Local Fine Gael TD, Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the publication of the Charleton Report.
“On a personal level I am pleased that I have been 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 about very disturbing information given to me when I was Minister for Justice & Equality, and am pleased that it is proving effective in the quest for the truth in these complex matters,” she said. “There are many lessons to be drawn from the Report, which requires thorough and careful reading.”
As the Report points out, the consequence last November of politicians, the public and the media going on ‘leaked snippets’ in relation to the O’Higgins Commission was that “…at a crucial juncture for Ireland in the Brexit negotiations, the Government of our country came close to falling and in the ultimate result Frances Fitzgerald TD the Tánaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, who had formerly been Minister for Justice and Equality resigned from office on 28th November 2017.”
“It is tempting to jump to conclusions in complex situations but in both politics and the media this must be tempered by respect for facts and due process.,” Ms Fitzgerald said, adding that at all times she had abided by these principles.
The Report restates the vital role that Sergeant Maurice McCabe has played in shining a light on poor practices, which Ms Fitzgerald always acknowledged in her dealings with him. The Report’s emphasis on the reform and ethical standards required of An Garda Siochana, areas which Ms Fitzgerald had spearheaded as Minister for Justice, indicate the extent of change which must be achieved.
Ms Fitzgerald has thanked An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, for his support during and since the controversy erupted in late 2017, pointing to his prophetic words at the time of her resignation:
“In the past few days a drip-drip of information may have made certain things seem greater than they are. There was a feeding frenzy, and it became impossible for her to get a fair hearing based on the full facts. I hope that will change in the period ahead.” (Dáil Éireann: 28th November 2017)
I also want to thank my Fine Gael colleagues and all of my constituents - and of course, my family for their support.
The Tribunal has now provided a Report of that fair hearing based on the full facts, Ms Fitzgerald concluded, and she thanked Justice Charleton for his hard work and a very comprehensive report.