Labour calls on Minister for Justice and Equality to apologise to Dáil Éireann

Issued 23 November 2017

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has today called on the Minister for Justice and Equality to apologise to Dáil Éireann for his failings and those of his Department to prevent incorrect information from being repeatedly provided to parliament.

“Earlier today, I warned that a focus on whether the Dáil has confidence in the Tánaiste risked diverting attention from the issues relating to Maurice McCabe that still need answering. While the Labour Party will support any such motion, it is clear now that Minister Flanagan also has serious questions to answer.

“We have now discovered that, following a question tabled by my colleague Alan Kelly on 8th November, the Department became aware on 9th November of an email to then-Justice Minister Fitzgerald notifying her as to the legal strategy being pursued by an Garda Síochána to undermine Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.

“The current Minister for Justice and Equality was notified of this email on 13th November, and has said that he simply instructed that it be passed to the Disclosures Tribunal – an instruction that it appears was not acted on. The same Minister was in attendance at Leaders’ Questions on 14th November, when the Taoiseach gave his first incorrect statement to the Dáil on this matter.

“He was also in attendance the following day, when the issue was raised again, and the Taoiseach once more gave incorrect information to the Dáil. At no time did the Minister act to inform the Taoiseach that the information being conveyed to the Dáil was incorrect. Indeed, the Taoiseach has stated that he only became aware of this at 11.30pm on 20th November – a full week after the Minister for Justice and Equality was informed of it.

“The Minister for Justice and Equality should today apologise to Dáil Éireann for the significant number of occasions on which his Department has caused false information to be provided to Dáil Éireann over recent weeks. Further, he should outline the actions he is taking to prevent the recurrence of such maladministration.”