Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said there “may well have been a call” between former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and the Department of Justice on the day Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe was cross-examined by her lawyers.
“There may well have been a phonecall from the commissioner’s office to the department on the day but it is not unusual for the commissioner’s office to contact the Department of Justice and Equality,” said Mr Varadkar.
Labour TD Alan Kelly has been seeking answers for over a week as to what information the Department of Justice had in 2015 when Sgt McCabe was under cross examination by Ms O’Sullivan’s lawyers.
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has denied having “any hand, act, or part” in the legal strategy to “attack the motivation and integrity of Sgt McCabe”, the Dáil heard yesterday.
Mr Varadkar said he spoke to the Tánaiste, who is in Dubai, and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan over the ongoing controversy over the failure to address questions from Mr Kelly.
The Taoiseach was responding to questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.
Mr Varadkar said the Government has not been able to confirm if a call was placed to the department on May 15, 2016, the day Sgt McCabe was cross-examined.
“She confirmed to me that she had no hand, act or part in forming the former commissioner’s legal strategy, nor did she have any prior knowledge of the legal strategy the former commissioner’s team pursued,” said Mr Varadkar. “She found out about it after the fact, but around the time it was in the public domain.”
In response, Mr Martin said: “It has taken quite a long time for us to ascertain that the Tánaiste did not have prior knowledge of the legal strategy.”
Mr Kelly said he was “absolutely not satisfied” with the Taoiseach’s failure to answer his questions.
“The Taoiseach’s response today in the Dáil to my questions regarding the Department of Justice raise even more questions than answers,” he told the Irish Examiner.
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