Wednesday 13 November 2019

Fine Gael TDs accused of dodging 'heavy lifting' on Templemore report

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock. Photo: Tom Burke

Kevin Doyle and Cormac McQuinn

A row has broken out in Fine Gael over the party's response to the Templemore report with two TDs accused of dodging the "heavy lifting".

Senior party figures claim Noel Rock and Alan Farrell "went missing" as pressure came on Fine Gael to explain why the party retains full confidence in Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, despite the PAC's findings.

Another of the party's PAC members, Josepha Madigan, recently stepped off the committee to take up her role as chair of the Budgetary Committee, leaving Longford/Westmeath TD Peter Burke to defend the party line.

"Noel is constantly out talking about other issues and Alan seems to think he should be sitting at the Cabinet table, but they have been nowhere to be seen," said one minister.

Mr Burke has taken part in a series of interviews since the report's launch, repeatedly insisting "cultural issues" need to be addressed in An Garda Síochána.

During robust interviews on Newstalk and RTÉ he also suggested that other members of the PAC who have been calling for Ms O'Sullivan to resign will not be able to describe themselves as impartial when she next appears before the committee.

Records for the 42 PAC meetings held in the past year show Mr Rock has attended 40pc, while Mr Farrell attended 66pc. This compares with 74pc for Ms Madigan and 81pc for Mr Burke.

Mr Rock said it would be "far more credible" if those criticising him were to make their points publicly.

"We had an agreed approach to this and I think Peter is doing a good job. I'll be doing radio on this at the weekend."

Mr Farrell said he took a "dim view" of anonymous criticism. He said the PAC often clashed with the Justice Committee which he had considered his priority as there are fewer Fine Gael members.

He is currently on three days' leave, but watched the PAC launch online and praised Mr Burke's contributions.

Irish Independent

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