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


Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Sean O’Rourke this morning

Further to Fianna Fail tabling a motion of no confidence in the Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald which effectively breaches the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

The party’s leader Micheál Martin spoke to Sean O’Rourke this morning on RTE Radio One.

Sean O’Rourke:So is there no going back now from the collapse of this government? Because you’ve torn up the Confidence and Supply Agreement.”

Micheál Martin: “Well we haven’t. This is a very core part of the agreement. Where there is an issue that causes a threat to the Government, there’s a specific clause within the Confidence and Supply Agreement which allows for the two leaders to engage on that issue. And I did that on Wednesday. I rang the Taoiseach on Wednesday and said, you know, I’m invoking the Confidence and Supply.

“There’s an issue here that will threaten, in my view, the Confidence and Supply Agreement and the Government. It has to do with the Tanaiste’s knowledge of a campaign, a legal strategy, to undermined the character and integrity of Maurice McCabe. It’s a very fundamental issue that goes to the heart of justice for every citizen in this country. Not just Maurice McCabe. It’s broader than that.

“And the State, in my view, should not, in any way, be complicit in undermining a man’s character or indeed his integrity, particularly on bogus grounds and the minister is aware of that at the time and choose not to act. Now I went, I spoke to Leo Varadkar, I indicated that we could no longer have no confidence. I didn’t publicise, I wanted to give him space and time.

“He said, could I come back to you? I said, you can. But the following day, that was yesterday, he didn’t come back. I did initiate contact again through our Chef de Cabinet with his special advisor and I then made contact by, I then had to phone, I didn’t text him, we spoke…”

O’Rourke: “This was a second conversation?”

Martin: “This was a second conversation yesterday which didn’t  come to a conclusion which didn’t, basically, he’s of a view, he’s saying that Frances Fitzgerald did nothing wrong. But the whole situation is so unsatisfactory because I made the point to him: look, Alan Kelly asked some very basic questions, right? If you look at the replies, I’d invite people to study them.

“Basically, the answers were avoided by those replies…avoided...”

Talk over each other

Martin: “I think Alan Kelly touched a raw nerve there. This documentation surfaced. There was people dithering around with him for 10 days. It’s extraordinary that that documentation never made its way to the Charleton inquiry [Disclosures Tribunal]. The Dail is misled on a number of occasions, and basic trust breaks down when something like that happens and basic trust and credibility about how this issue has been handled, but fundamentally goes to the character of Maurice McCabe and the attempt on…”

O’Rourke: ” [talk over each other]…in a few minutes. I just think the latest thing in from Martina Fitzgerald, our political correspondent quoting Government sources, saying the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has issued an open offer to the Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin to meet to discuss the ongoing crisis. Now, Regina Doherty told us that offer has been there for the past 24 hours. Why didn’t you take up the opportunity to meet face-to-face?”

Martin: “Sorry, I made it clear to the Taoiseach, I had no difficulty in meeting him last evening. And I made that clear to him…”

O’Rourke: “So could he not suggest a time? Could you not suggest a time? A breakfast this morning at 8am?”

Martin: “We had a discussion, we did not agree. We have to agree to disagree on the core issue. I’ve no difficulty meeting with the Taoiseach in relation to this but he knows our position. We don’t want an election.  I made that clear in the phone call to him.”

O’Rourke: “But you have caused an election..”

Martin: “No, sorry Sean, we haven’t. And let’s be very straight about this, there was a big failure here to stand by the character of Maurice McCabe. To allow state agencies essentially to go and essentially…”

Talk over each other

O’Rourke:What do you know now about Maurice McCabe and Frances Fitzgerald’s state of knowledge or action or inaction

Martin: “That she…”

O’Rourke: “No, no..that you didn’t know two years ago or even one and a half years ago?

Martin:That she was aware of it. I didn’t know that two years ago, that she was aware of this strategy...”

Talk over each other

O’Rourke: “When Mick Clifford and Katie Hannon had revelations about the events and the exchanges in the O’Higgins Commission, everybody was aware of it at that stage…”

Martin:Nobody was aware, in terms of that, no one knew that the Minister knew at the time, in advance of the legal strategy being prepared. I mean it was a notification went around, basically saying to the minister, the secretary general, to the assistant secretary, and others, that the Garda Commissioner is now advancing a legal strategy to undermine the character and integrity  of Maurice McCabe.

O’Rourke: “Even if they did know…”

Martin: “Can I also say, Sean, this, I had all this with Tusla as well. Now my patience has been stretched on this issue. And I’ve been involved with it for quite some time. It was I who led to the establishment of the Guerin report by bringing that dossier into Dail Eireann and showing it to Enda Kenny, detailing serious malpractice with An Garda Siochana.

“That then, by the way, that report said Maurice McCabe was a man of strong character and integrity. I believe Mr Guerin put that in for a reason. It then, he recommended the  O’Higgins report and  that happened. It was never meant to be an adversarial engagement. It was meant to be inquisitorial…”

O’Rourke: “You’ve known since Katie Hannon’s revelations that that was the thing being adopted…”

Martin:The adversarial nature of it became known in May 2016 but we didn’t  know the Government was complicit in it.”

Earlier: Unredacted

Derek Mooney: What Happened

Listen back in full here

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51 thoughts on “‘This Is About A Failure To Stand By Maurice McCabe’

  1. Sean

    I can’t quite figure out what’s going on with this bizarre saga but here’s a few theories:

    1. This was engineered jointly by FF and FG (with Alan Kelly in cahoots) to precipitate a snap general election while SF is in disarray following Gerry Adams’ notice of departure but before SF can get a leadership contest in order. SF are forced to skip full procedure, anoint Mary Lou, look undemocratic and the cabal of FF/FG/Lab make marginal gains in the polls and don’t have to worry about the massive threat SF poses them for another 5 years.

    2. Leo wants to oust Frances FitzG. He’s engineered this with Micheal Martin and it’s all an internal coup to sweep out the old guard in FG and put god knows who in the role of Tainiste.
    One key fact to bear in mind is that Leo was retweeting Young FG back on Wednesday reminding everyone that tomorrow (Saturday) is the last day you can register to vote.

    3. FF want to pull down the government so that they don’t have to face into a referendum of the 8th which would damage their party electorally whenever we do go to the polls.

    The fact that this overnight ‘crisis’ relates to 2 year old emails indicates this has been sitting on ice in some political cold storage unit waiting to be unfurled at the necessary hour and now the hour is come.

    All very contrived. Whoever started this is sitting at home binge watching house of cards while constantly updating their twitter feed.

    1. Jimmy M'ghee

      if you think FF and FG and AK trust each other enough to engineer a Christmas Eve general election purely to annoy SF, do us a favour and pass the dutchy

      1. b

        what’s clear from the last couple of days is that no of the players involved are capable of such a grand plan and have walked themselves into intractable positions

      2. Sean

        Well all three parties have either been in coalition or confidence and supply agreements for the last 7 years. You don’t have to trust someone to work with them in politics and it’s clear any one of these parties would sell their own granny to avert any perceived advance of the shinners.

  2. De Kloot

    This game of schoolboy politics is going to backfire very badly on Micheal Martin. He’s bet his house now. All at a time when a lame duck Government in Ireland is the worst possible outcome for our most pressing issues. An election will be forced and if FG are returned as the largest party, he’s toast. If he engages with and strikes a deal with SF, he’s toast. That on top of a Chirstmas general election being uncharted and something of a nightmare scenario for all parties. That and Leo’s popularity is quite strong – certainly versus his or Mary-Lou’s.

    I’m not saying that this issue with the MoJ is not important, but FF have stood by worse as part of their ‘supply and confidence’ deal.

    1. Sean

      That’s why I cannot fathom how this is anything but an internally generated FG power play. Cui bono? They’re the only ones who stand to gain from this (except poor auld FitzGerald who appears to be about to be thrown under the bus).

      1. De Kloot

        I posted before I saw yours. I seriously doubt FG & FF are somehow in cahoots. With that said, the fear of SF in power in any shape or form will have the entire State Apparatus in ‘war footing’ mode. They will do everything and anything to prevent it. So perhaps your instincts are correct.

        Best possible scenario is if Leo heads up to the Park for a chat with the Pres. that he’ll be send back, tail ‘tween legs and told that he he can’t make it work, he’ll invite MM to give it a lash.

        A general election is the absolute worst thing that can occur right now.

        1. anne

          worst thing for who? a GE is not the worse thing for the public… it’s called democracy.. fg ff will have to accept sinn fein in gov eventually.

          1. Cian

            A general election now will put all legislation on hold for 4-6 months.
            All Ministers will abandon their Departments.
            The Departments will go into ‘holding mode[1]’ until the election is over and a new minister installed. The new minister will take weeks/months before getting on top of their brief and pointing the department in any specific direction.

            Perhaps a new government will be much better then the current – but the odds are it will either be another minority FG-led; or a minority FF-led. Not a huge difference.

            [1] they will continue to do their work, but won’t innovate, and will put on-going departmental changes on hold – new ministers have a habit of killing off any projects that their predecessor started.

      2. Owen C

        Its fairly simple. FF thought Leo would throw FitzG under the bus, FG would take a small hit and move on, FF would get a small bump and move on. It would allow FF to win the battle but the war to continue into the middle of next year. What was unexpected is that Leo, for some bizarre reason (perhaps simple overconfidence) has elected not to throw FitzG under the bus, and call FF’s bluff as it were.

        We are now at the standoff where each leader has to decide if they really want to go into an election with it very unclear who will be “blamed” for bringing a GE that no one wants and that is not coming at an ideal time given 8th Amend and Brexit. Tactically, one of them will be proven right and one of them will be proven wrong. That it comes at a time of weak positioning from SF only adds to the idea that both parties may feel a GE is worth the risk when compared with backing down against each other as things stand.

        1. Sean

          Very good analysis. I think that’s spot on the money.
          So what do you think the odds are the this is going happen?

    2. Rachel King

      Leo’s popularity just took a nose dive, he is defending the indefensible. SF have already put themselves in position with Mary Lou, FF will get the majority if a snap election is called they are defending Maurice McCabe on the doorsteps, not the Minister who is now only in position because of her perceived status and popularity amongst the political elite. If Martin does a deal he will look weak and have to step down as leader.

  3. Killian G

    “2. Leo wants to oust Frances FitzG. He’s engineered this with Micheal Martin and it’s all an internal coup to sweep out the old guard in FG and put god knows who in the role of Tainiste.”

    How so? If there’s an election and FG get back into government, how could be possibly justify not making her Tanaiste again? Put the country through an election out of principled refusal to allow a colleague be a scapegoat and then you shaft that same colleague at first opportunity?

    1. Sean

      No, it’s the fact that the Hobson’s choice Leo appears to be faced with is Frances goes or we go to the polls. Clearly nobody wants an election so he may use that logic to force FitzG’s hand on the premise that she has to fall on her sword to save the party. I don’t know though, I’m just thinking out loud with that one.
      There just appears to be 2 potential outcomes: general election or Frances goes. She seems like one of the most competent people in that cabinet so maybe Leo feels threatened?
      I just smell a rat with this whole crisis thing. Last night I went to bed and there was no crisis, I wake up this morning and everyone’s running around like there’s a storm coming.

      1. Eoin

        Competent? At what? Cover ups? Failing to read vital emails where someones reputation, and indeed their life, and the life of their family is on the line? And this crisis with destroying whistle blowers and Garda drug dealing has been ongoing for a long time. Not just this morning. Clown.

      2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        I don’t think competent is the first adjective that would come to mind where Frances is concerned.

        1. Sean

          Sorry, meant competent in a relative sense, as in she appears to have actually passed some legislation while in office and not spent all her time taking selfies or trying to win a bid for a rugby competition. Fully agree the McCabe stuff is 100% wrong but I’m not surprised. Justice portfolio has been a poison chalice since Shatter and anyone who touches it spends their whole time at damage control.

          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Hmm. I wouldn’t agree about her passing much legislation. It may have been a poisoned chalice but from what I gather she did diddly squat in there: couldn’t make a decision to save her life. This is all second-hand info, though.

        2. Killian G

          Fitzgerald is no thicko. She’s sharp as anything, believe you me and more so than anyone else in cabinet. I do think that her priority is personal advancement and a big fat pension to boot.

          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Ok. I don’t know her at all but I just think what she did (didn’t) in Justice was shambolic. Say what you will about Alan Shatter, but he knew his stuff.

          2. Killian G

            I actually think she was pretty good at handling the whole gangland crime thing when it really kicked off. Her response was decisive and strong. SHe seems to me to be a very good administrator but not very imaginative. Hasn’t done much for business or enterprise etc since taking that on. She had a couple of years teaching in LSE and apparently was very highly regarded there.

          3. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            Oh, ok.
            Ah now. I have to go and rethink my “Frances is a dope” line. She’s definitely self-serving, though. I’ll stick with that.

  4. Richard Healy

    Paul Williams ( and others at INM )appear to be heavily involved in the alleged state sponsored smearing of Sgt Maurice McCabe.

    Journalist Paul Williams gave evidence to the Charleton tribunal about four articles he wrote pertaining to Ms D and the allegation she had made against Sgt Maurice McCabe in 2006 – without naming either Ms D or Sgt McCabe.

    A letter sent from the DPP’s office to the then State solicitor for Cavan Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, in relation to Ms D’s complaint stated:

    “The incident as described by the injured party is vague… Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault. Further, the account given to her cousin [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards.”

    Mr Williams’ articles were published on April 12, 15, 16 and May 3, 2014.

    During the timespan of these articles, on April 29, 2014, Ms D emailed the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) claiming her allegation of sexual assault was not properly investigated and, a day later, on April 30, 2014, she met Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin in the Dáil.

    Mr William flagged Ms D’s desire to make a complaint to GSOC and to meet Mr Martin in his earlier articles.

    When Ms D did eventually give a statement to GSOC, on July 3, 2014, Ms D told GSOC that Mr Williams told her senior members of An Garda Siochana and in the 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.

    Under cross-examination from Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, it was put to Mr Williams that he was going as close as he possibly could “to identifying Sergeant McCabe without using his name as the alleged perpetrator of this abuse” and that that was what he intended to do.

    1. Andrew

      I don’t understand why there is no fall-out for Paul Williams in all of this. Other journalists should be asking him questions.
      He co-presents a breakfast show on Newstalk and keeps saying the public ‘don’t understand this at all’
      Shane Coleman should call him out on it. That would make for great radio.

  5. Alan

    A snap election before Christmas!!!!! I do not have the stomach for these lads anymore. This is all a big game to them. I am sick of the lot of them.

    If any of them jailed bankers, if any of them jailed corrupt politicians, if any of them cared about homelessness, if any of them cared about the huge waste in our hospitals and the lack of support for front line staff, if any of them realised how Brexit could cause huge hardship in this country then I would not be losing heart so much.

    All they care about is the game and how they stay in power and screw the rest of them.

    Enough is enough

    1. realPolithicks

      Vote independent if the opportunity exists in your constituancy. And I’m talking about real independents, not the kind of gombeens like shane ross and the rest of his gang.

  6. Joe Small

    The country deserves a fresh start with a new Taoiseach without historical baggage. Lets give that promising young upstart Micheal Martin a go.

  7. Sean

    After Ross and the Zapper I’m never voting independent again. Likewise Stephen Donnelly and his Independent, SocDem, FF trajectory. To be honest I’m rapidly loosing the will to vote altogether. The whole omnishambles has given me a bad dose of apathy.
    What’s the best way to protest vote save spoiling your ballot with a good old fashioned puerile drawing?

      1. Sean

        You’ve just reminded me that I need to move my vote. I just moved house.
        Although I think my new constituency is a blueshirt hotbed and my vote will make very little difference here. Maybe I’ll act like a culchie and keep it where I left it. At least it’s all in Dublin so I won’t have to travel far on the icy roads.

        1. Sean

          Update: I’ve just found out my new constituency is Katherine Zappone’s. I’m totally voting for anyone but her. As much as I want to like left alternatives, I can’t help but dislike Paul Murphy.

    1. Andrew

      Me too. I’ve always voted when I’ve been in the country, made a point of it and always encouraged others to vote.
      Now, I really don’t care and regret coming back to live here.

  8. ReproBertie

    Mícheál Martin’s patience has been stretched. Imagine how stretched it would be if he was homeless and waiting for housing for his family or if he was waiting to see a consultant in the public health service. This spat in the FF/FG coalition is a complete farce and shows how little they care about issues that actually matter to the public.

    A pox on both their houses.

    1. Topsy

      Repo – very true. Martin wasn’t too concerned when he stood shoulder to shoulder with Ahern while Ahern was telling fanciful bullpoo to the tribunal. An untrustworthy individual.

  9. GiggidyGoo

    The engineering could be that Limp Leo hasn’t any idea what brexit will bring and he would prefer to be in opposition for the next few years

  10. Catherine costelloe

    Alan Shatter was ousted because Ends Kenny could not express confidence in him. But the reason flaunted was the illegal taping of phone calls to garda stations. I remember Mr Shatter in the empty Dail fighting his case, stating a hand delivered letter marked “urgent” on illegal taping of phone calls sent by Martin Callinan never reached him. There was speculation of this ” scandal” , how it was going to cost millons . That died a death fairly rapidly. Beggars the question what did Frances Fitzgerald do differently to Alan Shatter? Very little , surely? Mr Kenny never clarified why Mr Shatter was shafted.

  11. Percival

    Fine Gael policies create more poor. Then they go about actively hating those poor. And its always FG councillors who block Traveller and social housing so their snob voters aren’t offended by the sight of lesser mortals in their area.

    And these voters assume they own the areas in which they live, as if they a given right to live there and decide who else does or doesn’t.

    A Lotto winner from an inner city working class flats complex bought a lovely detached red-brick on 1/2 acre in Clontarf some years ago. The neighbours were horrified. They could not hack the idea that an unearned millionaire from the flats just landed amongst them, gold tipped gates and pearl white Land Rover to boot. The house looks like a Christmas tree now. It’s hilarious.

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