Government rejects Martin criticism of Varadkar Jobstown remarks

Martin describes Leo Varadkar’s ‘Prime Time’ comments as ‘ill-judged’ and ‘not fair’

Fianna Fail party leader Micheál Martin: said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may have prejudiced other trials and the verdicts in the cases were a vindication of the courts process. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Fianna Fail party leader Micheál Martin: said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may have prejudiced other trials and the verdicts in the cases were a vindication of the courts process. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

 

The Taoiseach’s spokesman has rejected criticism by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin of Leo Varadkar’s request that the Garda Commissioner should look into the Garda evidence in the Jobstown case.

The Taoiseach’s spokesman said he was “surprised at Micheál Martin’s reaction”.

Mr Martin sharply criticised the Taoiseach’s intervention in the controversy over the Jobstown trial when Mr Varadkar said the Garda Commissioner and the Garda authorities should inquire into the affair.

Later, the Garda issued a statement saying that a review of the case was already under way.

Government Buildings confirmed the Taoiseach was not aware of the Garda review when he made his comments on RTÉ’s Prime Time on Thursday night.

On Friday, Mr Martin made several criticisms of Mr Varadkar’s intervention, describing them as “ill-judged” and “not fair”.

“It was ill-judged. First of all, the courts process is independent. The DPP is independent. I think politicians need to be very careful about wandering in to that domain and in particular specific acts of evidence of what was a very lengthy trial,” Mr Martin said.

Verdict as vindication

On Thursday night following the interview, Mr Martin tweeted that the Taoiseach was being “unfair to the gardaí”.

Speaking in Cork on Friday, Mr Martin said Mr Varadkar may have prejudiced other trials and said the verdicts in the cases were a vindication of the courts process. Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan also criticised Mr Varadkar’s comments on the case

Mr Varadkar’s spokesman said his view on a public inquiry had not changed, and that the Taoiseach was happy to trust the Garda Commissioner to carry out a review of Garda evidence.

“But standards must be maintained. Public trust is sacrosanct,” he said.

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy, who was acquitted on charges of falsely imprisoning former tánaiste Joan Burton, welcomed the Taoiseach’s comments as “significant”. But he reiterated his call for an independent public inquiry into the Garda investigation, saying a situation where gardaí were investigating gardaí was not satisfactory.