Rights watchdog deplores “profound systems failures” identified in Guerin report

  • 09-05-2014
  • Categorized in: Justice

Irish Council for Civil Liberties Press release

For immediate release

Friday, 9 May 2014

Ireland’s human rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has issued its initial reaction to the 336-page report of the Guerin review of action regarding allegations made by Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

The Council deplores the profound systems failures that have been identified by Seán Guerin SC and, in particular, the fact that there has, to date, been “no independent investigation” (paragraph 19.101 of the report) of “substantial and reasonably detailed allegations of significant misconduct” (paragraph 19.94) made by Sergeant McCabe in 2011 and 2012.

The ICCL also notes that Seán Guerin could find “no evidence of any detailed assessment within the Department [of Justice] of any of the allegations made by Sergeant McCabe or of the responses received from the [Garda] Commissioner” (paragraph 19.100) and that “it appears that the Minister acted as he did on foot of advice received from the Commissioner, without that advice being questioned or analysed” (paragraph 19.101).  This was despite the fact that the Minister had been expressly invited to exercise two specific statutory functions under section 42 of the Garda Act 2005 (special inquiries) and Regulation 8(2) of the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice) Regulations 2007 (discretion to investigate).

ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

“Sergeant Maurice McCabe emerges from the pages of the Guerin review as a man grievously wronged and the ICCL deplores the profound systems failures that have impeded the independent investigation of his allegations.  In 2006, Mr Justice Frederick Morris produced recommendations which, had they been implemented in full, could have spared Sergeant McCabe this ordeal and produced a more accountable police service”.

“Seán Guerin SC has now recommended the establishment of an independent inquiry under the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, a step for which the ICCL has been calling since this controversy first arose.  That inquiry should have broad terms of reference to examine the operation in practice of current Garda Síochána and Department of Justice systems of management and accountability.  In addition, as a matter of urgency, an independent Garda Authority should be put in place, GSOC be given powers to receive complaints from serving officers and enhanced protections for whistleblowers introduced”, Mr Kelly continued.

“The Government must seize this opportunity to place a human rights based approach at the core of policing in Ireland”, Mr Kelly concluded.



Walter Jayawardene, Communications Manager, Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Tel. + 353 1 799 4503 Mob: +353 87 9981574   

E-mail  walter.jayawardene@iccl.ie


Note to editor:

The full text of the Guerin report is available at this link:


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