'I am innocent' - Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan will NOT step aside during Commission of Investigation
- 'I'm not stepping aside because I am innocent'
- Garda Commissioner statement comes hours after FF leader said she 'should assess where she stands'
- Says she was 'not aware' of any smear campaign
Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan said she will not be stepping down while an investigation into the whistleblower controversy takes place.
In a statement released this afternoon, Ms O'Sullivan wrote: "My position remains unchanged. Nothing has emerged in the last three weeks which in any way changes that situation."
The Garda Commissioner said the "campaign of false accusations, repeated and multiplied" do not make her "guilty of anything".
She continued; "I have made it clear that I was not part of any campaign to spread rumours about Sergeant McCabe and didn't know it was happening at the time it was happening.
"I have repeatedly refuted that claim and do so again."
- Read more: Chaos as FF and Fitzgerald at odds on Tusla McCabe link
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She wrote; "The easiest option for me would be to step aside until the Commission finishes its work.
"I'm not taking that option because I am innocent and because An Garda Síochána, under my leadership, has been making significant progress, with the help of our people, the Government, the Policing Authority and Garda Inspectorate, in becoming a beacon of twenty first century policing."
The Garda Commissioner's statement comes just hours after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin spoke out and said the Commissioner should "assess where she stands".
He told Cork's 96fm Opinion Line he finds it "hard to believe" it was a copy and past error on the Tusla report and said there appears to be "unrelenting" attacks on Sgt McCabe for years.
"The Commissioner herself should assess where she stands," he said.
This afternoon Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Commissioner was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
The Taoiseach stressed that the commission needs to begin its work immediately - and he warned people to offer fairness to all involved including Commissioner O'Sullivan.
"I note the comment from the Commissioner of the Gardai," said Mr Kenny at a jobs announcement in Cork.
"Everybody in this country is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and, in this case, the quicker that commission of investigation gets underway and to do its work the better for everybody concerned."
"There is an issue to be addressed here in the country at the moment."
"That is in respect of a man whose family have been seriously maligned in respect of erroneous allegations of sexual abuse."
"In order to deal with this the Government wish to set up a commission of investigation to deal with those allegations to determine the truth."
"The reason for that is when two protected disclosures, under law, were received by the Minister for Justice (Frances Fitzgerald) these were sent within four days to a judge who examined these protected disclosures although the minister cannot comment on these protected disclosures or be asked to comment on this.
"In that regard the judge decided there should be a commission of inquiry, the terms of reference should be adopted and we set out those terms of reference."
"The really important thing now is that the Government set up a commission of investigation and proceed to work as quickly as possible."
"Nobody that I know of wants to prevent this happening. This is important and the Government are open and willing to engage with everybody to see that this is effective to do its work and I would point out that the judge chosen to deal with this commission of investigation is a very experienced forensic judge who can commence work this week."
"Every day that passes that this commission is not able to do its work means further delay in the determination of the truth of the allegations or otherwise."
"I do hope that everybody concerned, the political process which cannot determine the outcome but whose function it is, led by Government, who set the commission of investigation in train and conclude its job on that tomorrow, and start its work this very week as the judge is in a position to do."