By Conall Ó Fátharta
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald was made aware of the strategy to undermine Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe a year before it entered the public domain in 2016, RTE News has reported.
The Department of Justice has confirmed to RTE's Katie Hannon that Ms Fitzgerald was made aware of the strategy in May 2015 — a year before it entered the public domain in May 2016 as the Taoiseach claimed last week.
Speaking in the Dáil last week, Leo Varadkar said Ms Fitzgerald had “no hand, act, or part” in that strategy.
“She found out about it after the fact, but around the time it was in the public domain when everyone else knew about it as well,” said Mr Varadkar.
The information came to light in May 2016 when Michael Clifford in the Irish Examiner, and Katie Hannon on RTÉ, brought the matter into the public domain.
Labour TD Alan Kelly has been seeking answers to specific questions in relation to what Ms Fitzgerald knew in 2015 when she was justice minister and what was known by her department about the tactics used by lawyers acting for former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan when cross-examining Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.