Government will seek answers to the six questions posed by McCabes, says Tánaiste

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has said the Government will seek to answer the six questions raised by Maurice and Lorraine McCabe as soon as possible.

On Wednesday night, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar, speaking during the motion of confidence, said the questions should be answered before the newly established tribunal of inquiry commences its work.

Speaking yesterday in the Dáil during the debate on the tribunal, Mrs Fitzgerald said she has raised the matter with the attorney general and will seek the answers from the Garda commissioner’s office.

The McCabes are seeking answers as to whether the requested meeting or phone conversation with Supt Noel Cunningham (who investigated the original 2006 false claim against Sgt McCabe) as sought by the HSE in August 2013 did take place.

They have also asked: Who was/were the gardaí who made/received phone calls to/from the HSE counsellor concerning the false rape offence allegation? Who interviewed the alleged victim in respect of that allegation in May 2014 as claimed by her solicitor? And was any of the foregoing garda activity reported or recorded within An Garda Síochána ?

Was any of the foregoing garda activity notified formally or informally to senior gardaí at commissioner level, and if not why not?

Was any decision made not to inform Sgt McCabe of the making of the 2013 allegation, and if so why and by whom?

In her speech yesterday, Ms Fitzgerald said she is very keen to “facilitate them as much as possible.”

“I want to refer to the six questions contained in the McCabe’s statement relating to An Garda Síochána which they understandably want answers to now,” she said.

“But I do not want to pretend to the House that this matter is completely straightforward in circumstances where a tribunal is being established.

“Having consulted with the attorney general, the secretary general of my department has written to the Garda commissioner in accordance with section 40 of the Garda Síochána Act, requesting the information sought in the six questions.

“I expect that it will be necessary to consult further with the attorney general once the commissioner has replied.

“To conclude I want to say that our actions here today will ensure any wrongdoing within An Garda Síochána will be addressed fully and fairly.”

She said she has been careful and scrupulous to deal with all the cases that have come to her attention.

“I have always made the case — publicly and privately — that whistleblowers should be protected and supported,” she told the Dáil.

Mr Varadkar said the McCabes had asked “six simple questions”.

“These should be answered, in full, before any tribunal is up and running,” he said. “Nobody should attempt to use the shield of legal advice, process or pending inquiries to avoid answering these questions.

“I believe the Government owes a full and unequivocal apology to Sgt McCabe for the appalling treatment he endured at the hands of gardaí, state agencies and government departments. We need to restore trust in these key institutions. We start by showing that we are willing to be contrite.”

Six questions family want answered

1) Did the requested meeting or phone conversation with Supt Noel Cunningham (who had investigated the false claim against Maurice McCabe in 2006) as sought by the HSE in August 2013 take place?

2) Who was/were the gardaí who made/ received phonecalls to/from the HSE counsellor about the false rape offence allegation?

3) Who interviewed the alleged victim in respect of that allegation in May 2014 as claimed by her solicitor?

4) Was any of the foregoing garda activity reported or recorded within the force?

5) Was any of the foregoing garda activity notified formally or informally to senior gardaí at commissioner level. If not, why not?

6) Was any decision made not to inform Sgt McCabe of the making of the 2013 allegation. If so, why and by whom?

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