Former minister asks why vetting system did not flag Cowen's Pulse record

Former minister asks why vetting system did not flag Cowen's Pulse record

Former Minister of State Conor Lenihan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Former Minister of State Conor Lenihan has asked why the Garda vetting process that is required for Ministerial appointments did not highlight Barry Cowen’s Pulse record.

Vetting of proposed Ministers is always carried out before they are appointed he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerny show.

Even a cursory desk top investigation by gardaí would bring to light such a record on the Pulse system, he said.

“If the Taoiseach did not know that this was on the record then something is amiss with the vetting procedure.” 

It was surprising that if something was wrong it had not been brought to the Taoiseach’s attention. 

“If something was wrong he wouldn’t have been appointed. I think there’s politics going on here.” 

The garda narrative on the Pulse system was not the same as was being reported in the media, he added.

Mr Lenihan said he felt Mr Cowen should have been given the opportunity to take the time to clarify the situation.

The controversy was not being resolved and Mr Cowen had been trying to make a point and was trying to correct the record. 

There was a significant issue here, “at the heart of the whole system.” 

Mr Lenihan pointed out that in the case of Garda Maurice McCabe serious allegations that had been found to be untrue had been put on his record. 

“Barry Cowen was attempting to correct the record.” 

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