Flanagan agrees to Kelly Request for Departmental Trawl Regarding Co-operation with O’Higgins and O’Neill

17 April 2018

Questioning the Minister for Justice today in the Dáil, Labour TD Alan Kelly had asked if the Minister is satisfied that his Department provided full information to and co-operated fully with the O’Higgins commission and the O’Neill report into Garda whistleblower claims; and if he has asked his officials for assurances regarding same

Deputy Kelly secured the agreement of the Minister that he would be happy to pursue the matter further.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I want to thank Minister Flanagan for agreeing to conducting a trawl of the Department of Justice regarding its co-operation with both the O’Higgins Commission and the O’Neill Report into Garda Whistleblowers.

“Today, I asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if given all the new information in the public domain, he has satisfied himself that his Department provided full information to and cooperated fully with the O’Higgins Commission and the O’Neill report Into Garda whistleblower claims; and if he has asked his officials for assurances regarding same.

“We all know what happened in here last November with regards to my questions to the Department, so given the new information emerging and the now known ‘hand in glove’ relationship between the Department of Justice and Senior Management in an Garda Siochana, I asked the Minister to send an email to ‘send all’ in the Department of Justice and ask was there any information that anyone in the Dept should have given to either O’Higgins or O’Neill? I asked him to do this because if you listen to the evidence down at Dublin Castle at the Charleton Tribunal, is it really credible to say that the Dept of Justice ‘told it all’ when it came to both enquiries, whose terms of references they set themselves.

“The O’Neill report sets the basis the terms of reference into the Charleton Tribunal and only for the questions I asked last November no one from the Department of Justice would potentially have made statements to it or appeared at it, why, because they set the terms of reference in the first place.

“Surely if the Department did provide all the information we now know they knew to O’Neill, well then the very same Department would have formed part of the Terms of Reference of the Tribunal in the first place? And if all this information was provided to O’Neill, by extension, it would not have had to be dragged out through questions to the Department to be sent to Charleton. It seems that information that should certainly have been brought to the attention of O’Neill wasn’t and is now being revealed in Charleton. This needs to be answered by the Department. They cant say we finally revealed everything to Charleton when they should have done so to O’Neill? He actually had all the powers to interview and get facts but the Department never pointed him in their direction. Whose managing institutional knowledge in the Department of Justice?

“Finally, The Minister said in his contribution in the Dail that his Department did provide ‘other correspondence’ to O’Neill I would ask him to publish this immediately.

“Ultimately, we need to have full confidence that the Houses of the Oireachtas and indeed the Government were respected by the Dept of Justice and both O’Higgins and O’Neill were provided with full information and co-operation by the Department”

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