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Alan Shatter says Enda Kenny gave him 'no choice' but to resign

Shatter has called for the immediate publication of the O’Higgins report into garda corruption.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE FORMER JUSTICE Minister Alan Shatter has called for the immediate publication of the O’Higgins report.

Yesterday, The Ireland edition of The Times reported that Shatter has been cleared of any wrongdoing in his handling of allegations of garda corruption and malpractice by the commission of investigation led by Judge Kevin O’Higgins.

Allegations made by garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe brought about the investigation.

Shatter told Keelin Shanley on Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning:

As far as I know this report was furnished to the Minister for Justice on Monday. There’s an obligation in legislation to publish it as soon as possible.

Resignation

He went on to say Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave him “no choice” but to resign following the Guerin report.

Shatter was also critical about the procedures in which the Guerin report was carried out. The report detailed a range of issues with policing in the Bailieboro Garda District in Cavan.

Effectively, the Taoiseach informed me at the time that the future of the government was dependent on my actions and made it clear to me that if I didn’t resign he wouldn’t be able to express confidence in Dail Eireann.
I asked for 24 hours to read the report – I wasn’t granted it

He said he had “no expectations” of receiving a phone call from Enda Kenny apologising.

“I am not going to be standing by the phone,” he said, adding the last time he had contact with Kenny was ten days before the general election.

He said he has had no contact with the Fine Gael leader since losing his seat.

There was no reason for the delay in publishing the O’Higgins report, he said, stating the only circumstance under legislation which would allow for a delay is if a court application has to be made for fear that some content could prejudice a criminal prosecution.

Shatter said he could see no issue with the report prejudicing any court case.

Brought to Cabinet 

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald brought the O’Higgins report to what is being dubbed the current government’s last Cabinet meeting yesterday.

A government source said Fitzgerald informed the Cabinet that the report had been referred to the Attorney General to assess whether it will impact on any ongoing court cases. It’s believed the Taoiseach also has the report. However, the extent to which the report was discussed at Cabinet is not known.

TheJournal.ie asked the Department of Justice when the report is due to be published, but no specific date was given.

Living under a ‘dark cloud’

Shatter said there are members of the gardaí, including the former Garda Commissioner, who have been effectively “under a dark cloud” following the allegations made about garda corruption. He said the publication will bring about a conclusion to the matter.

Lives have been impacted by this, some have been under a cloud for many years because issues that were raised by Sergeant McCabe that were revisited in the Guerin report.I think it is important people can get on with their lives… Time has come for the full truth to be known.

He said he accepted the view that the publication of the report could be damaging to the government – particularly in the week that’s in it as government formation talks are ongoing.

However, he said he still believed it was “unreasonable” not to publish the report today.

With the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil negotiations ongoing he said he could see why the publication could be seen as “troublesome” to some.

Shatter said the report will bring up questions that need to be answered.

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