Labour open to Garda conduct inquiry

An inquiry into Garda Síochána malpractice allegations is not being ruled out by the Labour Party amid growing impatience with Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s handling of the matter.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore are expected to hold discussions today on a dossier of cases in which it is alleged that members of the force did not properly handle investigations.

The files were given to Mr Kenny by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on Wednesday night after he received them from garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe last week.

Mr Shatter has so far not responded to claims that he was aware of the cases for the past two years.

However, a spokesperson said he has “initiated a review of all correspondence between his department and garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe. That review is ongoing.”

Mr Shatter is due to brief the Cabinet on the outcome of this review on Tuesday. However, Labour sources said last night it would be “preferable” if Mr Shatter publicly addressed the issue before then.

Asked yesterday if he would rule out an independent inquiry, Mr Kenny said he wanted the time to consider the files and “follow up on them properly, carefully, and in a considered fashion”.

Labour’s Pat Rabbitte said he would not “jump in straight away” without seeing the dossier, but he told RTÉ radio: “I don’t rule out, for example, an inquiry under the Commissions of Investigations Act, with senior counsel or someone like that appointed under that act to investigate and report.”

Mr Rabbitte, Mr Kenny, and Mr Gilmore all expressed their confidence in Mr Shatter.

“He is somebody who does a very good job,” said Mr Gilmore. “A very hard-working minister, somebody who is very thorough in the work that he does. The important issue is that we deal with the substance of the matters that have been brought before us.”

Mr Martin is maintaining his pressure for a public inquiry, which he said must take place within the framework of the 2004 Act.

“I’m very disappointed with the response we are getting from the Taoiseach and ministers,” he said. “The idea that this is going into some sort of internal review is difficult to accept as a credible response.”

Independent TD Clare Daly said Mr McCabe has been “vindicated” but is “still not in a position to do his job properly and hasn’t been apologised to and is still in a very vulnerable position”.

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