Thirty-six Gardaí have begun High Court proceedings which challenge the Oireachtas sub-committee hearing into last year's Abbeylara shooting. The Gardaí, including nine members of the Emergency Response Unit, are disputing practically all aspects of the work of the committee, including its powers to compel the attendance of witnesses and to direct the production of documents.

The High Court has given the Gardaí leave to challenge the enquiry, and it can also apply on notice to the State for a stay on the work of the committee pending the outcome of court proceedings. The matter is due back in court again on 29 May.

These latest proceedings are certain to further delay the work of the committee, which has been investigating the death of John Carthy at Abbeylara in County Longford in April 2000. The hearing is currently adjourned, pending a ruling from the Secretary to the Government on whether certain Gardaí should be exempted from giving evidence. It is set to resume on 1 June.