Saturday 29 April 2017

Web of deceit at heart of Garda smear probe

In happier times: Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Katherine Zappone last year Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
In happier times: Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Katherine Zappone last year Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Niall O'Connor and Kevin Doyle

The minority Coalition Government has been plunged into its worst crisis since taking office by the fallout from the Garda whistleblower probe.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's administration is in danger of losing a first minister since coming to power nine months ago.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone last night insisted she did not tell any other members of the Government about a false accusation of sexual abuse against Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe. The allegation arose from a clerical error in the child and family support agency, Tusla.

The incident is the latest in a series of mistreatments of Sgt McCabe by agencies of the State.

Sgt McCabe has praised Ms Zappone's handling of his case.

Ms Zappone is defending her failure to inform her colleagues about the situation with Tusla.

Her spokesperson told the Irish Independent it would have been "highly inappropriate for the minister to brief the Cabinet on confidential, highly sensitive and personal information which one could reasonably assume was the subject of a protected disclosure".

The minister believed Tusla would be subject to the Commission of Inquiry and therefore she did not need to alert Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, the spokesman said.

Irish Independent

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