Tag Archives: Micheál Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin in the Dáil this afternoon and the minutes of a meeting between the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and David McCourt in New York in July

This afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised questions with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about Minister for Communication Denis Naughten and the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract.

Mícheál Martin said to the Taoiseach:

“Minister Naughten met with the head of the remaining consortium David McCourt in July and discussed the tendering process with him. Relevant officials from the department handling the bid were not there and were not present – which is very significant.

“Someone on climate change was there, but not anybody dealing with the bid. The minutes are clear: Four issues relating to the bid and consortium were discussed. Taoiseach, decision makers such as Minister Naughten are properly and normally insulated from lobbying and any attempt to influence them during a tendering process.

“It is clear that Mr McCourt was trying to convince the minister that he had addressed the department official’s concerns. They were sorted and they were good to go.

“He was canvassing, he was lobbying and canvassing, Taoiseach, disqualifies. Remember Taoiseach that, at this stage, a decision still has to be taken by the minister. To either go with the bid or not go with the bid.

“The minister should be completely, completely at arm’s length from this process, from the tendering process. I find it extraordinary that I’m even in here, asking these questions and putting these points. Remember this is a massive contract. Which could be providing up to half a billion or more from State funds. From taxpayers’ money.

“It is quite extraordinary Taoiseach, and I’m going to put to you straight: the minister should not have met David McCourt, do you accept that? Has the tendering process, Taoiseach, been contaminated by the minister’s actions?

I mean people externally looking into this country – they might be tempted to say now, that the key to getting a lucrative contract in Ireland is face time with the minister.

“Now we’ve had tribunals about this kind of thing in the past. It is extraordinary Taoiseach that this has occurred. And in my view the minister has contaminated the process and you as Taoiseach need to reflect on that.

“And the Government does – before any further action is taken in relation to this.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke about how committed the Government is to the National Broadband Plan and about how it’s a huge an investment.

He went on to list Minister Naughten and his department’s responsibilities in relation to the plan.

He then said:

“In relation to the dinner to which you refer, while visiting New York in mid-July, to speak at the United Nations on Ireland’s progress towards achieving  the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Irish delegation, including Minister Naughten and his officials were invited to attend a dinner hosted by the McCourt family.

“It’s worth noting that he’s been a significant investor in the country for many years, employing hundreds of people. The exchange was of a ten-minute duration, as the minutes show, and Minister Naughten did not enter into any detailed discussions on the matters with Mr McCourt.

“Mr McCourt has also publicly confirmed this fact and the tender was not discussed. The minutes show that no official from the National Broadband Division was in attendance which is an important fact and that it was not a meeting arranged  to discuss the NBP.

The engagement in question took place in a social setting and the engagement of the NBP lasted no more than 10 minutes with Mr McCourt directing his comments to the officials of the department.

“The procurement department has confirmed that in no way whatsoever has the procurement process been compromised as has been alleged by some members of the Opposition, by the minister and his officials, meeting Mr McCourt in New York.

The short discussion was of an administrative nature. It is a single bidder so competition not a factor here and the meeting took place on July 16 when the evaluation stage had not yet commenced.

“The evaluation stage commenced on September 18, 2018, when the final tender document was submitted to the department. The minutes of this meeting have been published.”

Mr Martin said what the Taoiseach said wasn’t credible and read out the minutes (above).

He then said:

“This is the meat, this is the God damn meat of the bid. This was Mr McCourt saying ‘I’ve answered the case’. Do you not find it’s quite extraordinary Taoiseach, that we are where we are in even discussing this?

“So I think, Taoiseach, erecting Chinese walls, saying ‘I’m at the lunch, there’s an official at the lunch, or around the same table, but the minister becomes deaf and hear’s nothing. Hears nothing of the conversation. That’s not credible Taoiseach.

Mr Varadkar went on to say that he thinks it’s “OK” for Minister Naughten to have met with Mr McCourt, “provided it conferred no advantage on him”.

He added:

“And Minister Naughten is the Minister for Communications and are we really saying that over a two or three year period, as minister, it wouldn’t be possible for him to meet the CEO of Eircom, to meet the CEO of SSE, to meet the CEO of SIRO? That the Minister over a two or three year period would not have any engagement with anyone involved in the sector?”

“Perhaps he shouldn’t meet the CEO of RTE either, or the chair of RTE when issues around their funding couldn’t be discussed. Perhaps he shouldn’t meet the CEO of TG4 when decisions are made about funding of those bodies?

“Perhaps he shouldn’t meet the CEO of anybody in the entire industry?”

Watch back here

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised the housing crisis and asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar if he could explain “the absence of delivery [of housing] across the board” and if he accepted Ireland was in an “emergency”.

Mr Varadkar said he’s already on record as saying there’s an emergency and said he knows people across Ireland are frustrated with the pace of delivery of houses and that he’s frustrated, too.

He said he could “speak for hours” about all the things the Government is doing to fix the crisis but he said he’d mentioned the five main strands of the Government’s response to the crisis.

He said Ireland will undergo the “biggest social housing programme in decades in Ireland” with “over 100,000” social houses to be provided over the next ten years  and “8,000 this year alone”.

He said the Government is also “accelerating the supply of homes for people to buy” with 20,000 new houses and apartments to be built in Ireland this year and 25,000 next year.

Mr Varadkar also mentioned how the Government brought in rent caps in urban areas to “put a stop to the spiralling double digit rent increases”.

And he said “rough sleeping” is down by 40 per cent and “that didn’t happen by accident”.

He said: “It happened because we worked with NGOs and charities to get people off the streets.”

And, finally, he spoke about the recent launch of the Land Development Agency.

Further to this…

Dáil proceedings can be watched live here

Earlier: Rising Slowly

This afternoon.

Screggan, Tullamore, County Offaly

Fianna Fáil party leader Micheál Martin tries on a cowboy hat in the Aldi tent at the National Ploughing Championship joined by, from left John Curtin from Aldi, Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill and Finbar McCarthy from Ald.

Yee.

Haw.

Earlier: And We’re Back

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin will appear on The Late Late Show tomorrow night.

Gareth Naughton writes:

In a wide ranging interview, the leader of the opposition will chat with host Ryan Tubridy about his time leading Fianna Fáil, rebuilding the party in the past decade and his vision for the future.

He’ll be discussing the decision to support the current Fine Gael-led Government through a confidence and supply motion, how he thinks that has impacted on Fianna Fáil’s popularity with the electorate and how long more that agreement might last.

And we’ll be asking what he really thinks of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald.

Fight!

 

The Late Late Show on RTE One at 9.30pm tomorrow, Friday.

This afternoon.

Supply and FIGHT!

Update:

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has rebuffed a request from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to open talks seeking to extend the Confindence and Supply Agreement between the parties to summer 2020, with an election to be held then.

Mr Martin said Fianna Fáil will discuss the review process around the Confidence and Supply Agreement once the Budget is announced next month.

Ooh.

Martin reiterates position on no talks before Budget (RTÉ)


This afternoon.

The Davenport Hotel, Dublin 2

An address by Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin to a Lawyers 4 yes meeting.

There are just over two weeks left before polling in this referendum. By the time it is over this will have been one of the broadest and most detailed referendum debates we have ever held.

In many ways the campaign began in January when it became clear that the Oireachtas would support the proposal adopted by the all-party committee.

I believe that the logic and core humanity of the all-party recommendations have absolutely withstood scrutiny.

These recommendations involve a regulated regime which reflects medical reality and address the clear failure of the present law to provide even basic care and compassion for many women at what is one of the toughest moments of their lives.

Since I made my personal statement in the Dáil I have visited many parts of the country and have talked to hundreds of people about the referendum. For those who have disagreed with me I have met a very open and respectful tone.

However the most common reaction I have had is from women of all ages telling me of their own experiences and how important it is for them that Irish society hears their voice.

All of the evidence is that the public is becoming very well informed on the issues at hand.

It can be very difficult to see through a passionate debate – particularly when faceless groups are appearing and spreading dishonest and offensive material.

However I believe that people are intelligent enough to see through this – and I would encourage everyone to focus on the materials provided by reputable and officially registered groups as well as the Referendum Commission.

I believe that people increasingly understand that abortion is an everyday reality in Ireland. There is no option available to make Ireland abortion-free.

What we are being asked to do is to remove a 35 year-old provision in the constitution which has not only failed to make Ireland abortion-free it has inflicted considerable harm.

There have been many attempts to change the tone and outreach of support services. There have been many court cases and attempts to slightly alter the impact of the amendment.

But what has become clearer and clearer is that 8th amendment hasn’t worked because it cannot work.

In fact it has quite obviously increased the likelihood of difficult circumstances becoming a crisis for pregnant women. At the very core of the 8th amendment is a judgement and a completely inflexible one at that.

The 8th amendment hasn’t made abortion the last resort, in fact it has made abortion the only option for many women.

Faced with a deep crisis the first consultation the woman has is often with the internet, to find flights and addresses rather than with a medical professional here who can outline different options and ensure proper and safe care.

There is persuasive evidence that the liberalisation of abortion laws in some countries has actually led to a decline in abortion rates.

This makes complete sense because reduced pressure and an increased engagement with support services creates choices which are simply not there otherwise. There is no reason why this could not be the case in Ireland as well.

The specific proposals of the all party committee provide for a new approach where we can help women in Ireland faced with terrible situations which simply cannot be addressed while the 8th amendment remains in the constitution.

The law as it stands demands that we try to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term irrespective of the impact on her health, or if she was raped, or if she has received a diagnosis of a fatal foetal abnormality.

And it is essential people understand that there is no possible way for this to change if the amendment remains.

The Supreme Court has held, and left no room for doubt, that a constitutional prohibition must be reflected in the policy of the state, in its primary law and in its criminal code.

There is no discretion and there is no way of thinking that we can address these cases without removing the 8th amendment.

It has also been suggested that the limits and regulation proposed in the legislation can’t be trusted and that effectively there will be no limits. This is entirely wrong.

We should all remember that five years ago many people claimed that abortion on demand was being introduced because limits in that legislation wouldn’t be respected.

Those claims turned out to be false.

Women and their doctors have fully respected the strict limits in that law – and they will respect whatever law is introduced.

I deeply understand how uneasy many people are with the choice to be made on Friday May 25th. For a lot of people, including me, coming to a conclusion has been a long and challenging process.

Each of us has a personal responsibility as a citizen to decide where we stand.

This doesn’t have to be without reservations, but it does have to involve a frank and honest look at the reality of Ireland today and in the future.

A No vote on the 25th will mean that nothing will change. There will continue to be a long stream of cases through our courts taken by women facing extreme situations and identified only by a letter of the alphabet.

There will continue to be thousands of Irish abortions every year with no engagement with medical professionals.

There will continue to be a rising number of unsupervised and unregulated abortions taking place here with the use of abortion pills.

A No vote will mean that Ireland will continue to be a cold place for women in the most terrible circumstances – and we will continue to be confronted by case after case of cruel insensitivity.

A Yes vote will enable a system where the first consultation a woman facing a crisis has is with a medical professional who can support her and outline different choices.

It will enable a system which is regulated, safe and humane.

It will bring to an end the failures of the 8th amendment.

As a citizen I have made my decision. I will be voting Yes and I will continue to talk about the need for the change which can only be secured by voting Yes.

Lawyers For Choice (Facebook)

Former Ministers for Health Micheál Martin and Brian Cowen in 2000

From ‘Without Consent ‘ by Sheila O’Connor (Poolbeg)

Mags writes:

Before we get too excited by Micheál Martin ‘s tough stance on the CervicalCheck scandal this (above) is just some of the lengths the victims of Dr [Michael] Neary and patient activist Dr Tony O’Sullivan went to get a hearing from him…

…Martin eventually met the women, promised a lot, delivered only disappointment and moved on to his next ministerial portfolio. Dr Neary’s victims would finally left with a whitewash of a report….

Without Consent by Sheila O’Connor (Poolbeg)

Rollingnews

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

During Leader’s Questions.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised the Strategic Communications Unit, the controversial advertorials placed in newspapers in relation to National Development Plan, Project Ireland 2040.

Mr Martin claimed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was going down a “dangerous route” with the SCU while Mr Varadkar claimed the Fianna Fáil leader just didn’t want to talk about Fine Gael’s initiatives.

Mr Martin and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had the following exchange, before Mr Varadkar held up previous newspaper articles containing material about Fianna Fáil.

Things got heated prompting Ceann Comhairle Sean Ó Fearghaíl to rise to his feet.

Michael Martin: “The role of the Strategic Communications Unit which you established, whose head [John Colcannon] you selected must come under the closest of scrutiny and most comprehensive of reviews. Because the SCU-directed campaign, in my view, either advertently or inadvertently has politicised elements of the civil service whether we like it or care to admit it or not.

This campaign represents an abuse of taxpayers’ money, I genuinely believe that.

“That Government advertisements, or funding of the media, should in my view be at arm’s length and not used for party political or party electoral objectives.

“The civil service code in this regard, in my view, as a result of this campaign, has been breached.

“If you read the Longford Leader, the Limerick Leader, the Roscommon Herald, for example, you will see so-called advertisements masquerading as news articles with Fine Gael candidates, prominent in those ads. Not members of Government, in some cases, not even members of the Oireachtas, but Fine Gael election candidates prominent in those advertisements.

“The Sunday World double-spread features [Athlone-based] Senator Gabrielle McFadden with a large emphasis on Athlone. Boxer [Athlone-based Independent junior OPW minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran] gets in but not to the same degree.

“And again, it’s a clear electoral pitch by any yardstick. And if you look at it and this is meant to be an ad informing the public about information around the actual, the national planning framework or the national development plan itself. In essence it’s using taxpayers’ money to advance or promote Fine Gael election candidates.

“And you can see the same trend in other constituencies as well in terms of trying to identify key marginals and so on and promoting issues around those marginals, constituencies.

“We have an independent media, thanks be to god, which is essential to the health of our democracy and speaking truth to power is an essential pre-requisite for that. The media needs revenue and we’ve no difficulty with advertisements that are clearly identified as advertisements.

“Media content partnerships between the Government at the media should be fully transparent so in that context, one local editor told the Times Ireland that, “this is fake news, newspapers are struggling and the Government know that so they’ve got us by the – ” I’m not going to finish for parliamentary decency.

“Regional newspapers were instructed to make Government advertorials to look like independent stories and in some cases part of the normal news cycle. So Taoiseach, some basic questions. Last week you were asked what’s the estimate for the cost of this particular campaign? I would ask you if you could outline to the house how much it has cost and the overall estimate for it is. Do you accept that there’s been a blurring of the lines in how all of this has transpired?

“That it involves a politicisation of the staff in the SCU, the Strategic Communications Unit, and that essentially the entire promotion has been about Fine Gael’s electoral advancement?”

Leo Varadkar: “First of all, it is at arm’s length, deputy. The communications unit operates at arm’s length from me and from the rest of the Government. It is a civil service-staffed entity and it operates at arm’s length and does so in accordance with the civil service code.

“And that is the case. Your assertion that it’s the most expensive public information campaign run by Government is absolutely not the case. From the records that I have, the most expensive one was one that was run by the Fianna Fail/Green coalition which was the change campaign – around the Government’s Climate Change agenda – that cost €15million. The one around Transport 21 – which was the public information campaign around Transport 21, again which you’ll remember cost €3million.

“This campaign will cost around €1.5million which is half the cost of the Transport 21 campaign. And a tenth of the cost of the Change campaign so those are the facts in relation to the cost.

“It is my view, it is my view, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that good communications is a virtue. That good communications is a virtue. It’s right and proper that the Government should be able to inform the public, what it’s doing, what is happening, how public money is being spent and how it’s acting in their interest and I often meet people that say to me that ‘the government isn’t communicating right’, it isn’t getting its message across and I believe we need to do more in that field to make sure that people are fully aware of what Government is doing.

“But I also know what you’re doing, deputy. You don’t want people to talk about Project Ireland 2040.

“You don’t want people to talk about the good plan that we’ve published to improve our country, to upgrade our infrastructure in the coming years.

“What we’ve produced is a plan for the next 20 years, backed up by a 10-year infrastructure investment plan, running to €116bn and last week, you didn’t want to talk about it, you wanted to talk about process and procedure, this week you want to talk about the public information campaign.

“Because you don’t want people to hear about the plan, you don’t want people to hear about the Government’s vision to make our country a better place.

“You don’t want to hear about the €116bn that’s being invested and this is a government that’s delivering on infrastructure.

“Yesterday Minister [Simon] Harris opened two new primary care centres in Coolock and in Co Kildare. There are 110 primary care centres now, there were only 40 when the party which I lead came to office.

“This morning, on the way to work, I passed the paediatric unit, at the Connolly Hospital, which is now in its third storey and within the next couple of weeks, the new Luas trams will arrive, making them longer.

“So what this is about, from your point of view, is pure politics. We produced a plan Project Ireland 2040 – a €116bn plan to invest in and improve our infrastructure, roads, rails, healthcare, housing, transport, all of those really important things.

“Last week you want to talk about process, this week you want to talk about the public information campaign.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is actually talk about the issues.”

Micheál Martin: “I asked very straight questions and have been asking them of the Taoiseach for the past three to four months, long before the publication of any national development plan. The strategic communications unit is about the promotion of the Taoiseach’s good self and his party. That is the point. It is unprecedented. There are 15 staff in the unit. I asked the Taoiseach a very simple question about Fine Gael election candidates appearing in Government advertisements paid for by the taxpayer. It is about the ethics of it. Will he, please, answer that question?”

Leo Varadkar: “What is the question?”

Micheál Martin:
“It is about time the Taoiseach faced up to that. He has blurred the lines and is going down a dangerous route which has, ultimately, the potential to corrupt our democratic process itself. It is about time he saw that.

Leo Varadkar::The answer to the Deputy’s question is ‘No’. We have already explained how this works. The communications unit entered into media partnerships with media organisations. What happens there is that…

Micheál Martin: “Have the terms been published?”

Leo Varadkar: “Those organisations have editorial control over content. Nobody in the unit suggested any particular person should be interviewed and nobody in the unit had any editorial sign off on the articles before they were published. Those were done by the media.”

Leo Varadkar: “It is one thing to be getting a lecture from Fianna Fáil about this sort of thing. I refer to the national development plan advertisement.”

Micheál Martin: “It is an advertisement.”

Timmy Dooley
[FF]: “It is an advertisement. It says “commercial feature”.

Leo Varadkar: “It does not say “commercial feature”. It says “public information”.

Micheál Martin: “No, no.”

Leo Varadkar: “What we have is a banner on the top saying “national development plan”, just like we had for Project Ireland 2040.”

Ceann Comhairle: “Time is up.”

Leo Varadkar: “It does not mention the Government of Ireland whatsoever. The first thing is a big feature, an opinion editorial with a picture of Mr Brian Cowen. In the corner, we have a nice little picture of Deputy Micheál Martin…”

Robert Troy [FF]: “It was in the Roscommon newspapers.”

Ceann Comhairle: “The Taoiseach is not in order.”

Leo Varadkar:
“…and on the next page we have a picture of Mr. Bertie Ahern. In the one from The Irish Times, it is the same thing again…”

Ceann Comhairle:
“Can the Taoiseach restrain himself from…”

Leo Varadkar: “There is another opinion editorial with Mr. Brian Cowen’s picture and an even bigger picture of Deputy Micheál Martin. This is from The Limerick Chronicle.”


Leo Varadkar:
“Again, it says “public information” and “national development plan”. There is nothing about the Government of Ireland whatsoever.”

Ceann Comhairle: “Please.”

Leo Varadkar: “On the back of this we have an article from the…

Ceann Comhairle:
“No. Sorry, Taoiseach…”

Leo Varadkar: “There are quotes from third parties…”

Ceann Comhairle: “Taoiseach, please.”

Micheál Martin: “Check the line, Taoiseach.

Leo Varadkar: “The Deputy is not in a position to be giving lectures.

Ceann Comhairle: :The rules of the House apply to the Taoiseach and Deputy Micheál Martin equally, so please respect…”

More to follow

Meanwhile…

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

“If I’m asked my opinion during the campaign, I’ll give it, but I don’t see myself campaigning,” Martin told The Sunday Times. “I think it will be a different type of campaign. Given the personal nature of the issue, I’m not sure people will want to take direction from politicians. The referendum commission is going to be an important source of information.”

Martin clarified his intentions about the campaign after some Fianna Fail TDs criticised his unexpected declaration of support for repeal last Thursday.

But [pro-life FF TD] Eamon Ó Cuív, a former deputy leader, claimed Martin “is already campaigning by standing up in the Dail and advising people on what they should do; when he gave his views so publicly, he knew he was going to influence people”.

Martin: I won’t campaign for repeal (Justine McCarthy, The Sunday Times)

Seismic shift sends Irish politics into new phase ((rish Times)

Previously: Martin’s Gambit: Steal Repeal

This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2

Fianna Fail leader Michéal Martin BROODS ahead of a meeting this evening with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar over Fine Gael’s refusal to sack Frances Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

Meanwhile…

You guys.

Meanwhile…

Rollingnews

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

 Unredacted

Derek Mooney: What Happened

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