Frances Fitzgerald 'pleased' by 'honest appraisal' vindication in Tribunal report

Frances Fitzgerald has said she is "pleased" by the findings of a Disclosures Tribunal report which found that her evidence was "an honest appraisal" of events leading to her resignation.

The tribunal, chaired by Justice Peter Charleton, published its third interim report today and accepted the evidence given by the former Tánaiste regarding the controversy which led to her resignation in November 2017.

It also said that she had "selflessly resigned" as the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation in "the national interest".

Frances Fitzgerald said at the time that she was resigning over her handling of the whistleblower scandal to avoid an "unwelcome and potentially destabilising" snap election.

Her resignation followed a storm of controversy over emails she received advising her of the legal strategy by former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan against Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

In a statement this evening, Ms Fitzgerald said: "On a personal level I am pleased that I have found to have acted appropriately, used my judgement well, and that my evidence has been accepted as truthful.

I established the Tribunal to find the truth out about very disturbing information given to me when I was Minister for Justice and Equality, and I am pleased that it is proving effective in the quest for truth in these complex matters.

"There are many lessons to be drawn from the Report, which requires thorough and careful reading," she said.

She said that while it is "tempting to jump to conclusions in complex situations", politics and the media "must be tempered by respect for facts and due process".

Ms Fitzgerald said she always acknowledged that Mr McCabe played a vital role in shining a light on poor practices, as was stated in the report.

She said that the emphasis in the report on the need to examine reform and ethical standards within An Garda Siochana, which were areas she focused on during her time as Minister, " indicates the extent of change which must be achieved".

Ms Fitzgerald thanked the Taoiseach for his support, as well as her Fine Gael colleagues, her constituents and her family.

She also thanked Justice Charleton for his "hard work and very comprehensive report".

Digital Desk

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