Tuesday 24 October 2017

McCabe family's call for public inquiry to get 'fair hearing' at Cabinet

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Fianna Fail TD and barrister Jim O'Callaghan Photo: Tom Burke
Labour leader Brendan Howlin Photo: Tom Burke

Cormac McQuinn and Ralph Riegel

Opposition parties, including Fianna Fáil have backed a call from Garda Whistleblower for a public inquiry into an alleged smear campaign, casting further doubt on the future of the inquiry.

In a statement on Monday Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine said they have been systematically attacked.

“We wish to make it clear that we are definitely not agreeable to that entitlement being wholly postponed so that another Commission of Inquiry can conduct a secret investigation behind closed doors and make a report, into which we have no input as of right, in nine or 18 months time.”

Independent.ie understands that the idea of a public inquiry “will get a fair hearing” at what is set to be a tense Cabinet meeting today.

Earlier on Monday , Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said his party backs Mr McCabe's call for a public inquiry.

He said: “I have studied the statement issued on behalf of Maurice McCabe this afternoon seeking a public inquiry into the alleged smear campaign conducted against him.

“Fianna Fáil has long maintained that the response to this issue must have the full support of the McCabe family. Accordingly we fully support their call for a public inquiry to be conducted into this matter. We also believe a public inquiry will benefit An Garda Síochána and the general public,” Mr O'Callaghan added.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has also said that he understands the call from Mr McCabe for a public inquiry, and backed the family.

"I am very loathe to say we need to have a public inquiry again... but I have never in my political life seen a more compelling reason to have one than we need one now," he said, speaking on the Six One.

"Unfortunately I do think we need to have all of this evidence taken public so that the public will see each of the issues being tested in a public forum."

He also said there is scope for GSOC to carry out an investigation that "would get to the bottom of all of these matters".

The politician also said that both Minister Zappone and the Taoiseach contradicted each other about who knew what about the scandal.

Mr Howlin also called again on Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to stand aside until matters had been resolved.

Earlier on Monday the commissioner repeated again that she refuted all allegations against her that she was aware of an alleged smear campaign against Garda McCab

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny declined to answer questions about the McCabe family's demands for the proposed inquiry to be a public rather than private investigation.

Mr Kenny confirmed he will speak with Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin tomorrow about details of the commission of inquiry into the false allegations levelled against Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Both the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil leaders will attempt to reach agreement about the probe to be headed by Judge Charlton.

"I will speak to Micheal Martin in the morning," Mr Kenny said.

"We want to find the best way of finding out the truth."

The Taoiseach was speaking as he attended a Cork conference about the implications for Ireland of Brexit.

The Taoiseach also declined to comment on the statement by Children's Minister Katherine Zappone and her reasons for not disclosing the full Tusla file details to him before last Thursday's RTE Prime Time programme.

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