Department of Justice chief to be quizzed on Garda misconduct claims

Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell faces being quizzed by TDs this week over the mishandling of claims of misconduct against gardaí and the controversial resignation of the Garda commissioner.

Department of Justice chief to be quizzed  on Garda misconduct claims

His invitation to appear before an Oireachtas committee comes as the Cabinet today discusses plans for a full inquiry after last week’s publication of the damning Guerin Report on claims against gardaí.

New claims against gardaí continue to be submitted to TDs and the Cabinet will discuss how a commission of investigation into claims by Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe will proceed.

Newly appointed Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will bring a formal memo to Cabinet today requesting permission to proceed with the inquiry as recommended by the Guerin report.

Government sources last night said full agreement on terms for the inquiry were unlikely to be agreed today.

It remains unclear if the remit of the inquiry will be also widened to include allegations in other garda districts beyond Cavan/Monaghan to which many of Sgt McCabe’s claims pertain.

Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan yesterday claimed that he and other Independent TDs were acting as a “default” Garda ombudsman after receiving a raft of fresh allegations including dozens of affidavits against gardaí.

These include serious claims against gardaí in Limerick, Cork, Dublin, as well as Offaly, the Irish Examiner has learnt, involving allegations of a criminal nature, wrongdoing and assault.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte yesterday said it was unlikely that Garda misconduct identified in the Guerin report would be confined to one district.

No time has been set aside in the Dáil schedule this week for debate about the Guerin report, despite requests from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, but this may change after talks between the parties today.

However, the Oireachtas Justice Committee will hear from campaign and human rights groups tomorrow, as well as Garda representative and justice bodies about reforms in governing gardaí.

Committee chairman David Stanton also confirmed that Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell had been invited to appear on Thursday morning.

The Cork East TD confirmed a letter was sent to Mr Purcell last Friday asking him to discuss the Guerin Report, events leading up to the recent departure of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, as well as the administration of documents in his department.

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