Latest: New email emerges at Disclosures Tribunal

Latest: New email emerges at Disclosures Tribunal
Frances Fitzgerald arriving at at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle for her first day of evidence. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Update 2.20pm:

Another email to Frances Fitzgerald has emerged at the Disclosures Tribunal which referred to Maurice McCabe and the O’Higgins Inquiry.

Martin Power from the Department of Justice sent a submission to the then Justice Minister along with a report by the Garda Watchdog which found that a complaint against Sgt McCabe was properly investigated.

In the submission, Mr Power said he thought the alleged sexual assault was referred to during the initial hearings of the O’Higgins Commission.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard the then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald appears to have initialled the submission.

This submission could be construed as one more notification sent to the Minister about a garda legal strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe.

Deputy Fitzgerald is due to be called as a witness this afternoon.

Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Earlier: 90 emails sent to Disclosures Tribunal following trawl of 30 million

A trawl of 30 million emails at the Department of Justice resulted in just under 90 of them being sent to the Disclosures Tribunal.

The trawl was ordered when questions began to circulate about how much the former Justice Minister knew about a garda legal strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Inquiry.

Frances Fitzgerald is due to be called as a witness shortly.

Last November, a series of parliamentary questions by Labour's Alan Kelly about a garda legal strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Inquiry started a political storm that ended up in the resignation of the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

At the heart of it was how much the former Justice Minister knew in May 2015 about a plan to call into question the motivation of Sgt McCabe.

Few people have a memory of a crucial email of May 15th to the Justice Minister and Dept outlining the garda legal strategy, but it also said they could not get involved in the O'Higgins Commission.

This morning Martin Power from the Dept of Justice said a comprehensive trawl this month identified just 88 relevant emails out of 30 million.

Mr Power also said the email of May 15th was not hidden, but largely forgotten about until last November.

Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Pic: Gareth Chaney Collins
Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Pic: Gareth Chaney Collins

Earlier: Department official tells tribunal 'no decision' to hide email

A Department of Justice official has told the Disclosures Tribunal there was no decision to hide an email outlining a garda strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins inquiry.

Asked why the email was not printed off and filed, Martin Power said it was not normal to print off every email.

Mr Power was also asked why the email did not form part of a briefing note to the then Justice Minister a year later for a meeting she was due to have with the Garda Commissioner, but he said he simply did not remember the mail.

Frances Fitzgerald is due to be called as a witness after Mr Power.

Earlier: Frances Fitzgerald to appear at Disclosures Tribunal

Frances Fitzgerald is due before the Disclosures Tribunal later this morning.

The former Justice Minister and Tánaiste resigned last year over questions about how much she knew about a garda strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.

The Disclosures Tribunal is investigating whether Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on inappropriate grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins inquiry, as well as examining contacts between gardai and members of the Government.

Last November it emerged that Frances Fitzgerald had been sent emails during the inquiry in May 2015, outlining a strategy to call into question the motivation of Maurice McCabe at the Inquiry.

The then Minister said she had no recollection of the emails, and emphasised that she could not interfere in the O’Higgins Commission.

But political pressure led to her resignation, and she said she would be vindicated at the Disclosures Tribunal.

Frances Fitzgerald is second on the witness list at the Tribunal which starts at 10.

- Digital desk

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