12 February 2017

Commenting after the Week in Politics, Alan Kelly TD has said that there are still serious questions outstanding following the breakdown in collective cabinet responsibility this week. Minister Frances Fitzgerald was aware of the role of TUSLA in another whistleblower’s case and had received many letters on it and failed to connect this to a meeting between the Minister responsible for TUSLA and Sergeant McCabe.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Minister Fitzgerald knew in October from a second Whistleblower that he had concerns regarding how his family were treated by TUSLA so when Minister Zappone told her she was meeting the McCabe’s regarding his concerns, why didn’t she connect the two? Here we have two Whistleblowers with concerns about the one agency and yet she didn’t see a pattern or think this deserved to be in the Commission’s terms of reference. The Minister needs to answer questions on this and also whether she even referred his concerns to TUSLA or Minister Zappone.

“Today on the Week in Politics, the Minister for Justice provided her version of what happened regarding interactions with Minister Zappone and Sergeant McCabe. It was revealed Minister Zappone called Frances Fitzgerald on the morning of the 25th January, to inform her of her upcoming meeting with the McCabes.

“At the heart of this is the failure of the Minister for Justice and the Taoiseach to ask Minister Zappone what the meeting with Sergeant McCabe was about, and whether it might impact on the establishment of a Commission of Investigation.

“Minister Fitzgerald was also aware of the role of Tusla in another whistleblower case and never connected the dots, nor asked any questions of Minister Zappone on what impact if any, of her meeting might have on a Commission of Investigation that they discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday, less than two weeks on from 25th January.

“Minister Zappone failed to inform the Cabinet about the apology that was to be issued from Tusla to Sergeant McCabe.

“Both the Minister for Justice and the Taoiseach failed to follow up with Minister Zappone on her meeting. The Taoiseach confirmed on the This Week show that he didn’t ask what the meeting was about.

“Neither the Taoiseach nor the Minister for Justice have adequately answered as to why they did not ask Minister Zappone what her meeting was about, and consider whether it might impact on the Charleton Commission they planned to set up.

“Those questions must be answered.”

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