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Alan Shatter to brief Cabinet colleagues on “extremely serious allegations of garda misconduct”

Ministers meet for their usual weekly discussions where Shatter is expected to brief colleagues on the details of correspondence between the Department of Justice and garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter arriving at Leinster House (File photo)
Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter arriving at Leinster House (File photo)
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Updated 9.55am

JUSTICE MINISTER ALAN Shatter is to brief his Cabinet colleagues on the details of his department’s examination of its correspondence with the garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe today.

Ministers meet for their usual weekly discussions in Government Buildings this morning where Shatter is expected to brief colleagues on the details of correspondence between the Department of Justice and McCabe in recent years.

It comes amid growing controversy about what and when Shatter knew about allegations of gardaí mishandling a number of serious cases involving murder, abduction and crime.

The details of these cases, compiled by McCabe, were given to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin last week and subsequently passed to the Taoiseach who described the files as containing “extremely serious allegations of garda misconduct”.

It’s claimed that Shatter was made aware of these allegations two years ago.

Speaking on his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said he is not taking sides in the row between McCabe and the garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

“If there’s accusations and counter accusations these are the matters that need to be fairly and objectively balanced,” he said.

Asked if a special commission of investigation will be established, Howlin did not explicitly rule it out, saying: “That’s a matter for the government to consider.”

Shatter is expected to give his account of events to the Dáil as early as today, amid calls from both main opposition parties and a handful of independents for him to resign.

Though the minister is under pressure from the opposition he has strong support from within government and his position is not immediately under threat.

Fine Gael colleagues have given him strong backing in recent days, while there is an acknowledgement among many in Labour circles that Shatter is a key ally when it comes to advancing some of their social policies, including same-sex marriage, the referendum for which is due next year.

However, there is an acknowledgement on all sides that Shatter needs to fully account for what his department’s contact with whistleblower was and outline steps that will be taken to allay fears that have arisen about how gardaí handled the series of cases detailed in the McCabe dossier.

First published 8.50am

Explainer: Why is Alan Shatter under pressure – and will he survive?

Read: Whistleblower was subjected to ‘bullying and intimidation’

Read: Claims that garda whistleblower didn’t cooperate “misleading and false”

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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