Sunday 18 March 2018

Government in crisis: Timeline of an extraordinary day of drama

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins Newsdesk Newsdesk

An extraordinary day of drama - here's what happened on Monday, February 13:

Early morning:

  • The Irish Independent reveals that the disputed meeting between Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan took place in the Dáil bar.
  • Mr O'Callaghan claims he told her there was an issue around a Tusla file on Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and that 'Prime Time' would be broadcasting a report on it on Thursday night. Mrs Fitzgerald later insisted the first she learned of the Tusla file was from that broadcast.
  • Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar cut short his trip to Colombia to return in time for tomorrow's vote of no confidence.
  • Mr O'Callaghan insists during various radio interviews in the course of the morning that he "100pc" told Mrs Fitzgerald about the Tusla file last Wednesday.
  • Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin tells Cork's 96fm that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan should "assess" her position in light of the ongoing controversy.


Mrs Fitzgerald avoids the media after she delivered a speech at the launch of a report on a prisoner parenting programme.


Sinn Féin publishes its motion of no-confidence in the Government, to be debated in the Dáil tomorrow.

Supt David Taylor. Photo: Courts Collins
Supt David Taylor. Photo: Courts Collins


Garda Commissioner Ms O'Sullivan releases a statement, saying: "A campaign of false accusations, repeated and multiplied, do not make me guilty of anything." She said the "easiest option" would be for her to step aside but she wouldn't do that because she was "innocent".

3.30pm:in a bus

It emerges that another Garda whistleblower, Superintendent David Taylor, has been cleared of leaking information. The former head of the Garda Press Office was arrested in May 2015 in connection with the alleged leaking of material relating to a case involving two Roma children and their feared abduction.

Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke
Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke

The Director of Public Prosecutions told him yesterday he is no longer under investigation.

He later released a statement saying he feels "vindicated". Mr Taylor has alleged that Ms O'Sullivan knew about a smear campaign against Mr McCabe. The Commissioner has consistently denied this charge.


Children Minister Katherine Zappone reveals that she told Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the Tusla link to the whistleblower controversy before last Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Ms Zappone met Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine last month. On Sunday, Mr Kenny said he knew of the meeting but not the detail of Ms Zappone's discussions with the McCabes.


The McCabes release a statement rejecting the planned Commission of Investigation. They say they have been "systematically attacked in a number of ways" by State agencies.

The statement says any future inquiry into the alleged smear campaign by Garda management should be held in public. "We are entitled to the truth - justice can follow in its wake," it said.


A spokesman for the Taoiseach insists Mr Kenny wasn't aware of the details of the "very serious and disturbing issues" that were discussed at the meeting between Ms Zappone and the McCabes. The spokesman said Ms Zappone "quite rightly respected his right to privacy and confidentiality in relation to these matters".


It is revealed that Supt Taylor has been reinstated to the force after he was cleared by the DPP earlier in the day.


Irish Independent

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