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Alan Shatter wants 'his good name vindicated' by Taoiseach after Court of Appeal decision

A Court of Appeal ruled that the Guerin report reached “seriously damaging” conclusions.

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

FORMER MINISTER FOR Justice Alan Shatter has said that the contents of the Guerin report should be eradicated from public record, after a Court of Appeal today ruled that the “seriously damaging” conclusions of that report were reached “in breach of fair procedures”.

The Guerin report, published in 2014, focused on Shatter’s handling of complaints made by garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Shatter resigned in the wake of the report’s findings, but maintained that he had not acted wrongly in the affair.

In May 2016, Shatter was cleared of wrongdoing in his handling of garda corruption allegations by the O’Higgins Commission.

He won his appeal to challenge the Guerin report in November, and has welcomed today’s verdict from the Court of Appeal.

He called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to arrange for the “immediate withdrawal of the report in its present form” from circulation and from the Houses of the Oireachtas.

He accused Kenny of failing to acknowledge, on Dáil record, that the conclusions of Seán Guerin were reached “without a fair hearing and in breach of [his] constitutional rights”.

I also believe I am entitled to an immediate apology from the Taoiseach on behalf of the State, to vindicate my good name and reputation and to go some way in redressing the damage done to me and the stress caused to my family and those close to me.

Shatter said he particularly welcomed the acknowledgement of Mr Justice Ryan that it would be a “hollow victory” if the “objectionable conclusions” of the Guerin report remained unamended in public record.

The former Minister added that he hoped today’s decision will “result in this protracted and painful saga brought to an end”.

O’Higgins Commission

The Guerin report dealt with a very specific set of allegations made by Maurice McCabe and the degree to which Alan Shatter was aware about these allegations of garda misconduct.

Shatter said that he only read three chapters of the report but that it had been enough to prompt his resignation, despite never having met with the author of the report Seán Guerin.

At the time, he said: “I would have expected, if it was his intention to reach a conclusion or form an opinion with regard to my concern with regard to the issues raised by Sergeant McCabe, that he would have done so.”

Upon the publication of the report from the O’Higgins Commission, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald noted that Shatter had “acted appropriately with these issues”.

In his statement today, Shatter said: “It is also disappointing that following publication of O’Higgins, despite the cost to the public purse,  it was necessary that the proceedings before the Court of Appeal took place as a contested hearing.

He added that as the conclusions of the Guerin report were relied upon by the “Taoiseach, Ministers, party leaders and other Dáil deputies”, it was now “overdue and only right” that its conclusions be amended in the Dáil record.

Read: Explainer: What is the Guerin report and why was it needed?

Read: O’Higgins Report: Victims let down by serious flaws and failures in garda investigations

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Sean Murray

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