The Social Democrats have said the Tánaiste’s position is untenable in the light of further documents released tonight about Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.
The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“The sheer extent of the Tánaiste’s dereliction of her duty as Minister for Justice is laid bare in the chain of emails released tonight.
“The correspondence shows that a senior official in the Minister’s department liaised with the then Garda Commissioner about media queries about the Garda Commissioner’s role in the aggressive legal stance towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.
“Whatever about a Minister not recalling an issue being raised once in an email, this departmental trawl shows that both the Minister and her officials were informed in another two further emails, and in considerable detail, about media inquiries about the legal strategy adopted by the Garda Commissioner.
“How can the Tánaiste continue to credibly maintain that she wasn’t aware of the legal strategy, despite her officials and her special advisers being included in the email chain released tonight?
“It is incomprehensible that neither Ms Fitzgerald nor her political advisers appear not to have grasped the seriousness of the issues at the time, particularly given the backdrop of the resignation of both Martin Callinan and Alan Shatter arising from the denigration of Sgt McCabe.
“At the time what was badly needed was a courageous Minister who would implement wide-ranging reform of both the Garda and the Department of Justice. Instead, we got a minister who sat on her hands and seems to have been led and said by her department officials.”
“The Taoiseach also needs to explain what he was told about this latest series of emails last Friday night and why these emails were not released at that point and why he continued to defend the Tánaiste.”