Taoiseach pulls Guerin report which forced the resignation of former justice minister Alan Shatter

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ordered the withdrawal of the Guerin report into the handling of Garda whistleblower allegations, which forced the resignation of former justice minister Alan Shatter in 2014, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.

Taoiseach pulls Guerin report which forced the resignation of former justice minister Alan Shatter

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has ordered the withdrawal of the Guerin report into the handling of Garda whistleblower allegations, which forced the resignation of former justice minister Alan Shatter in 2014, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.

In a major vindication of Mr Shatter, the withdrawal of the report is a major embarrassment for Mr Kenny, who all but forced the resignation of one of his most loyal supporters at the Cabinet table.

Mr Kenny, speaking at a briefing for political correspondents, said that following discussions with Attorney General Maire Whelan this morning, he instructed his officials to have the report pulled.

“I spoke to the Attorney General this morning and after consultation with her, I instructed the Secretary General of my department to take down the Guerin Report from the website of my department,” he said.

“Obviously, arising from the O'Higgins report and the decision of the Appeals Court there is no reason that it should be up on the website,” he added.

Earlier this week, Mr Shatter said he wanted certain critical findings made against him in the 2014 Guerin report to be removed and a corrected copy handed to the Taoiseach.

The former Minister for Justice was seeking a number of court orders after winning an appeal over Mr Guerin’s failure to give him a right of reply.

Earlier this month, the three-judge Court of Appeal unanimously ruled in Alan Shatter’s favour following his failed High Court challenge.

They agreed he should have been asked for his version of events before Sean Guerin concluded that he had not adequately handled allegations of Garda misconduct in the Cavan/Monaghan division.

A declaration to say his constitutional rights were breached by the defective procedure adopted has been agreed between the parties, but Mr Guerin is contesting an application for orders for the critical findings to be quashed and a corrected report handed to the Taoiseach.

His barrister told the court that the report is no longer under his control and that it is now a matter between Mr Shatter and Enda Kenny.

Paul Anthony McDermott said he cannot simply quash a few sentences and that Mr Guerin had no power to rewrite it.

A judgement on what orders should be made will be made at a later date.

Update 8pm: Alan Shatter has welcomed the removal of the Guerin report from the Taoiseach's website and has called for further action by the Taoiseach and opposition politicians.

"I welcome the fact that the Guerin Report has been removed from the Taoiseach's website. It is over two and a half years since I expressed my concern to the Taoiseach about the absence of fair procedures in the approach taken by Mr Sean Guerin in the preparation of his report. I detailed my concern on the day of my resignation, in my letter of resignation from Government, in private correspondence and discussions with the Taoiseach and ultimately, in the Dail on the 19th June 2014. Unfortunately, my concerns were entirely ignored both by government and opposition.

"High Court proceedings were taken by me not only to vindicate my good name and reputation but also to reinforce an important public interest principle which is a matter of constitutional and natural justice - it is, that no individual should be criticised or condemned upon the conclusion of an inquiry, whether statutory or non- statutory, without a fair hearing. In a constitutional democracy, this is at the very foundation of the rule of law. If it were to be devalued and rendered redundant we would be perceived internationally as a Banana Republic. It is one of the first principles of law I learnt as a young law student.

"I am already on record thanking Judge O'Higgins for the fair, careful and considered approach taken by him in the preparation of his report and, in particular, for his application of fair procedures to ascertain the truth or not of allegations made. I have also previously welcomed his findings that in addressing issues raised by Sergeant Maurice McCabe I showed "personal and active concern" and acted "appropriately "and "reasonably" and "took the obvious, prudent and sensible course". The O'Higgins Report clearly documents the complex background to controversies that occurred in the first quarter of 2014.

"The Court of Appeal in the comprehensive judgements reviewing our law delivered two weeks ago has ensured that no body or individual appointed by government in the future to conduct an inquiry, review or any similar exercise is at liberty to criticise any individual , be they politician, public official or private citizen, without affording them an opportunity to be heard. That is as it should be. It should have not been necessary to take on the entire political establishment to ensure this does not happen again. Nor should I have been made a political pariah by those in leadership positions in Fine Gael.

"It was from a journalist this evening I learnt of the Guerin Reports removal from the Taoiseach's website. While welcoming its removal, I believe such action should have been taken long ago and certainly no later than upon receipt by the Taoiseach of the O'Higgins Report. The Taoiseach has, to date, declined to acknowledge, either in the Dail Chamber or elsewhere, that Judge O'Higgins’ conclusions contradicted those of Mr Guerin. I now ask that he do so. The Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice, opposition leaders and independent Deputies welcomed the Guerin report and some welcomed his harsh criticism of me and placed it on the Dail record. I am now asking that the Dail record be corrected by them. The Guerin Report was laid by the Taoiseach before both Houses of the Oireachtas. I am asking the Taoiseach to take the steps required for it to be withdrawn.

"It is my hope that within the coming days this long drawn out and personally stressful saga will finally end. I want to again publicly thank my wife, family and close friends whose support has been invaluable over the past two and a half difficult years."

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence