Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Everybody entitled to presumption of innocence' - Taoiseach says Commissioner deserves fairness

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned that Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan is entitled to fairness as he said he noted her warning that she would not step aside pending an investigation into the treatment of Garda whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

But Mr Kenny refused to answer reporters questions about whether he still supported the Garda Commissioner or when a detailed breakdown would be offered of precisely what Cabinet members knew about a false Tusla file involving the sergeant.

Mr Kenny also refused to answer questions about what information Justice Minister France's Fitzgerald and Children's Minister Katherine Zappone had about the controversial Tusla file.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheal Martin, had asked Commissioner O'Sullivan to assess her position given the damaging controversies of the past five days.

But Commissioner O'Sullivan ruled out stepping aside while a commission of inquiry begins its work which is expected to last for nine months.

"My position remains unchanged," the Garda boss said.

The Taoiseach stressed that the commission needs to begin its work immediately - and he warned people to offer fairness to all involved including Commissioner O'Sullivan.

"I note the comment from the Commissioner of the Gardai," Mr Kenny said.

"Everybody in this country is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and, in this case, the quicker that commission of investigation gets underway and to do its work the better for everybody concerned."

"There is an issue to be addressed here in the country at the moment."

"That is in respect of a man whose family have been seriously maligned in respect of erroneous allegations of sexual abuse."

"In order to deal with this the Government wish to set up a commission of investigation to deal with those allegations to determine the truth."

"The reason for that is when two protected disclosures, under law, were received by the Minister for Justice (Frances Fitzgerald) these were sent within four days to a judge who examined these protected disclosures although the minister cannot comment on these protected disclosures or be asked to comment on this.

"In that regard the judge decided there should be a commission of inquiry, the terms of reference should be adopted and we set out those terms of reference."

"The really important thing now is that the Government set up a commission of investigation and proceed to work as quickly as possible."

"Nobody that I know of wants to prevent this happening. This is important and the Government are open and willing to engage with everybody to see that this is effective to do its work and I would point out that the judge chosen to deal with this commission of investigation is a very experienced forensic judge who can commence work this week."

"Every day that passes that this commission is not able to do its work means further delay in the determination of the truth of the allegations or otherwise."

"I do hope that everybody concerned, the political process which cannot determine the outcome but whose function it is, led by Government, who set the commission of investigation in train and conclude its job on that tomorrow, and start its work this very week as the judge is in a position to do."

Online Editors

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