Disclosures Tribunal: Was one thing being said in private about Maurice McCabe and another in public, Fitzgerald asked

Update 1.23pm Frances Fitzgerald asked Nóirín O’Sullivan was one thing being said in private about Maurice McCabe and another thing in public, after the publication of the O’Higgins report in 2016.

But the former Justice Minister has told the Disclosures Tribunal that it would have been an entirely different situation to ask her the same question a year earlier.

In public, the Garda Whistleblower was being supported and praised by the Garda Commissioner, but behind closed doors, Nóirín O’Sullivan’s legal team was challenging Maurice McCabe’s motivation and credibility at the O’Higgins Inquiry.

Frances Fitzgerald says an email in May 2015 was not informing her of the garda strategy at the Inquiry – and she says she made a conscious decision not to interfere with it.

However, a year later, after the O’Higgins Commission report was published, then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald asked Nóirín O’Sullivan was one thing being said in private about Maurice McCabe and another in public.

Asked if she put the same question to Commissioner O’Sullivan in May 2015, Deputy Fitzgerald said it was a completely different situation.

Under cross-examination, Frances Fitzgerald said the email did not raise a red light, just that an issue had arisen between legal teams – and it wasn’t appropriate for her to get involved.

Earlier: Former Justice Minister says she had no knowledge of phone calls

The Former Justice Minister has told the Disclosures Tribunal she had an absolute understanding that she had no involvement with the O’Higgins Commission as it was in private and independent.

Frances Fitzgerald says the protection of Maurice McCabe would take place at the Commission – where the legal teams and judge would deal with it.

Deputy Fitzgerald says she had no knowledge of phone calls between the Garda Commissioner and Department of Justice officials at the start of the Inquiry, saying they would not have changed the approach she took not to get involved.

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