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Tánaiste publishes O’Higgins Commission Report

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Minister Fitzgerald speaking to the media about the report today

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald today published the final report of the Commission of Investigation on Certain matters relative to the Cavan/Monaghan Division (the O'Higgins Commission). 

On receipt of the report the Minister immediately referred it to the Attorney General and was advised, in line with the provisions of Section 38 of the Commission of Investigation Act 2004, to undertake a process to establish whether there was anything in the report which might prejudice criminal proceedings pending or in progress. This involved consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and An Garda Síochána. It was only possible to conclude that process yesterday afternoon, and having established that the issue of prejudice does not arise, the Minister presented the report to Government this morning and is now in a position to publish it. 

Speaking today, the Minister said: 

The Commission of Investigation, using the wide range of statutory powers available to it, has now established, as definitively as it is possible to do, the facts surrounding the difficult matters it was asked to examine. Mr Justice O'Higgins has produced a thorough and thoughtful report which deserves the most careful consideration so that we can do everything possible to avoid a repeat of the issues which gave rise to the Commission of Investigation in the first place.

Whatever controversies might have surrounded some of the issues dealt with in the report we should not lose sight of one central and unpalatable fact: the report identifies a number of cases where victims of crime were not well served by An Garda Síochána. That is as unacceptable as it is disheartening and we must take all measures open to us to ensure that these shortcomings are not repeated.

Inevitably, Mr Justice O'Higgins reaches a number of conclusions about the roles played by a number of persons in the events outlined in his report. I hope all those affected can accept, as I do fully, that Mr Justice O'Higgins looked at the facts fairly and dispassionately and made every effort to do justice to the position of all.

I very much appreciate that the events outlined in the report have been traumatic for many people who have been affected by them. It would be an injustice to those who brought events to light in the public interest and those who have lived under the shadow of these events for a long time, if we do not take on board the lessons from these events. I hope they can take some reassurance from the fact that the examination of those events in this report will help serve to consolidate a programme of reform which will ensure we continue to have a Garda Síochána in which its members and the community it serves can take great pride.

Read the report here. 

For more information read the press release here.