The Taoiseach has corrected the Dáil record in relation to comments he made about former minister for justice Alan Shatter after the Guerin Report was published.

Opening statements on the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation, Enda Kenny said "Mr Jusitice O'Higgins covered his terms of reference in a thorough and complete fashion." 

He then detailed the sequence of events that led to the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation.

The Taoiseach then said: "As this house is aware the former minister for justice Alan Shatter resigned from office after the Guerin Report in 2014. I am very pleased to acknowledge that the O'Higgins Report has found that he acted properly at all times in relation to the handling of allegations made by Maurice McCabe."

Mr Kenny continued: "In response to a request from the former minister, I would like to take the opportunity to correct the Dail record of the 7th May 2014.

"I am happy to state in the record that the former minister, on resigning, did not in fact accept responsibility for criticism made in the Guerin Report of the adequacy of the department and Minister for Justice and Equality in responding to allegations made by Sgt McCabe.

"The former minister set out his reasons clearly in his letter of resignation."

Mr Kenny also said that a number of other issues raised by Mr Shatter would be addressed once ongoing litigation has been resolved.

The Taoiseach added that "Alan Shatter was an exceptionally hard working, radical and reforming minister who has left a positive legacy across a wide range of areas for which he had ministerial responsibility."

Mr Kenny also said the previous government had made significant progress in ensuring the type of issues raised in the Guerin Report do not happen again. 

He said the O'Higgins Report was further confirmation of the need for fundamental modernisation and reform of policing. 

Meanwhile, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has said the legal team representing An Garda Síochána at the O'Higgins Commission proceedings "was not instructed to impugn the integrity of Sergeant Maurice McCabe or to make a case that he was acting maliciously".

Tánaiste expresses confidence in Commissioner

The Tánaiste and current Minister for Justice has told the Dáil she continues to have every confidence in Ms O'Sullivan.

However, Frances Fitzgerald said there were two matters arising from this morning's statement from the Garda Commissioner.

Ms Fitzgerald said the Commissioner requested that she use the legal powers available to her to ask the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission to investigate matters alleged to have occurred in relation to a meeting in Mullingar involving certain officers.

She confirmed she would do this and would be consulting the Attorney General about the precise nature of such a referral.

Ms Fitzgerald also addressed the broader issues around whistleblowing. 

"No-one should underestimate the difficult issues confronting any organisation when whistleblowing takes place: balancing the rights of those making allegations with those against whom allegations have been made", she said.  

She said the lesson from the O'Higgins Report was clear, that An Garda Síochána can only benefit from taking seriously allegations of wrongdoing by its own members, valuing them and supporting those who bring these matters to light. 

Martin welcomes O'Sullivan statement

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has welcomed this morning's statement by Ms O'Sullivan, as well as Ms Fitzgerald's decision to look into matters alleged to have occurred in relation to a meeting in Mullingar involving certain officers.

Mr Martin also pointed out that the Guerin Report did not cause the resignation of Mr Shatter.

He said Mr Kenny made it clear "what had to happen" to Mr Shatter when he presented him with the report.

The Fianna Fáil leader said Mr Shatter had focused to much on the report causing his resignation.

He said "even before we discussed Guerin in this house, Minister Shatter had resigned.

"He said he was doing it for political reasons because of the forthcoming local elections and that needs to be put on the record of the House". 

Adams accuses Fitzgerald over failures

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Ms Fitzgerald of failing to hold Ms O'Sullivan to account over the questions surrounding her instructions to her legal team.

Mr Adams said the media management of the report and the leaking was 'entirely unacceptable' and asked if this would be investigated. 1703 

The Louth TD said they had called for the Garda Commissioner to be accountable to the Policing Authority, but she remains accountable to the Minister for Justice. 

He said the Minister refused to answer questions put to her. 

Mr Adams also said the "media management" of the O'Higgins Report and the leaking was "entirely unacceptable" and he asked if this would be investigated..

He added that there was a clear attempt to smear Sgt McCabes good name in the run up to the publication of the O'Higgins Report.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin, meanwhile. told the Dáil that the O'Higgins Report was not a report into Mr Shatter or his dismissal by Mr Kenny.

Mr Howlin said Judge O'Higgins was given terms of reference that asked him to investigate 12 distinct matters: just one of these related to the actions of Mr Shatter.

He said Sgt McCabe "had been banging his head against a brick wall until his claims were made public" and until the O'Higgins Commission was tasked with examining them thoroughly.

Mr Howlin said he fully accepted that there was no impropriety or malpractice on the part of either Mr Shatter or former garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

"It nonetheless remains the case that the McCabe allegations were not properly investigated on their beat", he said.