Cabinet conflict over Tusla file: Who said what and when

Zappone, Fitzgerald, O’Callaghan and Kenny give differing accounts about who knew what

The Government has been at odds over when members were notified of the existence of a Tusla file containing false allegations of sexual assault against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Why does this matter?

The discrepancies in the accounts is significant. When the Cabinet met last week to discuss the terms of reference for a commission, at least one person in the room , the Minister for Childre, was aware of the Tusla file. Two others - the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste - are alleged to have known scant details.

However the issue was never raised and the scope of the inquiry was agreed without any mention of the involvement of the Child and Family Agency.


The difference in accounts by Government highlights either the severe incompetence or serious dysfunction that lies at the heart of this administration.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton believed his terms allowed him to investigate Tusla. Given their involvement in the alleged smear campaign the terms their inclusion should have been explicit.

Here we examine who said what and when.

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 Time programme 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."