Government rallies around justice minister amid calls for him to resign
The Government is under pressure to investigate a dossier highlighting cases of alleged malpractice in An Garda Síochána, which was handed over to the Taoiseach yesterday.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter finds himself at the centre of two controversies — but the Government last night rallied around him amid calls for him to resign.
A spokesperson for Mr Shatter last night refused to answer whether he will apologise to garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe for telling the Dáil last October that he did not co-operate with an internal Garda inquiry on penalty point cancellations.
Mr Shatter yesterday moved to dismiss Garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly after transcripts emerged of a conversation Mr Connolly had with Mr McCabe two years ago in which he told him “if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.
The opposition called for Mr Shatter to make a statement in the Dáil, and apologise to the House for the “severe wrong” done to Mr McCabe.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said his party remains “deeply concerned with the administration of justice and the stewardship of Mr Shatter”.
Mr Martin said he has sent the Taoiseach details of 10 cases of alleged malpractice in An Garda Síochána and called for an “independent investigation”.
Cases in the dossier include:
-The murder of Silvia Roche Kelly. As previously reported in the Irish Examiner, the man who murdered Ms Roche Kelly in Limerick in December 2007 was out on bail for another serious assault months earlier and the court had not been informed. The original assault investigation involved a series of mistakes and possible subsequent cover-ups. One element of the case was investigated by GSOC which recommended disciplinary action against two officers. The Garda Commissioner declined to discipline the officers.
-Three cases of assault causing harm that were not investigated at the time. In one of the cases, the victim is understood to have suffered serious head injuries.
-False imprisonment and abduction. In this case a woman was abducted by three suspects. The extent of her plight while imprisoned is unclear. The case was not investigated despite being reported. Eventually, after a prolonged period of inaction, an attempt was made by an officer to get the victim to accept a small sum of money from the suspects in compensation.
-Falsification and erasure of official records. This relates to a case in which official Garda records were corrupted.
Although not included in the dossier, Mr McCabe had also complained about the disappearance in custody of a hard drive that had been seized from a priest who was subsequently convicted of child abuse and child pornography charges.
As previously reported in the Irish Examiner, there was no record of the hard drive in the case notes or the file sent to the DPP. There was an attempt to blame the disappearance on Mr McCabe, although he had no part in the investigation.
Ultimately, after the disciplinary process dragged on for 18 months, Mr McCabe was cleared of any wrongdoing.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved