Ahern on a 'personal crusade' over leak
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern was accused last night of being on a "personal crusade" in the investigation into the leaking of letters which led to the resignation of former minister Trevor Sargent, writes Fionnan Sheahan.
After revealing the Green Party TD tried to intervene to prevent a garda prosecution, the 'Evening Herald' newspaper is now being ordered to reveal its source and disclose its information on the story.
Gardai investigating the publication of the correspondence on the case are now seeking all notes from the newspaper and to interview the reporters who worked on the story.
Fine Gael justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan said Mr Ahern had "lost focus" on the key issues in his department.
"This has all the hallmarks of obsession on the part of the Minister for Justice, who appears to have undertaken a personal crusade and, in so doing, lost focus.
"The issue here is the transgression of a politician who, having admitted wrongdoing, stood down from office.
"We now have an investigation that appears to take the focus away from the real issues, at a time when we have had eight gangland killings so far this year.
"I would have thought the Minister for Justice might focus on the real issues in his department," he said.
But Mr Ahern's spokesman rejected the Fine Gael accusation and said the investigation was a matter for the gardai and nothing to do with the minister.
"Deputy Flanagan doesn't understand the separation of powers and the independence of the gardai," he said.
"The only thing the minister has said is he plans (to) make the outcome of the investigation public," the spokesman added.