Tag Archives: Department of Justice

This morning.

In the Irish Examiner.

Michael Clifford and Cormac O’Keeffe reported on an answer to a parliamentary question put down by Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.

The answer, published on Tuesday, revealed that the email accounts of the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and her special advisers were not looked at as part of the “trawl” for documents in the Department of Justice relevant to the Disclosures Tribunal.

The tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whisteblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

On the same day, Mr Flanagan, in an answer to a separate parliamentary question, revealed the Disclosures Tribunal issued discovery orders on the Department of Justice in February, April and September of this year.

Readers may wish to note that, in response to the question asked by Ms Shortall, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said:

While the email accounts of the then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and her advisors were not specifically examined as part of the recent trawl for documents, I can confirm that the email accounts of officials working in relevant areas of the Department were searched and that this exercise would of course encompass emails sent from or to the then Minister and her advisors on any such matters.

“I would point out that all discovery orders issued by the Tribunal were complied with fully. The Department has also made extensive voluntary disclosure of other matters including three protected disclosures, reports from the Garda Commissioner under section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act and, most recently, the two email threads that were uncovered following a trawl of documents in the Department.

“In acknowledging receipt of the emails, the Tribunal made reference to my Department’s already extensive discovery which has allowed the Tribunal to place the current documents in context.

I am assured that in the event of further documents being located that may be of relevance to the Tribunal’s work that these will of course be furnished to the Tribunal and I would point out that, the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach has announced that there will be an external examination of the way in which my Department fulfilled its obligations in relation to discovering documents to the Tribunal, to conclude before Christmas. That is a step I welcome.”

“I can assure the Deputy that any further Discovery Orders to be made by the Tribunal will also be complied with in full and the Tribunal has been assured of my full and ongoing support in that regard.”

Meanwhile…

Yesterday…

After the a meeting of the joint Oireachtas committee on justice and equality, which was attended by Deputy Secretary General at the Department of Justice Oonagh McPhilips…

In the Dail…

Labour TD Alan Kelly said to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:

“There is an element of denial about what is going on. I spent a period of time at the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality this morning and genuinely ask the Taoiseach to ask his colleagues, Deputy Colm Brophy and Senator Martin Conway, who made good contributions about what happened. It was extraordinary.

“Given everything that has gone on and the information we have received through persistent questioning and with help from the media, we still have departmental officials coming to the committee to state the Department provided the information that it had been requested to provide during discovery.

“That is it – nothing has changed. The meeting was deeply worrying. I asked a specific question. I asked if private email addresses that potentially had been used by senior officials for departmental business and mobile phone records had been provided for the tribunal. The answer was that they had not been asked for them.

I had to ask the officials to ask Mr. Justice Charleton if he wanted this information. Is that not crazy? Has anything changed? We were also told that the information provided had been provided based on the questions asked and that there might be other documentation available.

In effect, they are acting as judge and jury and as a filtering system in providing information for the Charleton tribunal. The trawl has not changed anything. The culture has not changed.

“There are three specific issues. First, the way in which parliamentary questions are answered has not changed. The Taoiseach made a commitment in the Dáil that it would. I have evidence from yesterday. I am receiving far more text, but I am not getting answers in seeking facts, not speculation.

“Second, when it comes to the information being provided for the Charleton tribunal, we need a volte-face in attitude. The Department needs to provide everything. It needs to err on the side of providing too much. Information on the specific issues I have raised has not been sent.

“Third, I note that last week the Taoiseach was provided with a summary under section 41 by the acting Garda Commissioner. What is he going to do about this? It has to be acted on immediately. It is not a case of writing back and asking more questions.

The tribunal will be live for the next couple of months and we need this unit to be dealt with. We need answers quickly because it is having a dramatic impact on the operations of the tribunal.

The Taoiseach should remember that the Department has received lots of correspondence from certain witnesses who have issues and concerns about this issue, on top of the 29 parliamentary questions from me.”

Transcripts via Oireachtas.ie

Email trawl for Charleton Tribunal omitted Frances Fitzgerald (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: ‘The Minister Would Have Done Nothing Wrong If She Had… Expressed Her Dissatisfaction With The Approach’

Rollingnews


Meeting of the joint Oireachtas committee on justice and equality; Deputy Secretary General at the Department of Justice Oonagh McPhilips

Readers may recall Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s resignation last week…

And the resignation of the secretary general of the Department of Justice Noel Waters…

And how the resignations were largely prompted by the emergence of an email, of May 15, 2015, in which Michael Flahive, of the Department of Justice, wrote to Ms Fitzgerald’s private secretary Christopher Quattrociocchi in which he relayed the contents of a phone call he received from Richard Barrett, of the Attorney General’s office, about Sgt Maurice McCabe and the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation…

Department of Justice officials, including deputy secretary general at the department Oonagh McPhilips, are appearing before the Oireachtas justice and equality committee this morning.

Further to this…

RTE reports:

“The most senior civil servant in the Department of Justice has defended the advice given to the former justice minister Frances Fitzgerald in relation to the legal strategy deployed by gardaí before the O’Higgins Commission.

Oonagh McPhillips told the Oireachtas Justice Committee that the department’s advice to a minister would consistently be that they should not be involved in any way in a case to be presented by another party before a commission of investigation.

“….However, under questioning from Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan about an email sent to Ms Fitzgerald informing her of the adversarial approach being taken by the legal team for the Garda Commissioner in relation to Sergeant Maurice McCabe, Ms McPhillips accepted that the minister would have done nothing wrong if she had discussed this email with her own officials, and expressed her dissatisfaction with the approach.

She could express that view, but the advice from the department would be that there’s nothing you can do about it”, Ms McPhillips said.”

Watch the proceedings live here


The full unabridged email that may bring down the current government.

Michael Flahive, of the Department of Justice, sent this to Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s private secretary Christopher Quattrociocchi on May 15, 2015, which was subsequently sent to her.

Ms Fitzgerald has said she can’t recall receiving the email.

In it, Mr Flahive says he received a call from Richard Barrett, of the Attorney General’s office, and that, according to Mr Barrett, a row had taken place at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation between the legal counsel for Sgt Maurice McCabe and the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

Mr Flahive claims Mr Barrett told him the row occurred because the counsel for Ms O’Sullivan wanted to introduce a complaint that the 2006 investigation into Ms D’s ‘dry humping’ allegation against Sgt McCabe wasn’t investigated properly.

Mr Flahive outlined that Michael McDowell, SC for Sgt McCabe, objected to this being raised and asked if Ms O’Sullivan had authorised the argument that this claim was relevant to Sgt McCabe’s motivation.

Mr Flahive explained that Mr Barrett said Ms O’Sullivan had authorised this approach.

On Tuesday night, Sgt McCabe told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the alleged events outlined in this email never happened.

Readers should recall Ms Fitzgerald, in May 2015, received a lengthy report from GSOC in which it stated the 2006 investigation was carried out correctly.

That GSOC investigation followed a complaint made by Ms D, which was discussed at the Disclosures Tribunal when Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams gave evidence.

When Ms D gave a statement to GSOC, on July 3, 2014, Ms D told GSOC Mr Williams told her senior members of An Garda Siochana and Government were aware of her allegations.

When asked about this, Mr Williams said it was a “throwaway remark” that the then head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor said to him and that he later relayed it to Ms D.

Related: ‘This Is About A Failure To Stand By Maurice McCabe’ 

Derek Mooney: What Happened

Previously: Absence Of Malice

In DPP Trouble

Disclosures, Discrepancies And Paul Williams

CeU-Du6UMAA1Y13Screen-Shot-2016-03-07-at-15.34.17-1024x555

From top: People at Moria detention centre in Lesbos; acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Brussels for a meeting between Turkey and the EU heads of government on March 7

Further to the EU/Turkey deal

On Tuesday, journalist Oscar Webb, from Lesbos island, reported:

Up to 190 shipping containers are on their way to Lesvos, Samos and Chios, to be used as offices by 600 EU asylum officials and 430 interpreters. According to the terms of the deal between the EU and Turkey that came into effect on 20 March, ‘all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands … will be returned to Turkey’.

Sixty judges will preside over appeals committees – also to take place in containers – for people who do not immediately accept deportation orders. And 2500 police, security and army personnel from Greece and other EU states, with eight ships and thirty coaches, will enforce the deportations. Until the material and manpower arrive, the refugees and asylum seekers are waiting in detention camps on the islands.

On Lesvos, close to a thousand refugees – the unlucky ones who arrived, in some cases only by minutes, after the 20 March deadline – have been placed in the island’s only detention centre, near the village of Moria.

They were met at sea and on the beaches by police who took their photos, gave them numbered wristbands, issued them with arrest papers (‘you have been legally arrested … currently you are being held here legally and temporarily … please be patient’) and took them to the camp. More arrive almost every day.

Conditions are bad in the Moria camp. The Greek authorities are struggling to look after the detainees without the help of charities and volunteers. Last week, the UNHCR, Médicins sans Frontières, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and the Norwegian Refugee Council all said they were pulling out.

Further to this…

The Department of Justice released a statement earlier this morning, saying:

Ireland will shortly be sending three international protection case work experts to the Greek Islands. The experts will come from the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

Ireland will also be offering the services of two members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to support the establishment of Appeals Committees. This is also being coordinated by EASO [European Asylum Support Office].

The agreement requires that the return of irregular migrants to Turkey will take place in full accordance with EU and international law. Furthermore, all migrants must be protected in accordance with the relevant international standards and in respect of the principle of non-refoulement.

This contribution will be on top of the four Irish experts sent earlier this year from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner to Greece and Italy to support the relocation of asylum seekers under the EU Relocation Programme.

Ireland is also considering a request from Frontex to EU Member States for the deployment of border Guards to assist in the return of people from Greece to Turkey in compliance with international law. There are some limitations on what Ireland can do, given it is not a member of Frontex, but it would like to help where it can.

Meanwhile, Hannah Lucinda Smith, in The Times reports:

Turkish border forces are shooting refugees dead as they flee the civil war in Syria, The Times has learnt.

Sixteen migrants, including three children, were killed by guards as they crossed into Turkey over the past four months, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring organisation.

An officer in the British-backed Free Syrian Police and a Syrian smuggler living in Turkey said that the true number was higher.

The deaths cast further doubt on an EU migrant deal struck 11 days ago. It classes Turkey as a “safe third country”, meaning refugees can be returned there without fear of persecution.

Update on implementation of the EU – Turkey migration agreement (Department of Justice)

Waiting for the containers (LRB blog, Oscar Webb)

Turks shoot to kill as refugees cross border (The Times)

Previously: ‘Can Ireland Not Do Any More?’

Ireland And The Turkey Refugee Facility

Turkey Basting

Top pic: Oscar Webb

H/T: Subpri.me

Kate-Fitzgerald

Kate Fitzgerald, who was found dead on August 23, 2011

Today’s Irish Examiner reports:

“The Department of Justice is to re-examine the Garda investigation into the 2011 death of PR executive Kate Fitzgerald, after repeated claims from her family the original case was flawed.

In a coroner’s case last year, the death of the 25-year-old PR executive and former chair of the US Democratic Party Abroad in Ireland was ruled a suicide.

However, after subsequent questions from her family, it emerged a number of standard procedures used to rule out other potential causes of death were not followed.

These include a failure to take photographs of the scene before clothing and other belongings were removed; no examination of the cupboard in which Ms Fitzgerald is said to have killed herself; and the absence of a ligature allegedly used during her death.

Ms Fitzgerald’s family were also provided with an “unsolicited” copy of the initial coroner’s report into her death, which noted a bone in her neck that would normally be left untouched in a hanging but is often broken in a manual strangulation case, was fractured.

A Garda Ombudsman review of the case was concluded last year. However, while accepting there were flaws in how the death was examined, the review said it is unclear what impact if any this had on the case as “potential evidence” was not “properly maintained” and is now “irretrievably” lost.

Kate Fitzgerald death probe to be re-examined, (Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner)

Previously: Kate Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

BlbEL3_CMAEuuoh.jpg large

 

Alan writes:

“Why are the authorities arresting sex workers in this day and age?
Is the moral fabric of the nation at stake?
Genuine question.”

Anyone?

Previously: Turn Off The Red White And Blue Light

Stopping At Red

ianbutt

[Jules Thomas and Ian Bailey, with their solicitor Frank Buttimer, outside the Four Courts in 2012 – after Mr Bailey won a two-year legal battle against his extradition to France over the 1996 killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier]

Yesterday, the Government announced the terms of reference for Supreme Court Judge Nial Fennelly’s Commission of Investigation.

The investigation will look at the recording of calls, other than 999 calls, to and from Garda stations between January 1, 1980 and November 27, 2013; the Garda investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier and the sequence of events leading up to the stepping down of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan last month.

Under the terms of reference, Judge Fennelly will also establish whether any of the recorded material has been destroyed and establish “any instances during the relevant period where the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions made use of the data and information produced by the said telephone recording systems for any purpose”.

Further to this, Ian Bailey’s solicitor Frank Buttimer has told the Irish Times today that he believes the role of the DPP, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier case should be included in the terms of reference.

Mr Buttimer maintains the DPP was aware of concerns surrounding the case and the handling of witnesses – Marie Farrell and Martin Graham – back in the late 1990s, while he said the DPP has also been aware of three senior gardaí meeting with the State solicitor for West Cork, Malachy Boohig, allegedly trying to secure a decision to prosecute Mr Bailey.

We want to know why were these sleeping dogs let lie by the DPP office, the Department of Justice and why did the DPP/Department of Justice knowing all this, allowed the French state come here to seek to remove Mr Bailey from the jurisdiction in what we believe was an unlawful action.”

Bailey solicitor calls for DPP’s office to be included in Garda inquiry (Barry Roche, Irish Times)

Full terms of reference here

9033581290335813 9033581090335811903358159033579990335816

Scenes outside the Department of Justice, Merrion Street, Dublin last night involving protestors from Occupy Dame Street calling on the resignation of Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

let1006009008004

[A letter dated December 17, 2012 from the assistant secretary at the Department of Justice to Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe cc-ed to Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar]

Stick that up your junta.

Context

UPDATE:

On Drivetime, presenter Mary Wilson played a clip from an interview RTÉ’s Teresa Mannion had with Enda Kenny in Castlebar, Co. Mayo, earlier today.

Enda Kenny: “I’ve received information in the last two days which contains grave allegations, as I’ve said. Now I have to take time to read and examine that properly. I responded to Deputy Micheal Martin yesterday for his having presented me with this documentation. And I’ve asked if there’s any further information that he has, or documentation, because it appears as if it’s incomplete.”

Teresa Mannion: “And Taoiseach, this was the first time you laid eyes on this sort of information?”

Kenny: “That documentation was presented to me on Wednesday night. And, as I said publically, there are serious allegations in there. We need to follow up properly, carefully and in a considerate fashion.”

Mannion: “But the Justice Minister had this information for two years and nothing was done with it.”

Kenny: “The minister has ordered a review now of all of the correspondence between his department and the whistleblower – the minister will deal with that.”

Peter writes:

I work in an IT department and had a report from a user who couldn’t get on to justice.ie  [Department of Justice & Equality website]. Our web traffic is routed through a European filtering service so it appears as if we’re in mainland Europe. It turns out the site is accessible only within Ireland. I’ve confirmed it with friends in the US, Japan and UK.  Do you think the Department of Justice are taking lessons from the Chinese VP?