The Independent Alliance welcomes in principle yesterday’s Government decision to establish an independent, public Tribunal of Inquiry into the Sgt Maurice McCabe controversy. Sgt McCabe’s good reputation is paramount and must be vindicated as swiftly and effectively as possible.
We kept our own counsel on this issue until now. We have had the opportunity to speak with the McCabe family and we are in full agreement with them that an independent, public tribunal is needed to establish the full facts of this matter. We are particularly disturbed by the revelations which have emerged concerning the State agency Tusla.
The welfare and protection of our children is dependent on public confidence in our child care agencies. Should facts emerge suggesting criminal activity, a full criminal investigation should immediately follow.
We have been dismayed and, frankly, disturbed, by contradictory versions of events which have emerged this week. Some aspects of Cabinet communications are not working effectively or appropriately. This is not how we wish to do business.
We went into Government in good faith in order to implement the commitments we secured in the Programme for Government after protracted negotiations. We went into Government to provide a voice for the marginalised in Irish society, to ensure that those who have been hit hardest by the years of recession will be cared for. We went into Government to end cronyism and that insider culture which can prove so corrupting to society.
A Government is greater than any individual or personality within it and we are committed to delivering on the promises we made when we took office.
Our continued participation in Government will be conditional on a comprehensive resolution of what are, by any standards, extremely worrying allegations of malpractice within areas of An Garda Siochana in relation to Sgt McCabe, in relation to other whistleblowers and more generally. The public must have their confidence in their Garda Force and in the many decent and hardworking ordinary members of the Gardai restored as a matter of urgency.
We in the Independent Alliance have therefore secured a commitment from the Minister for Justice today to appoint without delay an independent, international, policing expert to carry out a thorough investigation into the wider and more fundamental issues of public concern which have emerged relating to the administration, ethos and culture of An Garda Siochana. Again, should facts emerge suggesting criminal activity by any member of An Garda Siochana, a full criminal investigation should immediately follow.
In the Independent Alliance Charter for Change we state unequivocally that ‘Garda whistle-blowers have been treated shamefully’ and ‘a complete overhaul of our justice system is necessary’. We have started this overhaul process with our reform of judicial appointments and have now ensured that it is extended as a matter of urgency to An Garda Siochana. We have consistently opposed the corrosive influence of insiders and elites in all walks of Irish society and we will continue to do so without fear or favour.