FF and SF urged to correct Dáil record over Fitzgerald allegations
Varadkar calls on parties and others to withdraw claims in wake of Charleton report
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ms Fitzgerald had no expectations of being appointed to fill the vacancy left by Denis Naughten. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said it “does not make you a lesser person” to correct the Dáil record, as he renewed his call on Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin to withdraw false allegations both parties made against former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald in the chamber last November.
Mr Varadkar said he and other Ministers have had to correct the record. And the Taoiseach said he does not see why leading Opposition figures cannot do it now, in light of their allegations against Ms Fitzgerald being rejected by the Disclosures Tribunal and its sole member, Mr Justice Peter Charleton.
“I am disappointed (they have not corrected the record) I think Frances Fitzgerald was very badly treated by Fianna Fáil and by Sinn Féin and by others.
“As Taoiseach I have had a number of occasions in which I have had to correct the record. I don’t think it makes you a lesser person saying you are wrong and having to go into the Dáil to correct the record.
“I would really ask that those who made statements in the Dáil about Frances Fitzgerald and also about Nóirín O’Sullivan that turned out to be false should now do the decent thing and correct the record. Ministers have done it in the past. I have done it. I don’t see why they can’t do that,” he said.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald alleged in the Dáil that the then tánaiste’s department was part of a conspiracy that involved a “very malicious strategy designed by former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and her legal team to destroy the reputation and the life of Sgt Maurice McCabe.
Speaking in the same debate, Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan said the commissioner was involved in a campaign to “personally destroy the reputation of Sgt Maurice McCabe” and that the tánaiste was privy to that strategy and did nothing to stop it.
The tribunal report concluded that no such strategy existed.
Elsewhere, Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly alleged Ms O’Sullivan had been involved in a strategy to undermine Sgt McCabe’s reputation, allegations based on evidence that was subsequently discredited by the tribunal report.
Asked why he had not restored Ms Fitzgerald to cabinet, Mr Varadkar replied he spoke to her over the weekend and she had no expectations of being appointed to fill the vacancy left by Denis Naughten.