Adams calls for fresh elections over McCabe scandal

The Sinn Féin president said the government are "playing the public for fools” regarding the whistleblower scandal and called on Fianna Fáil to withdraw their support

Adams calls for fresh elections over McCabe scandal

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams | File photo |

Sinn Féin has called for Fianna Fáil to withdraw its support for the government over the ongoing garda whistleblower controversy.

Speaking in Belfast this afternoon, the party’s president Gerry Adams said Fianna Fáil should “do the right” thing and force a new general election.

Deputy Adams said the government are “playing the public for fools” on the scandal adding that his party will decide this week whether to table a motion of no confidence in the government.

“The Fine Gael led government is one without authority,” he said. “It is stumbling from one crisis to another - in health, in housing, in homelessness.”

"Fine Gael is in power only by dint of patronage from Fianna Fáil, and Fianna Fáil is keeping the wreck afloat.

"People deserve an election. They deserve to have their say on all of these matters.”

Fianna Fáil have rejected Sinn Féin's call and the party's spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O'Brien, said collapsing the government is not going to provide any answers.

A Government spokesperson called the Sinn Féin no confidence motion a "nakedly political move".

Tusla clerical error

It emerged on Thursday that the child and family agency Tusla mistakenly created a file containing false sexual abuse allegations against Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe through a “clerical error.”

The untrue allegations were passed to Gardaí - however Sergeant McCabe was never informed.

earlier on Thursday morning, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil that he had been informed that the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O'Sullivan had contacted journalists to claim that Sergeant McCabe had been involved in sex crimes.

The commissioner has said she had "no knowledge of the matters referred to by Deputy Howlin" and has refuted "in the strongest terms" the allegation that she spread misinformation regarding Sergeant McCabe.

A Commission of Investigation, led by Supreme Court Justice Peter Charleton, has now been set up to determine whether Sergeant McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign, orchestrated by senior garda management.

Tusla has said it will apologise fully to Sergeant McCabe and the HSE has confirmed that one of its employees was responsible for the error.

Meetings with Sergeant McCabe

Deputy Adams said his party’s chief whip has written to the Dáil Business Committee seeking to bring forward a debate on the Commission of Investigation in order to “allow the Tánaiste and the Minister for Children to clarify their positions” on the controversy

It follows yesterday's confirmation from the Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone that she had met with Sergeant McCabe and his wife to discuss the false allegations.

A spokesperson for the minister confirmed she became aware of the Sergeant McCabe’s full circumstances on January 18th before meeting with the couple on January 25th.

The spokesperson said she “informed relevant Government colleagues” of the situation during this period.

This would appear to contradict comments made in the Dáil by the Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald when she claimed that - other than GSOC - she was not aware of the gardaí contacting any State agencies about Sergeant McCabe.

Yesterday, the Tánaiste said she had been informed that Minister Zappone was meeting with the McCabes but said she had not been informed of any details in relation to Tusla records.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald has said she believes the Tánaiste misled the Dáil and has called on Ms Fitzgerald make a full statement on the matter.