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Tánaiste’s must answer McCabe questions to save her credibility – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

21 November, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

The credibility of Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s position in office will be seriously compromised if she cannot give a credible account of what she knew about the legal strategy to undermine Garda Whistle-blower Maurice McCabe, according to Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD.

Speaking today Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

“The clarification provided by the Department of Justice to RTÉ news yesterday, about when the Tánaiste learned of the attempt by the Garda Legal team to undermine the credibility of Garda Maurice McCabe, raises more questions than it answers, and weighty questions for that matter.

“The account, as given by the Department of Justice, asks us to believe that the Tánaiste, when told of ‘a row at the Commission’, in a case regarding one of the most high profile whistle-blowers, and in connection with a major controversy in an Garda Síochána – enquired no further than that.

“This is after the Tánaiste had met Garda McCabe and his wife, and was well aware of the significance of his complaints.

“That is simply not credible.

“Nor is it credible that the Department would have kept the Minister in the dark, in relation to such politically significant details as was the case in this strategy, unless the Minister wanted not to be formally made aware.

“And any hint of that sort of wink and nudge, plausible deniability, approach is equally as damning.

“She continued to give impression she was not aware of this issue, until it arose in the public domain, despite some element of this information coming to her attention almost 12 months later.

“What we are trying to establish, is if there is any possibility whether the attempts to discredit an honest honourable whistle-blower go right to the top of Government. That being the case, this goes right to the credibility of the Tánaiste, the Departmental officials, and Government.

“And in that context this is a political issue - it relates to the conduct and credibility of a Government Minister. It cannot wait for the Charleton Tribunal, we need answers now.

“The Taoiseach must today correct the record of the Dáil, and the Tánaiste must give a full statement, answering once and for all, in a credible way, when she found out, the full extent of the approach taken by the Garda Legal Team.

“And indeed, what happened on foot of that – why did she continue to maintain full confidence in Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan, when she was aware of this reprehensible strategy, and why was there no consequences or accountability for her or anyone else responsible?

“If she cannot do that, then the credibility of her position in office will be called into question.”


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