Tag Archives: Charlie Flanagan

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan in the Dáil this morning; Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine McCabe

This morning.

In the Dáil.

“Sergeant Maurice McCabe deserves the gratitude of all of us for bringing serious shortcomings to public attention.

He also deserves an apology for what he had to endure, both himself and his family, for over a decade.

Since the report was published, I have spoken with Sgt McCabe.

I have apologised on behalf of the state to him and his family for the manner in which he was treated over a number of years and I am arranging to meet the sergeant in the near future.

I want to re-iterate this apology to him personally.

I also understand the Garda Commissioner [Drew Harris]  has also been in touch with him and I welcome that.”

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

Watch back here (from 57.30).

Minister apologises to garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe on behalf of State (RTE)

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: The Charelton Report – Conclusions

From top: Frederick Street removal: Mick Wallace; Joan Collins; Claire Daly and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan in the Dáil today.

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

Further to the eviction of housing activists from a vacant property at North Frederick Street last week…

Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan who authorised members of An Garda Síochána – who wore fire retardant hoods – to attend the eviction.

Joan Collins, also an Independents 4 Change TD, asked Mr Flanagan on what basis were the gardai asked to attend.

Ms Collins referred to the mater as “very, very sinister”.

Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly then said:

I think we have to be very conscious that this incident has set back public confidence in An Garda Síochána considerably. That’s actually my starting point on this issue.

We have, at the backdrop, an unprecedented housing crisis. Where people are homeless, families are homeless. And that the Garda organisation, whose motto is supposed to be ‘to protect and serve’, rallies around to carry out an eviction – resonates really badly with the Irish public and you can call it politically with a small ‘p’.

It was lunacy whoever made the call.

“And, like Deputy Wallace, I don’t believe it was the Commissioner [Drew Harris].

“The minister says the gardai were only upholding the law. Well my neighbour’s house was broken into and they called the guards and they didn’t’ see one for love nor money. That’s their job, as well.

“They chose to take sides in this incident. There was no signal that they were going to be public order problems of the scale that merited masks and balaclavas and all this type of carry-on and palaver which was really intimidatory.

“And it does deserve an investigation. It particularly deserves and investigation, given that concrete evidence has been produced that shows that the security firm were breaching the law and yet the perception was that the gardai were there to protect them and not actually the public.”

Mr Flanagan, in his response, said:

“I would reiterate again, that the gardai present faced a most difficult task, managing protest, in enforcing the law. There was a matter of abuse, including racial abuse, online threats and intimidation, came to light at the weekend.

“Such threats are utterly unacceptable, rightly being investigated. Gardai work on our behalf. They need support from the public, not intimidation, not abuse. As I’ve said Commissioner Harris has made a statement in relation to the protest. I understand he’s requested a report from Assistant Commissioner DMR, to see what lessons can be learned from the event.

“I can assure the house my department continues to work closely with all stakeholders including An Garda Síochána, to further enhance the safety of the public at such events, while safeguarding the fundamental right of people to protest.

“Of course if people have concerns about the way the garda behave, which I’ve just heard, if people have those concerns, in relation to this or, indeed, any other matter, there are established procedures for pursuing such matters. Deputies are aware of the role of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission [GSOC] in this regard…”

Previously: What’s Going On Here?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris  (right) and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan

Look over here.

Good times.

Earlier: Nothing To Hear Here

 Acting Commissioner Donal O’Cualain, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan


On RTE One’s This Week.

There was an item on Garda Nicky Keogh who has previously alleged that a garda was involved in the distribution of drugs in the Midlands.

RTE’s John Burke reported that the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has indicated to Garda Keogh’s legal team that the matter is for the Garda Commissioner.

He also said he is “open to establishing an inquiry into the case in certain circumstances”.

The letter also stated he’s asked the Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O’Cualain for an update on the matter.

This is despite Mr O’Cualain, and his handling of the original investigation into the collusion claim, being the subject of a complaint to GSOC by Garda Keogh.

Readers will recall the following…

In May 2014, Garda Keogh, a then member of the drugs squad in Athlone, made a formal complaint to the confidential recipient Judge Pat McMahon about a garda in the drugs squad and their alleged involvement in the supply of heroin in Westmeath, Offaly and Longford.

His complaint was investigated by then Assistant Commissioner Donal Ó Cualáin.

In the same month, then Independent TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan told the Dail:

“[Garda Nicky Keogh]’s greatest concern with the drugs operation in November 2009 is that there was a systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking Garda officers to induce and coerce citizens, in this case citizens with no previous criminal conviction, to buy drugs from drug dealers, putting them in personal danger, and sell the drugs in turn to undercover gardaí without making any profit, thus boosting crime detection figures concerning arrests, charges and convictions. The result of this operation was that these mostly young citizens of the State, who had no previous drug convictions, now have serious drug convictions.”

In October 2015, Garda Keogh made a complaint to GSOC regarding the manner in which Mr Ó Cualáin was carrying out his investigation

He alleged there appeared to be a cover up.

On October 20, 2015, Mr Ó Cualáin was appointed to the position of Deputy Commissioner.

On October 2, 2016, John Mooney, in The Sunday Times, reported:

An internal investigation into allegations of gardai collusion in heroin dealing in a midlands town has found evidence to substantiate claims made by a police whistleblower in 2014.

The inquiry has also established that a senior garda was warned about fears of corruption in the force by members of the drugs squad in 2009 but took no meaningful action.

The director of public prosecutions (DPP) recently advised Garda Headquarters that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute those implicated, although they now face disciplinary proceedings.

According to security sources, the internal inquiry concluded that one garda was in a relationship with a female heroin dealer in the town, which resulted in him compromising planned searches and raids.

One witness told investigators he was present when this garda alerted local criminals to a planned gardai search the following day, ensuring they had time to dispose of incriminating evidence, including mobile phones. The witness refused to make a statement under caution or agree to testify, however.

The investigation into the collusion claims was established after Nicky Keogh, a member of the drugs squad, used protected disclosure legislation to act as a whistleblower.

…Garda Headquarters has now suspended from duty the garda allegedly linked to heroin dealers, pending a disciplinary process. The force suspended the officer after the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) said it was launching an inquiry.”

On October 30, 2016, Mr Mooney also reported:

“An internal garda investigation is understood to have found evidence to substantiate many of the claims made by Keogh in 2014. The garda inquiry established that a senior officer was warned about fears of corruption in the force by members of the drugs squad in 2009 and appears not to have taken meaningful action. [Noirin] O’Sullivan has not suspended the garda, though he is facing disciplinary proceedings.”

Broadsheet understands no report on this internal investigation has been published to date.

In November of this year, RTE’s John Burke reported how Garda Keogh’s solicitor John Gerard Cullen wrote to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, seeking an update on the investigation into Garda Keogh’s 2014 claims of collusion between a garda and a drugs gang.

Mr Cullen wanted to know who was overseeing the investigation into the claims; what was its status or outcome; and what was the outcome of other reports previously commissioned by the former Minister for Justice France Fitzgerald.

Readers will recall that, in May 2015, Garda Keogh wrote to Ms Fitzgerald and claimed he was being harassed by other gardai following his protected disclosure.

And, in May 2016, Ms Fitzgerald asked the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to provide her with an update of the case which was ultimately forwarded to GSOC.

Garda Keogh has not had sight of any of these previous reports.

On yesterday’s This Week, Mr Burke reported how the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has told Garda Keogh’s legal team that he cannot provide it with these reports due to “ongoing investigations and processes”.

And he said the actual investigation into the claims is a matter for the Garda Commissioner.

Mr Burke also reported that, in his letter, Mr Flanagan has said he has asked the Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O’Cualain for an up-to-date report on the matter.

As regards him being “open to establishing an inquiry into the case in certain circumstances”, Mr Burke reported:

The circumstances are should the ongoing investigations into this matter prove inconclusive when they’re finalised.”

In relation to Mr Flanagan’s written undertaking, the Garda Keogh’s solicitor John Gerard Cullen told Mr Burke:

Firstly, its terms are very vague. Its conditions are non-specific and it, effectively, it seems to be meaningless. First of all, it appears that the matter would trigger any such investigation is the investigation proving inconclusive. Now, of course, many miscarriages of justice have proved very conclusive indeed.

“So that, in itself, is an inadequate reason, why there should be an investigation. It would also appear to pass the responsibility of answering this question to, perhaps, another body.

“It appears to be kicked down indefinitely down the road into the future.

“And, of course, the problem about that undertaking is that it doesn’t cure the delay which is causing ongoing prejudice in terms of lack of transparency about what is happening in the substantive investigation of what documents are being preserved, if any, what emails, what telephone exchanges and so forth.

“So that when one comes to this possibility, and it’s merely a possibility of an investigation sometime in the future, delay may have allowed the evaporation of evidence, that’s grossly prejudice.

“That’s my reaction to the undertaking.”

Listen back in full here

Flanagan open to inquiry over claims gardaí colluded with drug gang (RTE)

Previously: Meet The New Acting Commissioner

From top: Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Social Democrat TD Roisin Shortall; and a press release issued by Mr Flanagan on November 13 (click to enlarge)

Last night.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan gave a ten-minute speech in which he apologised to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Labour TD Alan Kelly, and the Dail.

His apology came after it emerged Mr Flanagan was told about a May 15, 2015 email – which alleged a disagreement 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 over Sgt McCabe’s alleged motivation – on November 13 last.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar didn’t have sight of the email for the first time until November 20.

And, on November 14 and 15, Mr Varadkar told the Dail that the Department of Justice wasn’t able to find any record that the department was informed of a legal strategy employed by An Garda Siochana to discredit Sgt Maurice McCabe at the commission.

The sequence of events caused Mr Varadkar to correct the Dail record.

Last night.

Mr Flanagan said the following:

It has been said that I sat beside the Taoiseach last week and allowed him to misinform the Dáil. That is not correct. I wish to explain to the House the sequence of events of the past few days from my perspective.

“On Monday, 13 November, I was in my constituency office in Portlaoise as well as undertaking an official engagement at the Midlands Prison. In the course of the day, I received a phone call from the Secretary General of my Department [Noel Waters].

He informed me that having reached 40 years’ service, he intended to retire and asked me to inform Cabinet the following morning. This was unexpected and I was taken aback. I became worried. I was still digesting the news when reference was made to an email pertaining to the O’Higgins commission and Sergeant McCabe that had been discovered in the Department.

“I responded automatically that anything potentially relevant to the tribunal should be immediately conveyed to Mr Justice Charleton and the tribunal.

“I simply missed the significance of the email, which I viewed as just another addition to the more than 230 documents already discovered to the tribunal from the Department of Justice and Equality.

I did not see the actual email until a week later on the night of Monday, 20 November. That is why I did not raise the matter with the Taoiseach.


Social Democrat TD Roisin Shortall responded to Mr Flanagan, saying:

We learned from the Taoiseach today that the Minister received news of the email on 13 November but that he did not do anything or did not see it until 20 November. The Minister has said tonight that he was otherwise busy and missed the significance of it.

“However, he did find time on 13 November to issue a press statement. The press statement was very much in line with the kind of defence we have been hearing from the Department and from the Minister’s predecessor.

“It spoke about there being no question of the Department interfering, about it being inappropriate for anybody else to seek to interfere and so forth. It was a very defensive press statement which seemed to come out of the blue.

“Why did the Minister issue that press statement on 13 November? He was busy and he says that he did not know about the email. Why did he issue that press statement? Who wrote it for him? Did he actually read it?”

Mr Flanagan responded:

A press statement issued from my Department on 13 November in respect of public commentary that had been made in both the newspapers and the broadcast media over the previous weekend.

I instructed my press office to issue a reminder to everybody in order to ensure that the tribunal should not be in any interrupted or disrupted by commentary in the media – or, indeed, in the Dáil – on matters which, quite rightly, pertained exclusively to the tribunal.”

Readers may note Sgt McCabe has told Mr Varadkar that the counsels’ argument – as alleged in the May 15, 2015 email never happened and that, instead, the counsels argued over the gardai claiming Sgt McCabe had a grudge because he wanted the DPP’s directions in relation to Ms D’s ‘dry humping’ claim overturned.

The gardai made this claim under the belief that Sgt McCabe hadn’t seen the DPP’s directions but he had and they were unequivocally in his favour – which he told the commission.

The Disclosures Tribunal will investigate matters concerning the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation from January 8.

Previously: In DPP Trouble


Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Acting Garda Commissioner Donal O’Cualain leaving a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality in March; Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan; tweet by Fine Gael TD and Minister for Employment and Social Protection Regina Doherty yesterday

This morning.

In light of Noirin O’Sullivan’s resignation yesterday evening from her role as Garda Commissioner…

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan was interviewed by Paul Cunningham on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He said he wasn’t surprised by her resignation and that the possibility of it was made known to him in recent weeks.

He also said “there’s lots happening” in terms of reforming An Garda Siochana.

From the interview:

Charlie Flanagan:I wasn’t surprised at the news. The possibility the commissioner O’Sullivan might retire was flagged to me over the last couple of weeks. Of course it was treated as confidential until such time as the commissioner made her decision which was indicated to me approximately at 5pm to me yesterday evening.”

Paul Cunningham: “Because it was of interest, in the Irish Independent, John Downing was just noting that in the past week you were asked in one interview, on four occasions, but you avoided saying whether she would be in the job this time next year. You mentioned you had some inkling over the past weeks, where did those inklings come from?

Flanagan: “I understand that there were some discussions, having regard for the fact that the commissioner said that she would devote much of her summer break to giving consideration to whether or not she’d continue as Garda Commissioner and whether such continuing would be the right thing for her to do. In the course of that, there were discussions with officials from my department.”

Cunningham:Did you contact her and ask her to stay because only in the past couple of days, your cabinet colleague, Minister [Regina] Doherty said that the Garda Commissioner had the vision and the grit that was needed.”

Flanagan:No I didn’t, I haven’t been speaking to the Garda Commissioner since before she took her summer break at the end of July.”

Cunningham: “The TD from the Social Democrats, Roisin Shortall, said that the commissioner had lost all credibility and authority and it was very difficult to comprehend why the Government continued to defend her. Why didn’t you move earlier? Why did you not recognise that her position was untenable?

Flanagan:She was the Garda Commissioner, she was engaged in the process of reform. She took a break over the summer months, she was back at her desk last week. I had intended meeting her this week. Obviously there are urgent issues to be discussed – the programme of reform, the five-year action plan, the Garda Inspectorate Report, Changing Policing In Ireland, but obviously the Garda Commissioner took a decision that she felt was the right thing to do, to retire, and of course I accepted that.

“And this morning I will be making contact with the Policing Authority so as we can set in train the process of finding her replacement. In the meantime, I’m very pleased that Deputy Commissioner Donal O’Cualain will now act as police commissioner with all the powers and role and function that Noirin O’Sullivan had.”

Cunningham: “Before we come to that come to that question of process because it’s vitally important, can I just ask you whether you accept what Jim O’Callaghan, of Fianna Fail, said last night, that the resignation was effectively some accountability within An Garda Siochana for the 1.5million fake breath tests.”

Flanagan: “Well. I want to acknowledge here that this has been a very, very difficult time for the Garda Siochana, there are a number of inquiries, there’s a tribunal and, you know, I’m under no illusion here. The scale of reform here, and the need to move with a certain urgency is essential. But, from what I see, from both Garda management and from frontline gardai on a daily basis is that they have the appetite to see change and it’s up to us as political leaders to ensure we can drive change.

“And that’s why, just before I took office, my predecessor [Frances Fitzgerald] introduced the Future of Policing [commission] which is now considering all aspects of the garda service and all functions of the garda service and indeed the many oversight bodies whom I’ve been meeting in the course of the summer, the Policing Authority, the Garda Inspectorate, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission  and, you know, I will ensure that we will coordinate a programme of reform which is both urgent and important in Garda Siochana. And I believe it’s important too, that the reform programme now gains a certain momentum and that, of course, in no circumstances, would its credibility be adversely affected or undermined.”

Cunningham:The Taoiseach said that the Government was now going to see how best to accelerate the crucial and essential reform programme. Why aren’t you doing that already? Why are we only going to accelerate it now?

Flanagan: “Oh, well, we are doing it already. We have the report from December 2015, Changing Policing In Ireland; 18 main recommendations  in relation to the structure of An Garda Siochana; the manner in which practices are deployed; culture of the Garda Siochana; human resources; financial management; all Garda practices and, of course, I’m looking forward to this year’s budget for next year when we can continue to ensure the acceleration of recruitment, both new garda siochana going in for training in Templemore graduating, at the earliest opportunity and also the further civilianisation of the garda organisation and the roll-out of modern policing. So there’s lots happening.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: She’s Gone

How Did He Get Here?

Absence Of Malice

Related:  Minister: Garda Commissioner is ‘incredible role model for women’ (The Irish Times)

MI-Donald-Trump-Doonbeg-OpeningScreen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.35.22Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 11.28.28

Front page of today’s The Times Ireland edition and US president-elect Donald Trump being interviewed by Britain’s former Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove and Kai Diekmann of German newspaper Bild 

Further to the Donald Trump interview in today’s Times – by Michael Gove and Oliver Wright…

In which, Mr Trump said:

“I own a big property in Ireland, magnificent property called Doonbeg. What happened is I went for an approval to do this massive, beautiful expansion — that was when I was a developer, now I couldn’t care less about it . . . but I learnt a lot because . . . they were using environmental tricks to stop a project from being built.

“I found it to be a very unpleasant experience. To get the approvals from the EU would have taken years. I don’t think that’s good for a country like Ireland. So you know what I did? I said forget it, I’m not gonna build it.”

A full transcript of The Times interview can be read here

Pic: The Times

Previously: De Monday Papers



Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan’s proposed trip, and Mr Flanagan

Freedom of Information sleuth Ken Foxe writes:

Foreign Affairs minister Charlie Flanagan had his wings clipped by the Department of the Taoiseach after requesting use of the government jet for an epic voyage to a conference in Asia.

Mr Flanagan had sought use of the government’s €3,780-an-hour Learjet for a trip to Ulaanbaatar, which would have involved no less than eight separate individual flights.

The minister was planning to attend an Asia-Europe conference in Mongolia but was in a rush back to Europe to attend a meeting in Brussels, FOI documents have shown.

To try and fit both events in, the Department of Foreign Affairs came up with a convoluted flight plan which would have taken Mr Flanagan first to Finland, before two separate stop-overs in Russia, before final arrival in Mongolia fourteen hours later.

The government’s only executive aircraft – an €8 million Learjet – has a flying range that brings it just three hours in the air before it requires refuelling.

Department of Taoiseach refuse Minister Charlie Flanagan’s request for €90k flight on government jet to Mongolia (Ken Foxe)

Pics: Ken Foxe, Rollingnews