The Government will have to give “detailed consideration” to the High Court judgement on the inquiry into the Abbeylara incident before it makes a decision on the future of the Oireachtas inquiry.

Bertie Ahern said that the judges' decision has serious implications for future inquiries but that the matter would have to be examined by the Government and the Attorney General.

Earlier, 36 Gardaí won their High Court challenge to the Oireachtas sub-committee inquiry into the shooting dead of John Carthy in Abbeylara.

The 95-page judgement found that such inquiries do not have the power to make findings of fact or expressions of opinion adverse to the good name or reputation of citizens.

The hearing, before a three-judge divisional court of the High Court, lasted 19 days. The High Court found that the Oireachtas sub-committee inquiring into the Abbeylara incident was acting outside its powers in purporting to report on and investigate the Abbeylara incident. It did not comply with the requirements of natural and constitutional justice, said the report.

Alan Shatter, TD, a member of the committee, has said that the consequences of the judgement create a major constitutional crisis for the Oireachtas. He says that, if an appeal is unsuccessful, there should be a referendum on the issue.

PJ Stone, of the Garda Representative Association, said the judgement vindicated the Gardaí who took this court action. He called for a judicial inquiry into the Abbeylara affair, both for his members, and the sake of the Carthy family, he said.

John Carthy was shot dead by the Garda Emergency Response Unit in April 2000, after a siege at his home in Abbeylara, County Longford.

John Carty's sister, Marie, has said the family is disappointed with the outcome of this morning's High Court proceedings. She said the committee carried out excellent work and should be complimented for their efforts. She added that the Government should now proceed immediately to hold a full public sworn inquiry.