A series of parliamentary question responses to TDs across the political divide have each led to the same coalition response that gardaí have not started a full investigation because they are still waiting for the DPP to decide if one can be opened. Since May 2012, 15 months after the €100m state-funded 14-year investigation published its findings, members of Fianna Fáil, the Social Democrats, Sinn Féin and Independents have asked whether any progress has been made.
However, on each occasion a near identical Government response has been issued by various cabinet members stating that further inquiries into the findings of the corruption investigation have stalled.
On May 1, 2012, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin was asked for an update on what actions had been taken, but was told by then Fine Gael justice minister Alan Shatter: “I am informed by the Garda authorities that, following their examination of the report of the Moriarty Tribunal, the advice of the director of public prosecutions has been sought on the findings of that examination, with a view to determining whether or not a full garda investigation should now be commenced.”
The exact same statement was issued to Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty when he asked for an update seven months later, on December 12, 2012, and was repeated in April 2013 and May 2014 when the same question was asked by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher.
After Mr Shatter was replaced by Frances Fitzgerald as Justice Minister, Mr Doherty asked the question a second time on June 24, 2014. He was given the same response.
When then Independent TD, now joint leader of the Social Democrats, Roisin Shortall, sought answers on the question on May 12, 2015, the wording of the statement changed slightly.
However, the Government position remained identical: “I am informed by the Garda authorities that, following the examination by An Garda Síochána of the report of the Moriarty Tribunal, the advice of the director of public prosecutions was sought with a view to determining whether or not a full Garda investigation should be commenced. As this process is ongoing it would not be appropriate for me to comment in further detail at this time,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
This new wording of the same statement was repeated when, on June 16, 2015, Mr Martin asked the same question he first asked without receiving a successful response three and a half years ago. His justice spokesperson Niall Collins repeated the query two days later.
Under the rules of the Moriarty tribunal, the statute of limitation on the findings of the report — which have been disputed, contradicted and criticised by those named in it in public statements and through the courts — will run out in March 2016. This means any information uncovered by the investigation cannot be used in potential subsequent actions by the gardaí or DPP.