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Monday 19 March 2018

Ruairi Quinn: 'I have every confidence in Attorney General'

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn

Katherine Donnelly Education Editor

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said he had “every confidence “in Attorney General Maire Whelan in the face of the controversy over how long she knew about the taping of phone calls in Garda station before advising the Government.

The minister said he “would commend the Attorney General for way in which she has acted promptly”.

Ms Whelan was advised of the taped phone calls last November but only told the Taoiseach last Sunday.

Mr Quinn said he was not concerned about that time lapse because the Attorney General had “a specific job to do, which was to analyse the risk to the State of certain legal cases that were in process and which, depending which way they might be adjudicated, would have an implication for the State.

He said the Attorney General carried out such risk analysis on a quarterly basis to assess different cases and what the likely outcome would be should the State lose

“In the course of her doing that exercise, it became apparent to her that there was an additional dimension to this that was of concern and that it what she conveyed to the Taoiseach.”

He said that was why they set up the Commission of Investigation, to be headed by a senior serving or retired judge.

“There aren’t facts the ground yet. There are concerns that tapes could contain some very difficult facts, which might cause difficulties in whole host of legal actions”.

Mr Quinn also said that Justice Minister Alan Shatter had “answered all his questions”.

“He can clarify the process in his department about documentation coming in and out but the real thing is we have responded quickly and responsibility as a Cabinet to set up a commission.  Let them get on with job, come back and tell is what is there”.


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