From top: Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice, Ken O’Leary; Former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan
The release of a series of emails from the Department of Justice last night included how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, RTÉ journalist John Burke sent a press query to the Garda Press Office.
Mr Burke asked about the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s counsel questioning Sgt Maurice McCabe’s motivation at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.
Subsequent to this, in an email from the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Mr O’Leary stated Ms O’Sullivan phoned him “to let me know they had received queries from Colm O’Nongain [sic] about Sgt McCabe”.
Mr O’Leary added that the Garda Press Office was asked “was it the Garda Commissioner who had instructed counsel to adopt an aggressive stance towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission”.
He told Ms Fitzgerald: “The Gardai are not commenting.”
He then went on to advise Ms Fitzgerald, who was scheduled to appear on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015, to say the following:
“Both the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] and myself have made it clear that Sgt McCabe is a valued member of the Force.”
She was also advised to say she couldn’t comment on the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and that:
“…it would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way.”
In addition, Mr O’Leary also told Ms Fitzgerald that she could say:
“It would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way. The Commission clearly has to be let take its course.”
In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about the matter when she appeared on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015.
In addition, the emails released last night weren’t sent to the Disclosures Tribunal – which began its work in February – until yesterday.
Further to this…
Ms Fitzgerald tweeted…
And this morning…
Last night: Adduce This
In DPP Trouble