Another day another Garda scandal, another ‘not happy’ Enda

Enda Kenny is “not happy”. He told the Dáil as much. He is tired, writes Daniel McConnell.

Yet again, he found himself facing questions about major controversies relating to the gardaí.

The Taoiseach was almost late to the Dáil Chamber at 2pm yesterday for Leaders’ Questions because the latest Garda controversies caused the Cabinet meeting to go on and on. But he made it and faced a barrage of questions from irate opposition leaders as to how such a “cock-up” could happen.

“We continue to see a list of unacceptable revelations about the operations of An Garda Síochána, with these two issues being the very latest,” he said.

Kenny told the Dáil of his and the Government’s “very deep concern” at the scandal and promised a “thorough, comprehensive, and independent root-and-branch review of An Garda Síochána”.

The only problem is this was the same promise given by the Government at the behest of the Independent Alliance on February 15.

In the wake of the Maurice McCabe controversy, the Government announced a full, independent review of the Garda, which would be overseen by some external international person.

Despite Kenny’s concerns and the concerns of his ministers, the Government continues to have confidence in the commissioner.

Rather curious, I hear you say.

What is also curious is the position of Fianna Fáil. The party marched out on the plinth yesterday and said it does not have confidence in Nóirín O’Sullivan, the Garda commissioner. Yet, it does not believe it’s up to the party to do anything about it.

Nóirín O’Sullivan
Nóirín O’Sullivan

Jim O’Callaghan, the party’s justice spokesman, said it is a matter for Government and Government alone to remove a commissioner.

One got the impression he was not fully pleased by how far Micheál Martin went at the weekend about not being able to express confidence in O’Sullivan.

Michael McGrath, Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman, said the party will consider its options after O’Sullivan speaks at the justice committee.

In other words, she has until tomorrow to save herself or risk bringing the stability of the Government into question.

Attention moved to the Dáil last night when the very quiet Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, addressed the Chamber.

We heard that, in 2014, a whistleblower raised this matter in a disclosure to then RSA boss Gay Byrne, who forwarded it to then transport minister Leo Varadkar. He passed it on to Alan Shatter, the then justice minister, and the Garda commissioner. When questions were asked, gardaí told the Department of Justice all was grand, nothing to worry about, only to later say that actually, anomalies existed.

For her part, Fitzgerald said it was last summer before she knew what was going on, but incredibly she only became aware of the scale of the scandal when she watched the Garda press conference last week.

O’Sullivan has days to save her job and now Fitzgerald finds herself in the teeth of the latest Garda scandal to befall this Fine Gael-led Government.

What a farce.

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