Former Tanaiste and Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald this morning
Today, the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will give evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal.
Readers will recall how Ms Fitzgerald resigned in November 2017 following the publication of emails she was in receipt of pertaining to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015 – which examined allegations of poor policing in the Cavan/Monaghan area made by Sgt Maurice McCabe.
It’s likely Ms Fitzgerald will be asked, among other matters, about the following…
– Her exact knowledge of Ms D’s allegation made against Sgt Maurice McCabe in December 2006 which was found to have no basis by the DPP in April 2007.
– Her exact knowledge of the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s understanding of Ms D’s complaint – given Ms O’Sullivan has given evidence to say she received a false referral alleging Sgt McCabe stood accused of rape in May 2014 and was never told this was incorrect.
– Her knowledge of Ms D’s complaint about the 2007 investigation into her allegation.
– Her knowledge of the Independent Review Mechanism’s counsel involvement/contacts with Ms D and/or complaint about the investigation.
– Her knowledge and understanding of who and what her predecessor Alan Shatter was talking about when he told the Dail on June 19, 2014:
“If the statutory inquiry [which eventually became the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation] is to be comprehensive, it should include all cases dealt with in Bailieboro Garda Station which had given rise to complaint.
There is a matter which has been the subject of articles in the Irish Independent, which included a report of Deputy Micheál Martin meeting an individual who alleges she was the victim of a sexual assault and her complaint was not recorded on the Pulse system and did not result in a prosecution.
I understand from the newspaper report that Deputy Martin was to provide information on this matter to the Taoiseach and I presume he has done so. This case should clearly form part of any statutory inquiry.”
– Her knowledge of GSOC’s investigation in December 2014 which eventually found there was no issue with the original investigation into Ms D’s allegation of 2006/2007.
– Her knowledge of the consideration given to including Ms D’s complaint about the investigation in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.
– Her knowledge of members of the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana orchestrating the Ms D investigation file being given to the IRM counsel for their examination.
– Her knowledge of the IRM counsel deciding – in November 2014 – that, after examining the Ms D file, that her complaint should not be included in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigatioj
– Her reaction to the email of May 15, 2015 which sent from Michael Flahive, the then Department of Justice assistant secretary, to Christopher Quattrociocchi, Ms Fitzgerald’s then private secretary and cc-ed to the Department’s General Secretary Noel Waters, among others.
This email wrongly claimed that the legal row at the O’Higgins Commission centred on counsel for An Garda Siochana raising Ms D’s IRM complaint about the 2006 investigation at the commission.
Mr Flahive later said this was a coded reference to the IRM as a means to avoid explicitly describe Ms D’s complaint against Sgt McCabe.
But, as mentioned above, Ms Fitzgerald was informed in November 2014 that Ms D’s complaint would not be included in O’Higgins.
– Her communications with Noirin O’Sullivan and Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, in May 2016 after reports about the legal row in the commission first emerged in the Irish Examiner and RTE.
– Her decision not to publish the “letter of comfort” Noirin O’Sullivan got from her legal counsel on the afternoon/evening of May 15, 2015 – after she requested it via her liaison officer Chief Supt Fergus Healy – after the legal row broke out. The tribunal has already heard that Ms O’Sullivan asked Ms Fitzgerald to publish the short letter but didn’t.
– Her appearance on Prime Time on May 17, 2016.
– Her speech given to the Dáil on May 18, 2016.
Olga Cronin will be tweeting from the tribunal today. Follow her here.
Previously: Disclosures Tribunal on broadsheet