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Friday 21 July 2017

Taoiseach says Minister Zappone took 'correct course of action' by not divulging to him details of Tulsa link to Maurice McCabe

Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs walks onto the plinth in Leinster House to speak to journalists. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/2/2017
Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs walks onto the plinth in Leinster House to speak to journalists. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/2/2017
Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs walks onto the plinth in Leinster House to speak to journalists. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/2/2017
Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs walks onto the plinth in Leinster House to speak to journalists. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 13/2/2017
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone. Photo: Tom Burke
Whistleblower: Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Children's Minister Katherine has said she told Taoiseach Enda Kenny about a Tusla link to Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

And in another major development Sergeant Maurice McCabe has issued a statement seeking to the Commission of Investigation into the alleged smear campaign against him to be held in public.

As the crisis over the Government’s dealing with the Garda whistleblower scandal continues to grow, Ms Zappone described how she couldn’t sleep after meeting with the McCabe family.

She said they told her of “extraordinary and vile allegations” and she felt the need to keep them private in order to protect the McCabes.

However, she revealed that she told Taoiseach Enda Kenny that there was a Tusla link to the scandal prior to the Cabinet agreeing the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation.

Responding to Ms Zappone’s statement, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach told Independent.ie: "Minister Zappone, as Minister with responsibility for Tulsa, engaged with Maurice McCabe about very sensitive and personal matters.

“She quite rightly respected his right to privacy and confidentiality in relation to these matters.

“As the Taoiseach has said previously, he was not aware of the details, or of the very serious and disturbing issues that arose at the meeting.

“As Minister Zappone confirmed today, she did not divulge any of the details of these very serious issues to the Taoiseach or to anyone else in Government. This was absolutely the correct course of action."

As a result of a “copy and paste” error the Tusla file contained allegations that Sgt McCabe had molested a child.

The Children’s Minister, who was in the United States when the scandal erupted, said she warned the Taoiseach about a file but did not disclose its content.

She did not inform the Cabinet when it discussed the Commission of Investigation last Tuesday as she wanted to ensure there would be no public leaks.

Ms Zappone said she has not considered resigning but there is a need to restore confidence in Tusla and therefore has

“As Minister with responsibility for Tusla, I have asked HIQA, the Health Information Quality Authority, to undertake an independent Statutory Investigation, under Section 9 of the Health Act 2007, into how Tusla manages allegations of child abuse,” she said.

“In conjunction with the CEO of HIQA, Mr Phelim Quinn, the terms of reference for the Statutory Investigation will be drawn up as a priority to ensure a focussed and timely Investigation.  I intend to seek advice from the Attorney General, to ensure that its work does not interfere with the work of the Commission of Inquiry.”

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