Maurice McCabe controversy fallout

Independent Alliance seek external independent person to conduct audit of An Garda Síochána

Sorcha Pollak, Harry McGee Thu, Feb 16
 
LIVE: Maurice McCabe controversy fallout

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  • 12:14

    Sorcha Pollak here for the afternoon bringing you the latest updates on the fallout from the Government's handling of the Garda whistleblower controversy.



    Please get in touch with your comments and thoughts on the controversy and the alleged smear campaign against Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe by tweeting @SorchaPollak or emailing spollak@irishtimes.com  

  • 12:15

    Just a quick update on what we know this morning:  

    - Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney are attempting to calm Fine Gael backbenchers who want to rapidly remove Taoiseach Enda Kenny as party leader.

    - Independent Alliance Ministers are seeking further clarity from Mr Kenny on his knowledge of the Garda whistleblower controversy and the Tusla link to the alleged smear campaign against Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe.

    - Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney, the two frontrunners to succeed him as Fine Gael leader, have spent recent days attempting to assuage the worries of members of the parliamentary party ahead of a meeting on Wednesday night.

  • 12:18
    Enda Kenny is now taking questions from Opposition leaders and their representatives in the Dáil  
  • 12:19

    Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance, is sitting next to Enda Kenny at Leaders’ Questions in show of support.   He would be advising Kenny on surviving as leader. If Kenny goes, Noonan goes.  

  • 12:23

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that on January 24th, officials from Minister for Children Katherine Zappone's office told him she was meeting with Sergeant McCabe.

    Mr Kenny said that on February 7th, before the Cabinet meeting, Ms Zappone mentioned to him briefly that Sergeant McCabe had mentioned that Sergeant McCabe had told her about false sexual allegations made to Tusla.  

    He said it was clear to him that these were matters for the Commission.

    Micheal Martin has quizzed him on this as asserts the Taoiseach's confidence in predicting it was a matter for Commission, suggesting he was aware of Tusla file and contents.  

    This has been rejected by Taoiseach.  

  • 12:23

    Gerry Adams now upping the ante saying he has no confidence in the Government

  • 12:24

    Taoiseach denies he did not know of the detail of the Tusla files in response to Gerry Adams.  

    He said he did know that in the terms of reference for the Commission for Investigation that criminal misconduct was included.  

    Mr Adams now asserting that Mr Kenny must have known of the allegations.  

  • 12:25

    The Tasoieach is now saying he was not allowed by law to be aware of the content or details of the protected disclosures made by Garda whistleblowers.

    He said he was entitled to be aware of, and analyse, the terms of reference.  

    He was very clear that the terms covered false allegations of sexual misconduct as outlined to him briefly by Ms Zappone.  

  • 12:27
    If you're interested in watching the leaders' questions - as well as following our blog coverage of course - here's the link to the Dáil live stream  https://media.heanet.ie/player/oirtv.php?channel=dail  
  • 12:29
  • 12:35

    Here’s an overview from deputy political editor Pat Leahy on what was just discussed re the whistleblower controversy at Leaders’ questions.

    Both the Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and the Sinn Fien President Gerry Adams have returned to one of the chief questions that arise from the Taoiseach’s statements and those of Minister for Children yesterday:

    How did the Taoiseach know that the false allegations of sexual assault against Sergeant Maurice McCabe, which were contained in the Tusla file, would be covered by the proposed terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation approved by the cabinet last week?

    The cabinet discussion which preceded the decision to set up the Commission of Investigation (now abandoned in favour of a Tribunal of Inquiry) was carried on without either the Taoiseach or Katherine Zappone telling their colleagues about the Tusla file.

    The Taoiseach says he had a brief discussion with Ms Zappone preceding cabinet which did not involve any details of the affair. She says that she based her belief that the Commission could investigate it on his assurances.

    But if he did not know any details, how did he know it would be covered by the Commission?

    This morning, as last night, the Taoiseach said that his analysis was confirmed by Judge Peter Charleton in a letter to the Government last Friday (published by The Irish Times yesterday).

    He’s right about that. But Judge Charleton’s view was expressed after the Primetime programme. Mr Kenny’s view was made before it, and before – he says – he knew the detail of the allegations. It was, at the least, commendable prescience on his behalf.

     

  • 12:40

    After Mattie McGrath spoke about autism services in his constituency, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan returned to the theme of the Maurice McCabe scandal.  

    He asked Taoiseach whether the inquiry be widened to include other Garda whistleblowers?

    He also asked about the extent and breadth of the rumours that were doing the rounds.

    What is timeline of the enquiry?

    Mr Kenny said he hopes it might be possible to have terms ready by tomorrow.  

    Turning to other whistleblowers, he said it would be a matter for the judge.  

    "I would think it would be appropriate that if the facility was there, the (chairman) of the Tribunal could extend it to other whistleblowers.”

    So the Taoiseach is saying that it's possible to extend it to other whistleblowers. He acknowledges that protection of sources for journalists might be an issue.  

    He says this will need some consideration.

  • 12:44
  • 12:45
  • 12:55

    Earlier this morning,  Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness and Labour TD Alan Kelly joined Irish Times journalists Sarah Bardon and Colm Keena on the Inside Politics podcast with Hugh Linehan.  

    Mr McGuinness told the podcast he would seek his party's support to extend the tribunal of inquiry to facilitate other garda whistleblowers. He added that the investigation could be done in modular form with Sergeant Maurice McCabe to take priority.

    The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said Fianna Fail should step outside the confidence and supply arrangement on issues like this. He believes the party should vote against the investigation if it is not satisfied with the terms of reference.

    Meanwhile Labour TD Alan Kelly said he would be making a statement today confirming he was unaware of the allegations when he served as a Cabinet Minister. Mr Kelly said he would be asking other Ministers to do the same in the House.


    Click here to listen to the full podcast.  

  • 13:00

    A reminder that the Independnce Alliance is meeting today to duscuss the McCabe fallout.  


    Alliance members were in contact with each other in the early hours of Wednesday but it is expected that while they will seek further clarifications from Enda Kenny, most members have no wish to pull the Government down on this issue.


    A Cabinet meeting which was expected to take place on Wednesday to discuss the terms of reference for the tribunal of inquiry into the alleged smear campaign against the Garda whistleblower Sgt McCabe, is not now expected to take place until Thursday, Government sources have said.

  • 13:13

    Just tuning in and seeking a reminder as to how the whole whistleblower controversy came about?

    Check out this timeline which guides you through the events that have plagued the life of Sgt Maurice McCabe and the reputation of the Garda force for more than a decade.  

  • 13:15

    Here's a reminder of the whistleblowers involved in the controversy:  


    MAURICE McCABE:  In 2008, the Westmeath-based sergeant raised concerns with his superiors about senior gardaí quashing penalty points. Nothing was done but in December 2012, he was banned from using Pulse, the Garda’s communication and data storage computer system through which he had been able to analyse the penalty points system. Controversy over the treatment of Sgt McCabe and a swirl of claims and counter-claims about investigations into his claims led to the resignations of then Garda commissioner Martin Callanan and minister for justice, Alan Shatter.

  • 13:15

    JOHN WILSON:  Penalty points were also at the heart of the case of former garda John Wilson’s whistleblowing which ran in parallel with Sgt McCabe’s efforts to draw attention to abuses of the system.


    Mr Wilson told TDs about malpractices in the application of penalty points after failing, in his view, to get the matter dealt with adequately through the Garda’s internal complaints system. He retired in 2013 and brought, but lost, a High Court challenge to Garda findings that he had breached discipline by his actions.

  • 13:15

    NICK KEOGH: In May 2014, Athlone garda Nick Keogh told the force’s confidential recipient, retired judge Patrick McMahon, that senior Garda officers were inflating crime statistics by inducing people to buy drugs from dealers and then sell them to Garda undercover officers, who seized the contraband and reported a crime detected.


    The then Independent TD Luke Flanagan said Garda Keogh’s efforts to have something done resulted in an internal cover-up with the file of an incident about which he complained being “lost” and data removed from the Pulse system.

  • 13:16

    KEITH HARRISON: While serving in Athlone in 2009, Garda Keith Harrison prosecuted a colleague (unsuccessfully) for alleged drink driving, despite opposition from senior officers. Afterwards, he claims, he was subjected to bullying and harassment by colleagues and, despite an unblemished record, to unprecedented scrutiny.


    This resulted in him facing 16 claims of breaches of discipline, four of which were upheld. In December 2015, a High Court judge ordered the Garda to abandon an investigation into him for allegedly intimidating his partner, a claim Garda Harrison denied. Earlier in his career, he received a Scott Medal for bravery.

  • 13:17

    DAVID TAYLOR: Superintendent David Taylor claims senior Garda management orchestrated a campaign against Sgt McCabe.



    In June 2014, Supt Taylor was transferred from the Garda Press Office to the Traffic Division amid claims he had been involved in illegally disclosing information about a Garda investigation regarding the alleged abduction of two Roma children.



    He was arrested in May 2015 and questioned about the alleged leaking. Earlier this year, Supt Taylor, who was suspended over a year ago, sought to stop the investigation. The DPP has yet to decide whether to prosecute over the alleged leaking.

  • 13:34

    Here's a reminder of who said what and when in relation to the Tusla file...

    Spokesman for Minister for Children Katherine Zappone  at 2pm on Friday:“Minister Zappone met Mrs and Sgt McCabe on Wednesday 25th January . . . Minister Zappone informed relevant Government colleagues.”

    Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald  on Friday:  “She [ Zappone] informed me in January that she intended to meet with Sgt McCabe. She of course did not inform me about any details in relation to confidential Tusla records.”

    Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Friday:  A spokesman for Kenny said he first became aware of the false allegations against Sgt McCabe on Thursday evening when RTÉ’s  Prime Timeprogramme was aired.

    Ms Fitzgerald at 12pm on Sunday:  “Let me be clear when I went home and watched  Prime Time  I did not have the facts as they emerged.”

    Mr Kenny at 1pm on Sunday:  “Minister Zappone did tell me she intended to meet with Sgt McCabe in a private capacity and that’s all I knew.

    “I said to her, ‘If you do have a meeting make sure that you have a thorough account of it.’ So when we had our meeting on Tuesday, I wouldn’t have been aware of any of the details of her discussions with [Sgt McCabe].”

    Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan on Sunday:“I spoke to Frances Fitzgerald on Wednesday evening [February 8th] and informed her of the need to include Tusla in the terms of reference for the commission of investigation. I also urged her to speak to the Minister for Children.”

    Ms Fitzgerald at 6pm on Sunday:  “Deputy O’Callaghan said to me that  Prime Time  would have a programme the following evening related the establishment of the commission.

    “At no point did he mention Tusla or any of the details that emerged in the programme.”

    Mr O’Callaghan on  Monday:  “I’m 100 per cent certain that I did mention Tusla and I’m also 100 per cent certain that I said to the Tánaiste, and the words I used were: ‘Frances, you need to speak to Katherine Zappone because she has met Sgt McCabe and she has full knowledge about this issue.’”

    Ms Zappone on  Monday:  “I did not go into detail of any of the allegations that I was aware of but I did indicate to him [Kenny, on Tuesday] that that was the nature of the conversation.”

    Spokesman for Mr Kenny on Monday:  “As Minister Zappone confirmed today, she did not divulge any of the details of these very serious issues to the Taoiseach or to anyone else in Government. This was absolutely the correct course of action.”

  • 13:48

    Yesterday Fintan O'Toole wrote that the Irish desire to be in the know makes it easy for abusive institutions to traduce whistleblowers.  


    O'Toole writes:

    'We have an insatiable appetite for rumour, especially when it is salted with luridly salacious detail. Abusive institutions know and exploit this craving.

    'The smearing of Maurice McCabe is primarily a frightening abuse of power by public bodies. It has to be confronted through a robust criminal inquiry led from outside the State. But this vile and disgusting story must also make us reflect on the hunger for vicious gossip that almost devoured a good man and his family.


    'Smears don’t work unless there is a willingness to believe them – and this desire runs deep in Irish culture.'


    To keep reading, click here.  

  • 13:55

    The Independent Alliance is set to meet Enda Keeny at 4pm today to discuss how the whistleblower controversy has been handled.

    The Alliance has not committed to supporting a motion of confidence to be discussed in the Dail this afternoon.

    Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has confirmed the investigation may be broadened. He said it was  a matter for the judge leading the inquiry to decide on this but said the Government had no immediate objection.

  • 13:56

    During Leaders' Questions earlier today,  Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said there had been a drip, drip of information and misinformation in the lead up to the terms of reference being discussed.


    Fianna Fail will abstain from the confidence vote to ensure the Government’s survival but the position of the Taoiseach has come under renewed scrutiny.

  • 13:58
    Also earlier today, Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher described the Government’s response to the whistleblower controversy has been “incoherent and shambolic” but said his party was committed to stability.
  • 14:00
  • 14:02
  • 14:25

    Sarah Bardon is reporting that  Taoiseach Enda Kenny could face a leadership challenge within a matter of weeks.


    A member of the party said there was "almost an acceptance" that Fine Gael would lose the next election and that a new leader was needed "to re-energise the troops".  

    Mr Kenny’s leadership will not be the focus of the parliamentary party meeting this evening due to a Dáil debate on a confidence motion.

    However, there is a growing acceptance the Taoiseach has lost the support of the middle ground in the party.

    One Minister said Mr Kenny  had served the party well but it had moved beyond his control.

    “There is nobody feeling any joy on the back of this, but we have to accept that things are changing and an election could be called at any point.


    “There is almost an acceptance that we are going to lose the next election. We need a new leader to re-energise the troops.”


  • 14:27

    Carlow-Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan  has said there should be a new leader of Fine Gael  within the next six to eight weeks, Sarah Bardon reports.  

    However, leadership hopefuls Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney  have urged TDs to hold fire at present.

    Mr Varadkar and Mr Coveney are the frontrunners to replace Mr Kenny, and many TDs privately believe they should approach the Taoiseach and ask him to set out a timeline for his departure.

    A large number of Ministers and TDs believe it is up to both to go to Mr Kenny together and deliver such a message.

    However, sources close to both Ministers, say that is extremely unlikely, and it is hoped Mr Kenny will step aside of his own accord soon.

  • 14:44

    Irish Times political editor Pat Leahy has put together a clear explainer about the background of the McCabe controversy.


    What is this all about?


    Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe  made a number of allegations of garda malpractice, including but not limited to, the cancelling of penalty points. Many, though not all, of his accusations were found to be well-grounded in an investigation by Judge Kevin O’Higgins in a report published last year,  which found significant failures by the Garda.


    Sgt McCabe believes he was the subject of an organised campaign to discredit him by senior gardaí as a result of the whistleblowing claims that he made.


    Last year, David Taylor,  a senior officer who was previously head of the Garda Press Office, made a "protected disclosure" under whistleblower protection laws  which supported and illustrated Sgt McCabe’s claims.



    He says he was directed and encouraged by his superiors - including the Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan  - to blacken McCabe’s name. Ms O’Sullivan firmly rejects his allegation.







  • 14:45

    What has this got to do with the Government?

    David Taylor’s protected disclosure was made to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald  last year. She immediately passed it to a retired judge, Iarfhlaith O’Neill, asking him to make a report to her on whether the claims needed further investigation.

    Late last year, Mr Justice O’Neill reported to Ms Fitzgerald that the allegations warranted the establishment of a Commission of Investigation - essentially an inquiry held in private by a judge - to find out who was telling the truth.


    Last week, the Government decided to do that, asking a Supreme Court judge, Peter Charleton,  to undertake the task. The terms of reference for his inquiry focussed on the alleged garda campaign against McCabe, and the contacts they had with some journalists.

  • 14:45

    How are Tusla involved?

    On Thursday night, RTÉ’s  Prime Time  programme broadcast details of a file created by Tusla, the state’s child protection agency, which contained false allegations of sexual assault against a child by Sgt McCabe.

    The agency said the claim was a result of a “clerical error”. However, even after the error was discovered, the claim of sexual abuse against McCabe was pursued. It was also passed onto the gardaí. McCabe believes that may have been part of the campaign against him.

  • 14:47
    For more on what's happening with the investigation into the McCabe allegations of the smear campaign and what the Dáil's motion of no confidence is about, click here
  • 15:11
  • 15:25

    Independent Alliance seek three month investigation of gardaí

    The Independent Alliance is to seek an external independent person to conduct an audit of An Garda Siochana, Sarah Bardon has reported.  

    It is understood the grouping will request a three month investigation of the gardaí in light of the allegations against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

    If any are discovered, an external criminal investigation should be conducted.

    Meanwhile,  Minister Denis Naughten and Independent Deputy Dr Michael Harty met directly with the Taoiseach this morning.  

    The purpose of the meeting was to hear personally from the Taoiseach about the events that have unfolded since late last week.

    Mr Naughten expressed his request to see better handling of sensitive Government memos.The Taoiseach agreed to put in place a mechanism around this area that will ensure Ministers Naughten and Minister for Children Katherine Zappone receive a briefing on sensitive memos prior to Cabinet.

  • 16:20
    A reminder that the Independent Alliance is currently meeting with the Taoiseach. They are expected to seek an external independent person to conduct an audit of An Garda Síochána  in the wake of the Sgt Maurice McCabe controversy.
  • 16:23
  • 16:25

    A second Garda who says he also faced false accusations of abuse has been meeting TDs in Leinster House, writes Harry McGee.  

    Galway-born Garda Keith Harrison made protected disclosures over concerns about Garda investigations and the behaviour of colleagues in the force.

    Formerly stationed in Athlone, he is now living in Donegal.

    Mr Harrison said he was subjected to bullying after he prosecuted a colleague for alleged drink driving. At a later stage, he became a whistleblower, making allegations about shortcomings and unacceptable behaviour in Garda operations and investigations.

    His solicitor, Trevor Collins, who was also in Leinster House on Wednesday said Mr Harrison was made a “pariah” by colleagues, after taking the prosecution against a colleague.

  • 16:27

    Labour TD Alan Kelly has taken up Garda Keith Harrison’s cause and has called for a specific reference to his case in the terms of reference for the Tribunal of Inquiry being set up to inquire into false accusations made against Sgt McCabe.

    He said that both cases were germane and had involved the same use of tactics to discourage whistle-blowing of wrongdoing.

    “We need a specific provision in there for other whistle-blowers.”

    “Given the similarity between this and the Sergeant McCabe case. It needs to deal with the disgraceful way an agenda was pursed to discredit and damage certain whistle-blowing gardaí,” said Mr Kelly.

  • 16:52
  • 16:57

    If this story seems increasingly complicated, take a minute to read political editor Pat Leahy's explainer on what the McCabe controversy is all about.


    Leahy writes: The future of the Government is imperilled and the Taoiseach has been profoundly damaged by his handling of the affair. Fine Gael backbenchers are furious.



    Leadership contenders Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar have been  trying to calm them down and dissuade those who are spoiling to get rid of Mr Kenny. The controversy has almost certainly shortened his remaining time as leader, perhaps drastically.

  • 17:00
  • 17:02
  • 17:08
    I'm signing off from our live blog coverage of the McCabe controversy but my colleague Harry McGee will be providing updates through the evening. You can tweet him on @harrymcgee  
  • 18:40
    Welcome to the @irishtimes Live Blog on the world of Irish politics with me Harry McGee.
    Why would you need to go anywhere else. What's a mere European Cup game between Arsenal and Bayern Munich when compared to the searing prose we are going to hear during tonight's confidence debate in the Government?
    The debate is getting underway in six minutes time with the vote expected around 10.15pm.
  • 18:45
    We will fill you in on the background and the subtext of the past 48 hours. But that in a little while.
    Because meantime in the past half hour, there have been two amor developments.
    The first has been the Independent Alliance demanding an independent expert audit of the Garda, headed by an international figure.
    Shane Ross and his colleagues marched onto the plinth just after six to say they almost crashed the Government over the Fine Gael implosion we have seen in the past 24 hours.
    And now as Fiach Kelly is reporting, the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting has seen all the major leadership contenders, Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, in particular signal that the party needs to prepare for an election. The subtext of that is leadership change. Kenny has said he won't lead the party into an election.
    Following his disastrous flip-flop on his meetings with Katherine Zappone he has essentially brought forward considerably the date in which he will step down.
    It's now looking like it will be sooner rather than later
  • 18:46
  • 18:46
    This is Fiach's latest update on the story
  • 18:54
    A short interval,
  • 18:56
    I know that the shallow experience of looking at a soccer game involving two teams of professional mercenary seems a tad more attractive than listening to Bernard Durkan opine on the future of Government
    But for us anoraks it's all been about goalmouth action in the past two days.
    In many ways Kenny is a bit like Arsene Wenger. He's been there a long time and there are increasing calls for his resignation.
    Unfortunately for Kenny what has done for him has been politics version of an own goal.
  • 18:59
    The scene in Leinster House as TDs await the debate to begin. There will be a full house today. A three-line whip means that all Fine GAel and Independent Alliance TDs will need to be there.  
    The scene in Leinster House as TDs await the debate to begin. There will be a full house today. A three-line whip means that all Fine GAel and Independent Alliance TDs will need to be there.  
  • 19:00
    The number of votes the Government needs is 57. That is the 50 Fine Gael Deputies plus the seven Independent TDs supporting the Government. Fianna Fáil is expected to abstain.
  • 19:02
    Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher, the Leas Ceann Comhairle, has said the debate will proceed shortly when the Taoiseach arrives.
    Kenny was delayed by FG meeting. He's in the Dail now.
    He's about to speak
  • 19:03
    Taoiseach has started speaking. He has attacked Sinn Féin for its political opportunism in calling for this motion.  
    Taoiseach has started speaking. He has attacked Sinn Féin for its political opportunism in calling for this motion.  
  • 19:05
  • 19:07
    Kenny describes the smear against Maurice McCabe as appalling. Now going through the sequence of contacts he had with Katherine Zappone. It's very different now than version he gave on Sunday.
    What has really damaged him is that he described a meeting he had with her that never took place.
    The 'mea culpa' yesterday was also damaging.
  • 19:09
    Now he has just skirted over the details of his errors of recollection.
    but acknowledges his mistake.
    "This was an unintentional error for which I apologise to the House"
  • 19:11
    He has said that an election is the last thing that the country needs. Enda Kenny reminds the House that it is only a year since the last one.
  • 19:12
    Now Micheal Martin is on his feet. He is also quick out of the traps to attack Sinn Féin. Shares that with Enda Kenny.
  • 19:12
    Micheal Martin is saying there is no doubt that over the last week the Government has dealt with the matter in a casual manner. He also accuses it of complacency and of ongoing failure to resond.  
    Micheal Martin is saying there is no doubt that over the last week the Government has dealt with the matter in a casual manner. He also accuses it of complacency and of ongoing failure to resond.  
  • 19:13
    Not exactly the kind of prose you expect from somebody who is going to abstain. "Members of the Government may have talked but they never listene."
  • 19:14
    "We have no evidence that Government acted in bad faith."
    "There has been insurmountable evidence that Government acted with incompetence and complacency."
  • 19:14
  • 19:15
    As Pat Leahy has tweeted there, the Taoiseach's mojo has disappeared once more. Doubts now as to whether he can rediscover it, Brexit or not.
  • 19:16
    Micheal Martin returns to attacking Sinn Féin on its record in the North. He says the party called an election rather than facilitating an inquiry into the cash for ash controversy.
    He's laying it on thick. He said the North has no voice in the critical Brexit negotiations.
    It's provoked heckles from the Sinn Féin benches.
  • 19:17
    "Our position is that every Deputy elected to the Dail has a duty to make this Dail work."
  • 19:18
    A slip there from Micheal Martin. Identifies his party as Fine Gael before correcting himself.
  • 19:19
    Has a big go at Noel Rock. There is still a record, he says, of all the crawling speeches he made praising Kenny when nominating him for Taoiseach, the same taoiseach he is now speeding away from.
  • 19:19
    Martin: "We have played this agreement straight. We have been a constructive opposition."
  • 19:19
  • 19:21
    He has criticised the pretenders for Fine Gael leadership. Said they were in hiding. A subliminal criticism of Leo Varadkar. He says Ministers focused on their own futures and positioning themselves as bystanders
  • 19:21
    Gerry Adams now speaking.
  • 19:22
    'Fine Gael has lurched from one policing and justice crisi to another,' he says.  
    "Fine Gael has lurched from one policing and justice crisi to another," he says.  
  • 19:22
  • 19:23
  • 19:25
    Adams now turning to contradictions exposed in comments by Frances Fitzgerald and Enda Kenny. He refers to Jim O'Callaghan's version of events.
    "We have a senior Fianna Fail deputy essentially calling Frances Fitzgerald a liar."
  • 19:25
  • 19:26
  • 19:27
  • 19:27
    Like Micheal Martin earlier today, Gerry Adams now questioning how Enda Kenny could have been so confident in saying the Tusla smears were covered by the terms when he spoke to Katherine Zappone.
  • 19:28
  • 19:29
    That's a significant line from Fiach Kelly. It means there is now a concerted plan between the two main rivals to begin the succession process.
  • 19:30
    Gerry Adams telling Enda Kenny that the current political crisis for the Government is self inflicted.
  • 19:31
    Now Gerry Adams turns his attention to Fianna Fáil
    He claims that it suits Fianna Fáil to have a weak government in power .
    Challenges Micheál Martin and says that Sinn Féin was prepared to talk to Fianna Fáil after election and that party refuses.
  • 19:32
  • 19:32
    Meanwhile in the Seanad, Katherine Zappone answering questions on the matter.
  • 19:33
    Brendan Howlin now speaking. He accepts Labour voted for Fine Gael but that circumstances have changed. Opening part of his speech is general attack on political failures of a "weak Government" as he sees them.
  • 19:34
    He has said in the past week Government has moved from 'doing nothing to moving to do harm.'
    He has said in the past week Government has moved from "doing nothing to moving to do harm."
  • 19:34

    Howlin: "The fumbling on the critical issue by the Government has only added to their agony."
  • 19:35
    "We have seen senior Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael just stop short of calling each others liars".
  • 19:35
  • 19:35
  • 19:35
  • 19:37
    The atmosphere is very subdued. "The debate has been all about the Taoiseach".
    Recalls his five years in Government with Kenny.
    "Despite our many disagreement we got a lot done together.
    ...It gives me no joy to see the position you find yourself in .Many waiting for your time as Taoiseach to come to an end. Some share the Front Bench with you. If this debate turns to be a tipping point, Taoiseach knows that you made a contribution to the State. But also know tha the events of the past week are not an acceptable way to be governed."
  • 19:37
    Actually, Howlin's speech has been strong.
  • 19:41
    Howlin now saying that Government has ignored its obligations to collective Cabinet responsibility.

    "I said at the outset that I have no confidence of this government.
    "I cannot say in all conscience that I have confidence in Government."
    Labour is going to vote No.
  • 19:42
    The AAA-PBP contingent will speak now. First up is Paul Murphy and then Ruth Coppinger and the Richard Boyd-Barrett.
    Don't expect Murphy to hold back!
  • 19:43
    Paul Murphy alleging that Taoiseach knew more than he let on.  <br />  
    Paul Murphy alleging that Taoiseach knew more than he let on.  
     
  • 19:44
    He criticises the Government for allowing the Garda Commissioner to stay in place when a campaign of "black propaganda" was being conducted by the Garda.
  • 19:46
    Ruth Coppinger says Taoiseach has suffered from false memory syndrowm. She has claimed in other country both the Taoiseach and Tánaisste would have been gone but that Ireland remains a 'black propoganda'.  <br />She alleges that journalists have been a propoganda arm for the Guards. The State, the Police and Courts ultimately act in the interests of the status quo.'  <br />Wants democratic community accountability, whatever that means.   
    Ruth Coppinger says Taoiseach has suffered from false memory syndrowm. She has claimed in other country both the Taoiseach and Tánaisste would have been gone but that Ireland remains a "black propoganda".  
    She alleges that journalists have been a propoganda arm for the Guards. The State, the Police and Courts ultimately act in the interests of the status quo."  
    Wants democratic community accountability, whatever that means.  
  • 19:48
    Now the last of the triumvirate. Richard Boyd Barrett says Maurice McCabe of a 'savage campaign of intimidation and villification... To me there is no doubt there was an orchesrated campaign'.  
    Now the last of the triumvirate. Richard Boyd Barrett says Maurice McCabe of a "savage campaign of intimidation and villification... To me there is no doubt there was an orchesrated campaign".  
  • 19:51
    Boyd-Barrett accepts that Noirin O'Sullivan entitled to due process but given the "unbelievable seriousness of the allegations" the idea that the could remain in situ was not reasonable.
  • 19:52
    I will eat the mobile phone sitting in front of me if the AAA-PBP abstain or vote confidence in the government.
  • 19:52
  • 19:53
    In her report on the meeting between the Independent Alliance and the Taoiseach, Sarah Bardon has reported that the IA considered withdrawing from government.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/n...
  • 19:53
  • 19:58
    Tommy Broughan and Joan Collins have spoken. Now it's Clare Daly's turns. She says she has been campaigning for years.
    "I want this Tribunal in public. There is dangers in rushing through in response to the media."
  • 19:59
    She brings in Nick Keogh and Keith Harrison cases. Says terms of reference must be correct.  
    She brings in Nick Keogh and Keith Harrison cases. Says terms of reference must be correct.  
  • 20:01
    Like Daly, Mick Wallace has been campaigning on this issue for several years. Acknowledges that being in Government is not easy. he has also argued that very important the Keogh and Harrison cases are included.  
    Like Daly, Mick Wallace has been campaigning on this issue for several years. Acknowledges that being in Government is not easy. he has also argued that very important the Keogh and Harrison cases are included.  
  • 20:01
    Wallace says there is an awful danger that an old-fashioned Tribunal will cause as much problems as it will solve.
    He's right on that. There is no way a Tribunal can finish its work within nine months.
  • 20:04
  • 20:07
    Now it's Danny Healy Rae to give a recitation. <br />'It's hard to think another Tribunal is going to loaded on the taxpayers of the cout... They are going out to work in the mornign in the cars. They are going out with snots on their noses in the moring and they will end up paying for all of this, and paying for all the carry-on of three years ago.'<br />He says that money should be going for cataract operatoins and to quell rising costs of insurance. <br />  
    Now it's Danny Healy Rae to give a recitation.
    "It's hard to think another Tribunal is going to loaded on the taxpayers of the cout... They are going out to work in the mornign in the cars. They are going out with snots on their noses in the moring and they will end up paying for all of this, and paying for all the carry-on of three years ago."
    He says that money should be going for cataract operatoins and to quell rising costs of insurance.
     
  • 20:08
    I'd say first use of the word "snot" in some time in the Dáil.
    Danny always mellifluous.
    Addresses the Government.
    "If I had my way I'd round ye all up in a Transit van and put you down to the Four Courts and put ye in front of three judges and they would sort ye out."
  • 20:09
  • 20:12
  • 20:13
    Now it's the turn of the Social Democrats and then Green Party and then the Rural Alliance.
  • 20:15
    Catherine Murphy of Social Democrats excoriates the dysfunction of government.  
    Catherine Murphy of Social Democrats excoriates the dysfunction of government.  
  • 20:16
    Green Party leader Eamon Ryan says he will not vote confidence in the Government but says he does not want an election.
  • 20:17
    'We all know of cases where a report is slipped in a backhand way to the media. That's wrong and that's behind this case and this issue.'
    "We all know of cases where a report is slipped in a backhand way to the media. That's wrong and that's behind this case and this issue."
  • 20:18
    Elsewhere, I'm delighted for Ursual Halligan, who is a great colleague.  
    Elsewhere, I'm delighted for Ursual Halligan, who is a great colleague.  
  • 20:21
  • 20:21
  • 20:22
    Pat Leahy is so moved by it all he has taken to writing in code.
  • 20:24
    Shows you how good I am on soccer. The Arsenal Bayern game is tomorrow night!
  • 20:25
    Frances Fitzgerald now on her feet. She defends what Government has done for whistleblower.  <br />'I have always made it clear that any wrongdoing in the Garda Síochána must be dealt with fairly.'<br />Says Sergeant McCabe's treatment unimaginable. <br />  
    Frances Fitzgerald now on her feet. She defends what Government has done for whistleblower.  
    "I have always made it clear that any wrongdoing in the Garda Síochána must be dealt with fairly."
    Says Sergeant McCabe's treatment unimaginable.
     
  • 20:32
  • 20:34
    Here's the actual picture and caption. Its the European electoins of 1999.  
    Here's the actual picture and caption. Its the European electoins of 1999.  
  • 20:36
    Simon Coveney calls Sinn Féin motion nonsensical. He focuses on his recored on housing. No speech from Leo so far. It's going back to Fianna Fáíl now and Bary Cowen.  
    Simon Coveney calls Sinn Féin motion nonsensical. He focuses on his recored on housing. No speech from Leo so far. It's going back to Fianna Fáíl now and Bary Cowen.  
  • 20:53
    Now it's Mary Lou McDonald. 'The damage inflicted on Maurice McCabe has rendered you definitively finished as a government.'<br />McDonald is always very hard-edge and partisan in her speech-making.  <br />Many Irish politicians are averse to putting the boot in, unless it is in extrremis.  <br />McDonald has no such qualms .<br />Now turning to Fianna Fáil whom she claims is indifferent. <br />She has said that Indpependent Alliance is desperately clinging to power.  <br />  
    Now it's Mary Lou McDonald. "The damage inflicted on Maurice McCabe has rendered you definitively finished as a government."
    McDonald is always very hard-edge and partisan in her speech-making.  
    Many Irish politicians are averse to putting the boot in, unless it is in extrremis.  
    McDonald has no such qualms .
    Now turning to Fianna Fáil whom she claims is indifferent.
    She has said that Indpependent Alliance is desperately clinging to power.  
     
  • 20:55
    MdDonald: "Go to the people. Face the people. Let them have their say. Resign."
  • 21:14
    Another hour or so to go in debate. Joan Burton now speaking.
    Anne Harris wrote a very good piece today on the McCabe scandal in The Irish Times. If you missed it it's here.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/o...
  • 21:16

    I must say, I'm a little dubious about a public Tribunal. Paul Cullen reminded us of the biblical costs and the lenght of time.

     

  • 21:17
  • 21:23

    I think we are looking at the last period of Enda Kenny's leadership after almost 15 years at the helm.  


    He has been a survivor and has seen off most detractors, notably Richard Bruton's challenge in 2010.  


    However, his self-inflicted personal crisis left him shredded of much of his authority.  


    He remembered the details of a non-existent conversaton.  


    He forgot an actual conversatoni.  


    When he had to to the 'morto' clarification, his 'mea culpa' was terribly damaging.  


    We are all very close to it at the moment and sometimes in the heat of the moment events seem more momentous than they seem  


    Kenny has bounced back before but it's just hard to see how he can do it this time. in the past he has bought time and the reseized the initiative.  


    His difficulty now is that he is not leading the party into the next election. That means that sooner or later he is going to have to resign to let a successor bed himself or herself in.


    I never bought the notion that Fianna Fáíl was seeking an electoin but it certainly acted as jolting reminder to Fine Gael that the party needs to be prepared. The election might happen sooner rather than later and having to quickly change leader would be messy.  


    So at the parliamentary party meeting tonight, it seems that both Simon and Leo finally tip-toed up to the plate.



  • 21:54
  • 21:54
  • 21:55
    Vote expected in 20 minutes. There have been some good speeches. Regina Doherty of Fine Gael was strong there and Timmy Dooley is now on his feet. A little earlier Mick Barry was strong too, even though he could not resist having a dig at his Cork North Central rival Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fáíl.  
  • 21:58

    Last time I looked Bayern Munich had put five goals past Arsenal and were still counting.  


    I compared Wenger to Enda Kenny earlier on and the analogy is beginning to look more and more on-the-money.  


    All we need is for the chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party Martin Heyden to issue a statement saying he has full confidence in Enda Kenny as leader.  


    Then we will know for sure the he is a goner.  

  • 22:05

    Now it's Finian McGrath. Is Shane Ross speaking I wonder?



  • 22:06
    'This is not the time for an election. What everybody wants is decisive action, truth and justice.'<br />McGrath supports an independent tribunal. <br />  
    "This is not the time for an election. What everybody wants is decisive action, truth and justice."
    McGrath supports an independent tribunal.
     
  • 22:08
  • 22:08
  • 22:12
  • 22:12
  • 22:12
  • 22:14
    Pádraig McCann quotes a famous saying about leadership challenges. Not coined by Shakespeare but a modern saying that dates from Michael Heseltine's challenge to Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s.  
  • 22:21
    It's beginning to get heated now. Patrick O'Donovan lambasts the organisation associated with Sinn Fein for putting 'six guards from the State who were put in early graves'.  <br />Refers to Kangaroo courts, Mairia Cahill, the late Brian Stack, Paudi McMahon. <br />'When this country goes through a difficult period with the Tribunal. Ye need to play yeer part and come clean for the six members of the Garda Siochana and members of the Defence forces who were put into early graves by an organisation that never recognised the legitimacy of this State.'<br />'Younger members should ask themsleves who brought ye to this and do you have confidnece in him.'<br />'Your belated interest and your newfound interest in the gardai.'<br />Deputy Dessie Ellis now roaring and shouting now. <br />Outspoken stuff from O'Donovan that gets a round of applause from his colleagues. <br />  
    It's beginning to get heated now. Patrick O'Donovan lambasts the organisation associated with Sinn Fein for putting "six guards from the State who were put in early graves".  
    Refers to Kangaroo courts, Mairia Cahill, the late Brian Stack, Paudi McMahon.
    "When this country goes through a difficult period with the Tribunal. Ye need to play yeer part and come clean for the six members of the Garda Siochana and members of the Defence forces who were put into early graves by an organisation that never recognised the legitimacy of this State."
    "Younger members should ask themsleves who brought ye to this and do you have confidnece in him."
    "Your belated interest and your newfound interest in the gardai."
    Deputy Dessie Ellis now roaring and shouting now.
    Outspoken stuff from O'Donovan that gets a round of applause from his colleagues.
     
  • 22:25
  • 22:25
  • 22:25
  • 22:29
  • 22:30
    This is Fiach Kelly's latest report which shows that senior figures in Fine Gael have upped the ante on leadership change:  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/kenny-will-face-fg-no-confidence-motion-if-he-does-not-say-when-leaving-1.2976744
  • 22:33
    It's Leo Varadkar who is closing the debate.  
  • 22:34
    Varadkar: 'I have no doubt in my mind that he was subject to a scurrilous whipsering campaign.'<br /><br />'We also need to know if similar campaigns were conducted (against others).<br />'Tonight I call on all those to come forward.'<br />He appeals to guards who were asked to spread rumours to come forward.   <br />  
    Varadkar: "I have no doubt in my mind that he was subject to a scurrilous whipsering campaign."

    "We also need to know if similar campaigns were conducted (against others).
    "Tonight I call on all those to come forward."
    He appeals to guards who were asked to spread rumours to come forward.  
     
  • 22:36

    Varadkar quotes Michael Staines, the first commissioner, who said the guards would succeed by moral authority and the trust of the people.  

     

    He refers to internal ructions within Fine Gael over past four days.  
    "Events of the past week has skane belief in the party and confidence in the government. We are resolved to make those right."

  • 22:36
    Indeed he sounded like a leader in waiting.
  • 22:37
    Vótáil. So at 22.36 we have this.  
  • 22:38
    There are a small number of Government TDs missing including David Stanton and Josepha Madigan, both of whom are away on official business.  <br />While no pairs exist any more both of them have been matched with opposition deputies. <br />With Fianna Fáil expected to abstain, it should be a win for government, albeit with little to spare.   
    There are a small number of Government TDs missing including David Stanton and Josepha Madigan, both of whom are away on official business.  
    While no pairs exist any more both of them have been matched with opposition deputies.
    With Fianna Fáil expected to abstain, it should be a win for government, albeit with little to spare.  
  • 22:38

    Sorry Leo quote should have read:  Events of the past week has shaken belief in the party and confidence in the government. We are resolved to make those right."

  • 22:41
  • 22:41
  • 22:41
  • 22:45
  • 22:49

    Standing Order 73.1. Because it's a confidence motion it can't be taken by electronic vote so members have to walk through the lobbies on eithe rside of the chamber.  

  • 22:54
  • 22:54
  • 22:59
    So Governement win votes by 57 votes to 52 with 44 abstentions (Fianna Fáil). A number of TDs were absent and paired so it seems at least one if not two unattached Independent voted for the Government  
  • 23:02

    Anyway, it's all over now. It is safe to return to your homes safe in the knowledge we have a Government in place at least for another few months.  


    To those who persevered all night, thank you.  


    You are true anoraks.

  • 23:02
    Good night from the politics team.