Thursday 22 March 2018

Varadkar calls on gardaí to come forward in Dáil speech

  • Belief in Fine Gael's reputation as law and order party shaken
  • No mention of Kenny in minister’s speech

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe is owed a "full and unequivocal apology" from the Government, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said tonight.

Mr Varadkar will say Sgt McCabe’s service to the State "has not just been distinguished, it has been heroic".

In his speech the minister also indicated that belief in Fine Gael’s position as "the party of law and order and a party of integrity in public office" by events of the past week.

"But we can and will put things right," he said.

His contribution made no mention of embattled party leader Enda Kenny who is fighting for his political career.

Instead Mr Varadkar used his speech to praise whistleblowers and call on more to come forward.

The minister famously intervened to defend Maurice McCabe after his actions were described as "disgusting" by former garda commissioner Martin Callinan in 2014.

At the time he said "If I was to use one word, the word I would have used would be distinguished".

On Wednesday he said:

"I have absolutely no doubt in my own mind, from what I know and have heard, that Sgt McCabe was subjected to a scurrilous whispering campaign designed to discredit him.

"What I do not know, is exactly who was involved and the extent to which it was organised."

He argued that the public inquiry must get to the truth but that for that to happen others must come forward. 

"We now need to know whether similar campaigns were organised against other Gardaí, against public figures and private citizens.

"Tonight, I call on all those with information to come forward.  In particular, I call on individual Gardaí who spread rumours, passed to them by superiors, believing them to be true, to come forward and offer to give evidence to the public inquiry.  You too were deceived and are not to blame," he said.

"I believe the Government owes a full and unequivocal apology to Sgt McCabe for the appalling treatment he endured at the hands of Gardaí, State agencies and government departments. We need to restore trust in these key institutions. We start by showing that we are willing to be contrite."

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