Tánaiste knew of attempt to undermine McCabe, and still backed Commissioner O’Sullivan – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin TD and Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said that Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s attempt to straighten her story has left her tied in knots.
The Cork South-Central TD said:
“The Minister last night attempted to brazen out the many questions arising from revelations last night on RTÉ about her knowledge of the attempt to undermine Sergeant Maurice McCabe, and provide non-answers to many Deputies.
“However, there are still enormous questions and concerns hanging over this episode.
“In particular, the transcript which was released from the email, and it is not the full email I note, states quite clearly that the Gardaí had raised an allegation made against Sgt McCabe, which was one of the cases examined by the Independent Review Mechanism.
“This is an allegation which was, as stated in the text, had been directed as a non-prosecution.
“This is the same complaint, referred to in the Dáil on February 14th, which was passed to the Taoiseach by Micheál Martin, and forwarded to the then Minister for Justice, forwarded again for action by the Independent Review Mechanism, the Tánaiste has confirmed this.
“This is reported to have happened in May 2014, around the time the Tánaiste came to hold the role of Minister for Justice. It seems unlikely that she would not have been briefed on such a sensitive and high profile political matter.
“So, the Tánaiste expects us to believe, that when a reference to this same case is contained in an email, 12 months later in connection to the strategy being undertaken by An Garda Síochána at the Commission, saw no significance in it, took no action, and appeared to believe that the email was of such little significance that she has since forgotten it? That is impossible to credit.
“The Minister’s knowledge was, it is clear, that the Gardaí were adopting a strategy, of using an allegation which had not been prosecuted to undermine Sgt McCabe.
“This is at the same time that she states that she ‘at all times sought to protect and support whistleblowers’.
“She has attempted to obscure this issue behind the Commission of investigation – but there was no legal impediment to her withholding her confidence in the Garda Commissioner using this strategy to undermine Sgt McCabe.
“All this time, the Minister for Justice continued to state her full confidence in the Garda Commissioner who was responsible for this attempt to grievously undermine Sgt McCabe.
“This has totally undermined all the statements she has made heretofore, and raises serious questions in relation to her continued position as Tánaiste.”