Kenny calls for ‘calm’ between coalition parties

The Taoiseach has attempted to draw a line under coalition tensions of recent days, calling for “calm” as bickering between Fine Gael and Labour continued.

Enda Kenny was responding to the fallout from reports Environment Minister Phil Hogan met Independent TD Michael Lowry days after he was found by the Moriarty Tribunal to have helped businessman Denis O’Brien secure a State licence.

Labour TD Colm Keaveney accused the Fine Gael chairman Charlie Flanagan of “cyber bullying” after he used Twitter to criticise Labour minister Joan Burton over her comments on the meeting.

Mr Keaveney said: “To single out people in politics in virtual media, and to use unsavoury language; I would best describe that as cyber bullying.”

Fine Gael TD for Meath East Regina Doherty defended Mr Flanagan, who, she said, hadn’t “meant any harm”.

Asked about the tensions, Mr Kenny said the Coalition will have bigger issues to deal with in the future

Urging restraint, he said: “I would say to everybody, ‘calm down because we’ve got bigger challenges up ahead’. And that’s where Government is absolutely focused, that’s what my remit is, that’s what the mandate of the Government is.”

Earlier, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said the “interminable delays” in bringing those found guilty of corruption to account were “unconscionable”.

Mr Rabbitte said what was uncovered by the Moriarty and Mahon tribunals was “completely unacceptable” and “there ought to be consequences”.

He said: “I find it a bit difficult to understand why it takes so long to come to conclusions on these matters.”

Mr Rabbitte said it was difficult to understand “why no banker has been made amenable for the destruction that they have caused”.

“I find it very difficult to understand why no file has yet been stamped for the prosecution authorities to do their business.”

Alan Shatter, the justice minister, responded that the length of time the Anglo Irish Bank investigation is taking is a “source of frustration” for the Government “and people generally”.

In a statement on white collar crime, Mr Shatter warned against any public comments that could risk prejudicing the inquiry.

“Under our criminal justice system, individuals are presumed innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.

Mr Shatter said the Government was “determined to ensure that the necessary resources are available to those carrying out the investigation”.

In relation to the Mahon Tribunal, he said a Garda investigation would “inevitably” take some time because it could not use evidence given at tribunal hearings.

“I am confident that An Garda Síochána, where they have reason to believe that offences have been committed, will deal with these matters without fear or favour,” he said.

On the Moriarty Tribunal, Mr Shatter’s statement said the Garda commissioner has made it clear he is consulting with the DPP “as to whether aspects of it may be pursued from a criminal point of view”.


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