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Monday 11 December 2017

Kenny denies criticising justice system with comments on trial

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Lise Hand, Fionnan Sheahan and Craig Hughes

Taoiseach Enda Kenny denied he criticised the justice system in Mauritius yesterday, following the acquittal of the two suspects in the Michaela McAreavey murder trial.

Mr Kenny's comments that justice "clearly hasn't been done" following the result of the trial came as a Fine Gael MEP called for a boycott of Mauritius by Irish tourists.

In the wake of the verdict, the Taoiseach referred to the "sense of injustice that the decision was the way it was".

But his spokesman said last night he was not criticising the justice system or the outcome of the trial and merely empathising with the family during a very traumatic period.

The spokesman added that the Taoiseach had also pointed out the Government could not interfere in the judicial process in Mauritius.

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly, a former GAA president, posted on his Facebook page that there was "no justice for Michaela McAreavey" in Mauritius.

"It is a massive indictment of Mauritius authorities' incompetence. No Irish should visit Mauritius yet until justice is done," he said.

When contacted by the Irish Independent yesterday, Mr Kelly stood over his remarks.

"I think it is something that we should consider. I know the family very well and I know her father well, and I think we should stand by them now in their time of need.

"This happened in a hotel, where you're supposed to be safe and we have to ask if other tourists who go there will be safe.

Heartbroken

"It's more of a protest, to ensure justice is done and the case is not forgotten about and to express our dissatisfaction with the Mauritian authorities. According to media reports the entire trial has been a farce," he said.

A spokesperson for Fine Gael said that Mr Kelly was "expressing his own view and not that of the party". Fianna Fail TD Dara Callery said calling on Irish people to boycott the country would not achieve anything.

"Everybody is heartbroken for the McAreavey family, but calls to boycott Mauritius are not going to solve the problem. I think there should be contact, at a high level, to ensure that the case is fully pursued. A boycott would affect people on the island who had no link to the case at all," he said.

Mr Kenny said he was "absolutely heartbroken" for Michaela's family.

Commenting on the acquittal, he said: "I noted the words of the prime minister that justice will be done and justice will be seen to be done -- and clearly it hasn't been done."

Expressing his sympathies with the two families, Mr Kenny offered his condolences on behalf of the Irish people.

"A beautiful young Irish woman was murdered, and her husband has been out there for the last seven or eight weeks facing the consequences of the trial which brought nobody to justice. For the McAreavey family and for Michaela's family on behalf of the people, I just want to empathise with the depth of their grief and the sense of injustice that the decision was the way it was," he said.

Irish Independent

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