Why didn't Tanaiste ask Questions of her own Department in May 2016?
Issued : Sunday 26 November, 2017
Labour TD for Tipperary Alan Kelly has tonight asked why the Tánaiste did not ask questions of her own Department about the legal strategy at O'Higgins in May 2016.
Deputy Kelly said:
"Every day we are finding out more and more of what was going on in the Department of Justice around the time of the O'Higgins Commission. Now there is a trawl going on in the Department of Justice which will provide even more information. One wonders why the Department couldn't have provided this information in response to my parliamentary questions?
"The Tánaiste says she found out about the legal strategy adopted at O'Higgins at the same time as everyone else when the media revealed it in May 2016. I want to ask her what did she do about it then? She forgot she had read an email in May 2015 about it, but now it was public in May 2016 what did she do about it?
"She referred a matter to the Policing Authority in June but that was only with regard to the Garda Síochána's role in this matter. What did she do about the Department of Justice's role in what happened in O'Higgins and why didn't she ask questions as to the knowledge her Department had on the whole matter? After all, the Department had full knowledge of what was going on at O'Higgins and was represented at it legally. Each day's transcripts were also being produced.
"Also in May 2016, why did the Tánaiste not ask one of the many people who were aware of this legal strategy in her Department and had been sent the email on May 15th 2015 what had gone on in O'Higgins and why weren't the Department aware of this? Furthermore why did any one of those people not venture to tell the Tánaiste that the Department had been aware of this in May 2015 before she did media interviews or answered questions in the Dail?
"If the Tanaiste wasn't aware of the legal strategy in May 2015, despite her Department being fully aware and despite there being an email to her on it, she certainly was aware of it in May 2016, but didn't do anything or raise any questions of her own Department. The question has to be asked, why?
"Why didn't she make inquiries, or launch an investigation regarding the workings of her own Department? If she didn't know about all of this, the lack of action when she did know raises even more questions. Why didn't she ask in May 2016 what the Department knew in May 2015? In that scenario the Tánaiste simply failed in her duty as Minister for Justice. She was notified in May 2015 and did nothing and she was notified very publicly in May 2016 and still did nothing. It is not credible to be able to stand over both of those positions."