Ministers 'failed to act' on Garda report

The Irish Times has more on the secret report it detailed on Saturday. The Opposition will be looking for a scalp.

The report, details of which were revealed by The Irish Times on Saturday, was sent to the Department of Justice by then deputy commissioner Noel Conroy, who now serves as Garda Commissioner.

Marked “secret”, it contained a summary of Assistant Commissioner Kevin Carty’s investigation into allegations of “criminal and unethical behaviour” by Donegal gardaa­ between 1991 and 1998.

Mr Howlin said it was now beyond doubt that Mr O’Donoghue, the then minister for justice, and Mr McDowell, the then attorney general, had “extensive knowledge of the scale and the serious nature of Garda abuses in Donegal when they were obstructing calls from the Labour Party and others for the establishment of a tribunal of inquiry.

“There is now an obligation on Ministers O’Donoghue and McDowell to explain why, more than a year after they received this report, they insisted on voting down an Opposition motion in November 2001 that would have provided for the establishment of such an inquiry.” Both Labour and Fine Gael are due to raise to raise the matter at leaders’ questions tomorrow.

Fine Gael’s justice spokesman Jim O’Keeffe said: “There appear to be inconsistencies between what was said then and what is said now. Things just don’t add up.

“Clearly the Government, including Mr O’Donoghue and Mr McDowell, had enough evidence to set up the tribunal far, far earlier than they did. Explanations are required from both ministers as to why they so doggedly resisted setting up an inquiry for so long.” However, representatives for the two Ministers dismissed the allegations.