Minister denies being 'muzzled' over criticism of Noirin O'Sullivan
A Fine Gael TD who called for Noirin O’Sullivan to resign has denied being "muzzled" after refusing to repeat his criticisms.
Wexford’s Michael D'Arcy broke ranks last February when he told the Dáil he didn’t believe the statement made by Ms O’Sullivan in relation to Garda whistleblowers.
He said she should step aside "in the interests of natural justice" because "one individual cannot come in ahead of the police force".
However, he has since been appointed a Minister of State by new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and has today refused to repeat his comments or criticise Ms O’Sullivan’s performance.
"When you’re a member of government, you must accept the government position or leave government. I don’t have the opportunity to express an opinion that’s contrary to the government position," he told South East Radio.
Asked by presenter Alan Corcoran whether he believed it was correct for Ms O’Sullivan to stand down, Mr D’Arcy said: "I don’t want to go into that, please. As a member of government I’m obliged to accept the Government view. My view was different of the government in the previous administration.
"I don’t mean to confuse you but equally it is important to differentiate that as of now, as a member of government, I’m not allowed to express a different opinion than what government has said."
He added: "I’ve had a strongly held view in relation to gardai and I’ve said that in the past but at the same time we have to look at the positives.
"The Government is only entitled to a single view and as a member of government I am part of that view. I expressed my views when I was a backbencher within Fine Gael, not a member of the current administration."
Speaking during a Dáil debate in February on the terms of reference for the Charleton Tribunal into the alleged smearing of garda whistleblowers, Mr D'Arcy said: 'The information I have been given is that up to 10 journalists were briefed in relation to Sergeant [Maruice] McCabe.”
Describing the case as Gubu-like, he said: "I have to put on the record that I don't believe the commissioner. I don't believe her because of her actions and how she instructed her legal counsel to deal with the O'Neill investigation.
"I do think in the interest of natural justice that the commissioner step aside in the interest of Garda Siochana. The interest of one individual cannot come in ahead of the police force."