A report by barrister Seán Guerin found that the “only action” that the minister took on foot of a complaint made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe to Oliver Connolly, the confidential recipient, was to seek a response from Martin Callinan himself.
This was in breach of Mr Shatter’s statutory duty, which is to ensure such a complaint is investigated unless he believes it is “not made in good faith or is false, frivolous, or vexatious”.
The complaint in January 2012 alleged misconduct by the commissioner for listing a superintendent for promotion who was the subject of other allegations at the time.
Mr Shatter sought the advice of Mr Callinan before writing back to the confidential recipient that “there is no evidence to support any further action by me in relation to the
In May 2012, Sgt McCabe again wrote to Mr Connolly and said Mr Shatter was being “fed false and misleading information” from Garda authorities.
He said it was “alarming” that Mr Shatter had relied completely on the word of the Garda commissioner to examine the complaint and that it was “wrong for him” to seek a report from the subject of the complaint.
Mr McCabe requested a meeting with Mr Shatter, who he said had “dented the whole whistleblowing charter resulting in no garda being able, in confidence, to make an honest complaint against the commissioner to [the] assistant commissioner”.
Mr Guerin found that: “The process of determining Sergeant McCabe’s complaints went no further than the minister receiving and acting upon the advice of the person who is subject to the complaint.
“While it would, of course, be entirely reasonable to expect that, where a complaint is made, opportunity will be given to the person, the subject of the complaint, to respond to it, it is a different matter altogether to be entirely satisfied by that response.”
Mr Guerin also said he had difficulty finding material that would show the Department of Justice “identified and understood the statutory role which the minister had to perform”.
He said: “The practice adopted when matters were brought to the department’s attention was invariably to refer the issues raised to An Garda Síochána.”
The report found that Mr McCabe first wrote to Mr Shatter outlining a range of allegations in June 2011, and called for an “independent, fair, and transparent investigation”.
He had earlier written to Mr Shatter’s predecessor, Fianna Fáil’s Dermot Ahern, warning of “malpractice and corruption in Bailieborough Garda District Cavan/Monaghan.”
He told the minister that an investigation was needed because an internal Garda inquiry was “tainted” by a chief superintendent’s comments that his allegations were “absolute rubbish”.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said yesterday that “no dossier of the kind that I received ever went to Dermot Ahern and Maurice McCabe has said that to me”.