Taoiseach says ‘a calm reading of evidence will show the Tánaiste acted appropriately’
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks in the Dail on Tuesday following the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald. Image: Oireachtas.ie screengrab
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is his “strong view” that a good woman is leaving office without getting a full and fair hearing”.
Speaking in the Dáil following the resignation earlier today of Frances Fitzgerald as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, and Innovation, Mr Varadkar said he would take on her ministerial responsibilities temporarily, as well as his own.
No announcement on her replacement as Tánaiste has been made.
Mr Varadkar told the Dáil Ms Fitzgerald had been an exemplary member of Government.
Mr Varadkar said the events of the past few days has showed once again the dysfunction in the Department of Justice, and he had ordered an external inquiry into the failure to find emails and send them to the Charleton inquiry, by Christmas.
The Taoiseach said he would ensure that all questions asked in relation to Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe would be answered as fully as possible.
He described Ms Fitzgerald as one of the most reforming Ministers in the Department of Justice and said she had always supported whistleblowers.
In the past few days, he said, a drip, drip of information made things seem more serious than they were.
“There was a feeding frenzy and it became impossible for her to get a fair hearing,” he said.
She had no hand, act or part in the Garda legal strategy and had no knowledge of the approach that was being taken until the O’Higgins inquiry was underway, he told the Dáil
“A calm reading of evidence will show that the Tánaiste acted appropriately.”
Mr Varadkar said he was determined to “shine the brightest of lights into the darkest of places”.
He also said he expected Ms Fitzgerald to play a full role at the highest level in the future.