[Top: Albert Reynolds and Dick Spring; above: Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore]
Further to the cabinet decision to appoint a a senior counsel to review claims in Garda Whistlebower Maurice McCabe’s ‘dossier’ and Labour’s continuing confidence in Justice minister Alan Shatter, Political commenter Johnny Fallon writes:
“The crux of matter is why do the cabinet feel that matters are worthy of an investigation now? What merits this? Clearly Alan Shatter did not feel the matters warranted such action at any stage up to now and clearly he never believed cabinet had to be informed.
So, if that’s the case how can government have confidence in him while at same time taking an axiom that suggests he should have done things differently? A second issue is that Enda still has not shared the dossier with cabinet so in effect none of them know what they are talking about.
You might remember the ‘passports for sale’ issue in the early ’90s? Albert Reynolds’ business had availed of a government scheme at the time whereby if somebody invested over £1 million in an Irish firm resulting in jobs, etc. then that person could apply for a passport.
Reynolds maintained that his firm acted appropriately, followed the rules and there was no wrongdoing…In the midst of the media storm Albert Reynolds met with Dick Spring.
He assured Spring that everything was above board. Then, to underline his point Reynolds told Spring he could have full access to the files and see for himself that everything was handled as it should be. To Reynolds shock, Spring replied that he had already sought and got the file and he was satisfied that there was no impropriety.
Reynolds was pleased but he learned that Dick Spring was not a man to hang about. When Spring and the Labour party were under pressure they did not wait for invitations or explanations.
Also remember Ruairi Quinn demanded Albert Reynold’s head over a delay by an official in the AG’s office. Here the minister [Shatter] himself is implicated for not taking an approach that the cabinet made today. yet it’s OK for him to stay on?”
“Enough is enough. After more than two weeks of drip fed allegations that continue to undermine public confidence in our systems of Garda accountability, nothing short of an independent statutory inquiry under the 2004 Commissions of Investigation Act will do. The Department of Justice and Equality have direct access to extensive legal expertise and have had ample opportunity to produce a convincing rebuttal of the disturbing allegations that have been levelled against An Garda Síochána. This has not occurred and to prolong the agony for the public, whistleblowers and alleged victims by appointing a barrister to spend more time looking at internal paperwork is simply not credible.”
Mark Kelly, Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties
FYI .At UCC Model Dáíl an hour ago, Labour Youth joined Sinn Féin in opposition and together passed a no confidence in the government! #vinb
— Odran Ó Corcráin (@OdranCO) February 25, 2014