include the issue of whether Sgt McCabe had or had not refused to co-operate with a Garda penalty points inquiry, as claimed in the Dáil by Mr Shatter.
While a full inquiry is not being ruled out, similar “scoping” exercises for inquiries have been used by governments in the past including for the Morris Tribunal which looked at Garda corruption in Donegal.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved