Flanagan asked to explain ‘disgraceful’ answers

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has been asked to explain “disgraceful” answers to Labour’s Alan Kelly over the treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl has sought answers from Mr Flanagan in relation to written answers he gave about what his department knew about the campaign to smear whistleblower Mr McCabe.

The matters are currently the subject of the Disclosures Tribunal.

Mr Kelly had tabled a number of questions to Mr Flanagan to elicit exactly what information the department and the then minister, Frances Fitzgerald, had of the strategy to challenge the credibility of Mr McCabe at the O’Higgins commission.

Mr Kelly, speaking to the Irish Examiner, described the answers given by Mr Flanagan as “disgraceful”.

An Oireachtas spokeswoman confirmed Mr Ó Fearghaíl has received correspondence from Mr Kelly on the matter and is seeking the views of the justice minister. “As such, the matter remains ongoing,” she said.

The Department of Justice confirmed the request.

“The Ceann Comhairle has written to the department on foot of a request from Deputy Kelly, and a response will issue in early course,” a spokesman said.

Among the questions Mr Kelly asked the justice minister were:

  • To outline fully the extent of consultation former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan had with the Department of Justice prior to her giving instructions to her legal team at the O’Higgins commission;
  • To outline fully the extent of meetings and communications in any way that Ms O’Sullivan had with the department . He sought dates and times of meetings, communications type, attendance, and agendas;
  • To ask the minister for justice if anyone in An Garda Síochána had made a complaint to his department regarding the manner in which Ms O’Sullivan gave instructions to her legal team and, if so, how this was being dealt with.

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