Review to find source of cabinet leaks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has launched an internal review into serious concerns that cabinet details are being leaked to the public before they make it to ministers.

Review to find source of cabinet leaks

The Irish Examiner understands the review began last week and is due to be completed by Easter in response to Communications Minister Denis Naughten heavily criticising colleagues after commercially sensitive parts of his national broadband plan were leaked without his knowledge.

Last week, Mr Naughten raised concerns that a key part of his national broadband plan about the involvement of private firm Eir, which was published last Tuesday, was leaked to a number of media outlets on Monday evening.

Mr Naughten and his own Department said last week it did not release the information, which received negative coverage on Tuesday morning, and accused other ministers of being behind the leak.

In response, Mr Kenny ordered an internal investigation to find out which ministers, ministerial advisors and department general secretaries are potentially leaking official memos before they reach cabinet.

And while most ministers privately believe it is unlikely the review will find anyone personally responsible, the situation could result in memos not being circulated until the cabinet meeting itself begins, significantly reducing the ability of ministers to discuss proposed Government plans.

It is understood the leaks’ review is being overseen by Department of the Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser and is due to be completed by Easter. As part of the investigation, Mr Fraser will both meet in person and speak over the phone with all ministers and their advisors, in addition to secretaries general of government departments to uncover who is leaking the information.

While no decisions have been made, it is believed Mr Fraser may consider ordering all memos to be kept back from circulation to ministers and their advisors until after cabinet meetings begin.

Should the culprit be uncovered, he may also seek the resignation of one or more advisors, an issue which would cause intense criticism from the respective minister.

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