Justice department review for publication

A review into the running of the Department of Justice and how its officials handled allegations of garda misconduct is expected to be published in the coming days.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald received the report two weeks ago and, because of its “comprehensive nature and scope”, is still studying its findings, according to a spokesperson.

The review was initiated in early June on foot of the Guerin report into Garda malpractice claims by whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

That report, by barrister, Sean Guerin, contained strong criticism of how the department handled the allegations, and its publication prompted the resignation of Ms Fitzgerald’s predecessor, Alan Shatter.

Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman, Niall Collins, said last night that the review of the department should be published in the public interest “because people want the truth surrounding the events running up to the resignation of the former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan”.

Mr Callinan resigned in March, the morning after the secretary general of the department, Brian Purcell, was dispatched to his home by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who has denied sacking him.

The nature of his departure is not specifically mentioned in the terms of reference of the review, currently still being studied by Ms Fitzgerald, which was charged with examining “the department’s performance in discharging its responsibilities.”

The review group, chaired by the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority, Kevin Toland, was also tasked with examining the “roles, responsibilities and capabilities of the department, including concerns in respect of the governance and oversight of external organisations identified particularly in the report of Mr Sean Guerin”.

Since taking over the portfolio in May, Ms Fitzgerald has repeatedly failed to express confidence in Mr Purcell, saying she would await the outcome of a the review.

The minister of state for European affairs, Dara Murphy, said that the report will be discussed in the Dáil in September.

Asked why it was not published before the Dáil broke for the summer, he said it was “entirely appropriate” that Ms Fitzgerald would “first of all read it, that she would assess what response she would make to the findings or the recommendations contained in it”.

He said: “When the Dáil debates this issue, the minister will properly and rightly be expected to stand up before everybody in parliament and answer questions about the findings. It’s a bit silly to suggest that she is somehow suppressing a report that she commissioned herself.”


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