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The Taoiseach Must Act Now on My Justice Questions

12 November 2017

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Spokesperson on Health

Labour TD Alan Kelly has today said:

"I have been continuously asking questions regarding the Department of Justice and what they knew prior to the O’Higgins Commission commencing and particularly the strategy adopted by the former Garda Commissioner at it in respect of Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

"These questions have not been answered by the Department of Justice. The answers given are in fact a disgrace. So much so that the Ceann Comhairle is investigating my complaints about them.

"I have also written to Minister Flanagan and the Taoiseach regarding the matter and I phoned the Secretary General of the Department of Justice last Wednesday. They have all refused to respond.

"It is unbelievable that the Taoiseach hasn’t asked the Tánaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgearld and the current Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan about my questions. It beggars belief and it is not credible that at a Fine Gael National Conference he hasn’t spoken to them yet. They were literally beside him.

"Why? Because, It’s a yes or no answer. Were the Department privy to the strategy adopted by the Commissioner or not? If not simply say so. Don’t try and hide behind the Charleton Tribunal. That is not acceptable or believable. Why would you need to anyway if there is nothing to hide from in my questions in the first place?

"However, If the answer is yes, it will be a crisis for our justice system and the very bedrock on which our state is built. In that situation, the Taoiseach has a duty to act immediately. If he doesn’t, he will be failing in his duty to the people of this country and this is something that will define him."

ENDS

Questions to Minister for Justice Tuesday 7th November

(536, 537, 538, 539)

536. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent of consultation that a person (details supplied) had with his Department prior to giving instructions to their legal team representing them at the O’Higgins commission. [46678/17]

 

537. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent of meetings and communications that a person (details supplied) had with his Department prior to them giving instructions to their legal team representing them at the O’Higgins commission; the dates and times of meetings; the communication type; and the attendance and agendas. [46679/17]

538. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if persons in An Garda Síochána made a complaint to his Department regarding the manner in which a person (details supplied) gave instructions to their legal team representing them at the O’Higgins commission; and if so, the way in which this is being dealt with by his department. [46680/17]

539. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the contact, meetings, correspondence a person (details supplied) or their senior officials had with another person (details supplied) or their senior staff or advisers prior to them giving instructions to the legal team representing them at the O’Higgins commission; and the dates and times of meetings, communications type, attendance and agendas. [46681/17]

Written Answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 536 to 539, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, some aspects of the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation form part of the remit of the Disclosures Tribunal and therefore I am limited in what I can say.

However, it would of course have been entirely inappropriate for anyone to have sought to interfere in any way with the work of the Commission of Investigation. The Deputy will appreciate that it was solely a matter for the parties to the Commission to decide what legal approach to take to the work of the Commission, taking into account the legal advice available to them.

In the circumstances, the Department would have had no role in determining the approach to be taken by the Garda Commissioner to the Commission in question.

Accordingly, there was no question of the Department seeking to interfere in any way with, or to have any say in determining, that approach by the Garda Commissioner.