Government wins Seanad vote blocking move to question AG in the Upper House
FG says FF ’grossly irresponsible’ to try to impinge on commission of inquiry
Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien had proposed an amendment to a rule of procedure that the Attorney General come to the House to answer questions. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Opposition attempts to have the Attorney General attend the Seanad to answer questions about the systematic taping of phone calls at Garda stations have failed. The Government won a division on the issue by 21 votes to 19.
Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien had proposed an amendment to a rule of procedure, Standing Order 56, that the Attorney General come to the House to answer questions because the “current controversy has brought into question the management of the justice system; the management of the Cabinet; the role of the Attorney General; and the communication between departments”.
Mr O’Brien said the controversy was “spiralling absolutely out of control” and the datelines given by the Taoiseach, Minister for Justice, former Garda commissioner and Attorney General Máire Whelan “do not tally”.
Seanad leader Maurice Cummins refused to accede to the request, saying Fianna Fá- il was “grossly irresponsible” to try to impinge on the commission of inquiry that was about to be established. “It is a desperate attempt to play politics with such a serious issue and I have no intention of acceding to the request.”
Independent Ronán Mullen suggested a solution was for the Taoiseach to “bring forward the reshuffle he was undoubtedly thinking of having anyway”.