Shatter on O'Higgins report: "I have had to live with public opprobrium and abuse for over two years"

Former justice minister calls for Dáil record to be corrected in wake of findings

Shatter on O'Higgins report: "I have had to live with public opprobrium and abuse for over two years"

File photo: RollingNews.ie

Former justice minister Alan Shatter has called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to correct the Dáil record following the release of the O’Higgins report.

The report into claims of garda malpractice and corruption in the Cavan-Monaghan division found Mr Shatter had taken the allegations of whistleblower Maurice McCabe “very seriously”.

A commission led by former High Court judge Kevin O’Higgins concluded that Mr McCabe had “acted out of genuine and legitimate concerns” but that many of his allegations were either unfounded or overstated.

Mr Shatter said this afternoon that the report had “unequivocally established” that he “dealt properly and truthfully” with concerns that gave rise to controversy in the spring of 2014, leading to his resignation as minister.

The former Fine Gael TD said three different independent retired judges have now dismissed serious charges made against him both inside and outside the Dáil.

In a statement, he said: “For over two years, I have had to live with the public opprobrium, criticism and abuse they generated.  I hope that with the publication of the O’Higgins report, I can now move on to a new chapter.

"It is clear from the O’Higgins report that the garda failings identified in it occurred well before my appointment as Minister for Justice, at a time when Micheál Martin was in government.  

"It is now for Micheál Martin to explain why, in February 2014, he chose to ignore that all of the matters detailed in Sgt McCabe’s letter of January 23rd, 2012 ... and why he chose, together with his Fianna Fáil colleagues, to accuse me of ‘undermining the administration of Justice in the State’ and to target me with a torrent of false allegations about my conduct as Minister for Justice.  

“The truth has now been irrefutably established. Now that we are in the era of ‘new politics’, I hope that Micheál Martin and all of my accusers, then in opposition, will now reflect on how they dealt with these matters and withdraw on the Dáil record the false allegations they made.”

Guerin report discredited

Mr Shatter said the government should now also correct the conclusions of the Guerin report, which criticised his response to Mr McCabe’s complaints, and withdraw the document from circulation.

“If the government, as it must, accepts the O’Higgins Commission findings in full, the Taoiseach now has a duty to correct the Dáil record,” he said.

However, Mr Kenny declined to comment this evening on whether he could meet the request.

"I am glad that the report confirms the minister did his work well," he told reporters. 

"There's a case before the Court of Appeals at the moment which doesn't allow me to comment on the Guerin report." 

The full report can be read here.