Tag Archives: Frances Fitzgerald

Previously: Before You Vote

Steady on.

This morning.

Bebe writes:

They’re certainly pushing her boat out…

Journalist Ken Foxe, former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and PR advisor Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic

Journalist, lecturer, founder of investigative news site Noteworthy and Right To Know Ken Foxe has given his latest update on his attempts to obtain correspondence between the former Minister for Justice and current MEP candidate Frances Fitzgerald and PR advisor with the Communications Clinic Terry Prone between May 8, 2014 and March 11, 2017.

Mr Foxe was originally told by the Department of Justice that no such records existed – even though it was already on public record that Ms Fitzgerald paid the Communications Clinic, via a special secretarial allowance, more than €11,000 between the date she became minister [May 8, 2014] and the end of 2016.

The claim also contradicted evidence put before the Disclosures Tribunal last year of written/email communications between Ms Prone and Ms Fitzgerald during the relevant time of Mr Foxe’s request.

Mr Foxe appealed the decision of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Information Commissioner went on to discover 68 such records of correspondence between May 8, 2014 and March 11, 2017.

Separately, Mr Foxe has also had a frustrating time securing correspondence between Ms Prone and the former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan – whom Ms Prone was also advising between 2014 and 2017.

The Disclosures Tribunal saw how statements or draft speeches were written with the help of Ms Prone by Ms O’Sullivan for Ms Fitzgerald concerning issues about Ms O’Sullivan.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton described this sequence of events worthy of Myles na Gopaleen’s satire.

In his latest update, Mr Foxe explains that the Information Commissioner Peter Tyndall has since told him that the department has told him it has checked mobile devices for phone messages or emails which may have fallen within his FOI request and that the only individuals who may have had such contact with Ms Prone or the Communications Clinic via said phones was Ms Fitzgerald and a “named special adviser”.

Mr Tyndall told Mr Foxe:

“The department stated that its ICT division confirmed that the special adviser’s phone was reset, wiped of data and recirculated to another person in 2017.”

Mr Foxe was also told this is “standard practice when a staff member who has use of an ‘official’ phone leaves the department”.

And he was further informed:

“The department said that a phone that had been used at that time by the former minister was returned to her for checking and that she subsequently advised that no additional records covered by the request were identified on that device.”

Finally, Mr Tyndall told Mr Foxe that he has accepted the department’s account of how it went about securing any records and “its position that no further records were found”.

It added:

I have no reason to dispute the assurances of those involved that they do not hold further records. I accept that the original searches in response to the applicant’s [Mr Foxe] request of 11 March 2017 did not, for reasons explained by the Department, find records that subsequently came to light in its further searches. However, this, of itself, does not entitle me to find that all reasonable steps have not been taken to ascertain the whereabouts of records falling within the scope of the request.”

Mr Foxe writes about his latest update in more detail below…

Previously: “What Is It About Emails Between Terry Prone And Very Important Public Officials?”

‘Records Do In Fact Exist’

Clinical Exposure

Meanwhile…

As reported in last weekend’s Sunday Times...

A job advertisement for the role of “Head of Transparency” at the Department of Justice on publicjobs.ie.

Um.

This morning.

Mount Street, Dublin 2.

Fine Gael Dublin European Election candidates Frances Fitzgerald and Mark Durkan during the party’s Dublin Euro Election Press conference at their HQ.

Meanwhile

Ah here.

Saturday: She Doesn’t Normally Do This

Sam Boal/RollingNews

You know.

Maybe we’ve been wrong all this time about Frances.

Oh.

Update:

Ah.

Sunday Update:

This morning, a spokesperson for Deputy Fitzgerald insisted her team did return the dog to Senator McDowell.

She said a member of the public left the dog with them after asking them if they had a phone to call the owner.

She said Deputy Fitzgerald was as surprised as anyone when that owner turned out to be Senator McDowell – adding that the former Tánaiste is just happy that the dog is safe and well at home.

Frances Fitzgerald Doubles Down On Tall Tail About Lost Dog In Ranelagh (Newstalk)

From top: Terry Prone, Frances Fitzgerald and Norin O’Sullivan; an email sent from Ken Foxe to the gardai last year

Last night.

Frustrated Freedom of Information sleuth Ken Foxe posed the following question on Twitter about his attempts to secure emails between Terry Prone of the Communications Clinic and the former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan under the FOI Act:

“What is it about emails between Terry Prone and very important public officials that makes them so difficult to find?”

A series of emails between the pair were put into evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal last year.

And yet.

Mr Foxe cannot secure these under FOI.

Last year Mr Foxe revealed that the Office of the Information Commissioner had discovered 68 records of correspondence between former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Ms Prone between May 8, 2014 and March 11, 2017.

These were records which the Department of Justice previously said never existed.

Last night, Mr Foxe went on to explain his journey to date…

From 2014 to 2017, Ms Prone wasn’t only advising Ms Fitzgerald. She was also advising the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

As Ms Fitzgerald was the Justice Minister at the time, Ms O’Sullivan was, on paper, answerable to Ms Fitzgerald.

The Disclosures Tribunal saw how statements or draft speeches were written with the help of Ms Prone by Ms O’Sullivan for Ms Fitzgerald concerning issues about Ms O’Sullivan.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton described this sequence of events worthy of Myles na Gopaleen’s satire.

Previously: Frances, Nóirín and Tess

Last night.

In Clontarf Castle, Dublin 3.

Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald was formally selected by Fine Gael to contest the European Elections on May 24.

She will contest the election alongside Mark Durkan, former leader of the SDLP, whom Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled as a Fine Gael candidate earlier this week.

Previously: Frances Fitzgerald on Broadsheet

Related: Michael Clifford: What price Frances Fitzgerald’s ‘vindication’? (Irish Examiner, October 16, 2018)

Pic: Frances Fitzgerald