Monday 11 December 2017

Government TD says public inquiry into whistleblower scandal 'not the way to go'

FG TD said Katherine Zappone made a 'political mistake' over terms of reference of inquiry

Michael D'Arcy (left) and Maurice McCabe
Michael D'Arcy (left) and Maurice McCabe
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A government backbencher has claimed a public inquiry into the latest garda whistleblower scandal could prove costly and fail to deliver results.

Yesterday garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe called for a public inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against him.

In a statement with his wife Lorraine, he said a secret investigation should not be conducted "behind closed doors". Opposition parties, including Fianna Fáil, have backed the calls.

However Wexford TD Michael D'Arcy told Newstalk Breakfast that the Commission of Investigation under Mr Justice Peter Charleton might be the most effective way to deal with the matter.

Asked if he thought a public inquiry was a good idea the Fine Gael deputy said he did not.

"I have watched the other tribunals that you mentioned take years and years, everyone has to be represented.

"Before you know it, five years have gone and there has been no real evidence.

"I don't want that to happen. I have a lot of confidence in Supreme Court Justice [Peter] Charleton. I think he can come in, do a very short, sharp investigation into the nub of the matter as quickly as possible."

Mr D'Arcy said he can understand the McCabes' reservations in relation to a private investigation but added that he still believed a public inquiry was not the way forward.

The Co Wexford TD described the tussle over Enda Kenny's leadership as a "side-show" and said that now was not the time to be discussing this.

However he criticised Children's Minister Katherine Zappone for her handling of the affair.

"In my view the big mistake was the cabinet was not informed last Tuesday about the extent of the Tusla issue.

"I know Katherine Zappone, I served with her in the Seanad in the last term of the Oireachtas, I don't know anybody as honorable, she truly is a kind, decent honorable person but she made a political mistake and the political mistake was that I don't think she should have informed the Taoiseach or the Tanaiste. I think she absolutely should have informed her cabinet when the terms of reference were being discussed.

"I think everything else is secondary."

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