Barrister appointed to review why documents weren't sent from Justice Department to tribunal

Senior counsel Michael Collins has been asked to report to the Taoiseach by January 19th

Barrister appointed to review why documents weren't sent from Justice Department to tribunal

Photo: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

A barrister has been appointed to examine why certain documents were not sent from the Department of Justice to the Disclosures Tribunal.

Emails sent to former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and her advisers in 2015 were only sent on to the tribunal last month following a trawl prompted by the recent political crisis.

The emails uncovered during the trawl suggested that Mrs Fitzgerald, who was Justice Minister at the time, was made aware of the legal strategy by lawyers for the Garda Commissioner in relation to Maurice McCabe.

Senior counsel Michael Collins has now been appointed to lead the review.

The Government says the review will "involve a thorough examination of the actions taken by the Department in responding to such requests, relevant documents and records, the processes used within the Department, and communication to and from senior management and the Minister".

Mr Collins is being asked to report his findings to the Taoiseach before January 19th 2018 'or the earliest possible date thereafter'.

He will also be able to advise if any further measures are necessary to address any concerns that arise during the review.

Speaking in the Dáil before Mr Collins' appointment was announced, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it will be important to determine why the emails weren't discovered earlier - as well as to find out if there were any other documents or emails that 'ought to have been discovered'.