From top: Terry Prone, Frances Fitzgerald and Norin O’Sullivan
Last Friday journalist Ken Foxe revealed that the Office of the Information Commissioner had discovered 68 records of correspondence between former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and PR advisor Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic between May 8, 2014 and March 11, 2017.
These were records which the Department of Justice previously said never existed.
The OIC made the discovery after Mr Foxe appealed the department’s claim that there were no such records in existence.
As a consequence of the OIC’s examination, the OIC Peter Tyndall quashed the department’s decision to refuse to release the correspondence and requested that the department ask Ms Fitzgerald to check her personal email accounts for any other records.
The Department of Justice has since told Mr Foxe it is considering Mr Tyndall’s decision.
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.