Longford's Mattie Fox: Both Varadkar and Martin will be in trouble at election time

Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

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Mattie Fox

Longford Leader columnist, Mattie Fox

It’s awfully ironic, that Sergeant Maurice McCabe, a relatively quiet member of the Gardaí, has caused, without intending, so much political turmoil.

In any mention of Sergeant McCabe we mustn’t forget Clare Daly, that irreverent member of the ‘new’ Dáil and one of the few people who really cared about Sergeant McCabe from the start.

Clare was closely followed by Mick Wallace, another thorn in the side of establishment politics.

Both members have resisted an easier life, and the option of keeping their head down without too much fuss.

Both of these have suffered their own forms of harassment. Clare Daly when she was followed home by a Garda car, stopped on the way, ordered to leave the car, and arrested, then taken to the station.

The story was leaked to the usual suspects who cosy up to the Gardaí so as to keep the channels of ‘transparency’ open, like.
Daly was photographed and the photo was published widely after the arrest.

Nobody complained when she was cleared of all the trumped up charges.

No sanctions applied.

Nobody from the department of justice, nobody of note in government, nobody of note in Fianna Fáil made the slightest outcry about this outrageous breach of law and order.....by those whose job it is to oversee law and order in the first place.

The main problem was that Daly had entered into the arena of alleged Garda wrongdoing, and for that the Gardaí decided to teach her a lesson.

An ill thought out strategy.

Clare Daly continued to probe and prod the Sergeant McCabe scandal. Knowing something has happened isn’t enough, you must present hard evidence.

Whilst Mick Wallace was revealed by Alan Shatter, on TV, as someone who’d been cautioned by the Guards.

Let’s take a giant leap to the present, well 2015, in any case.

Frances Fitzgerald received an email indicating the intent to make highly serious and damning allegations about Sergeant McCabe.

The email was circulated to several high ranking civil servants in the Justice department . The email contained explosive news, so there was great care taken to assert that it had reached all the right ears.

This wasn’t a routine email message, this one was designed to end Sergeant McCabe’s career once and for all. Anyone would be moved to inform immediately their higher authority. After all, Fine Gael were in government, so it was incumbent on the Justice Minister to do something about the email.

Meanwhile, McCabe had located a phone which he’d been frantically searching for. He presented proof of the recording to the Tribunal, and the Guards case suddenly fell apart.

The Minister for Justice sat silently on the story.

She did nothing.

As I write this, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are busy trying to find a way out of the current sensational on-the-edge-of-election developments.

This is an extraordinary state of affairs.

If it happened in Britain the Minister responsible would be despatched forthwith, no delay in so doing.

Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar are both guilty of the same sin:neither of them fully realise the seriousness of this incredible turn of events. Because it is truly incredible to think that an election could be called, since, in the first place it has been proven clearly that Frances Fitzgerald simply didn’t take any note of the fact that the email represented plans to destroy Sergeant McCabe’s career.

How any Minister could claim to have done nothing wrong is beyond comprehension. She did nothing, that in itself was utterly wrong. For that she deserves to go. Simple as that.

I’m not saying Minister Fitzgerald isn’t a very nice person, or that she acted without care, I’m saying that if she didn’t see or understand the gravity of what the email contained she should not be a Minister.

Nobody should be appointed to such an important role, if they’re not sufficiently qualified for the job.

To appoint them, is unfair to the incumbent in the first place.

Simple as that.

Most of this would not have emerged at all, but for the fact that Noel Waters, the Justice Department Secretary General who rang Charlie Flanagan, the Minister for Justice, to advise him of his intention to retire, on Wednesday, November 13, and told him (Mr Flanagan) of the email in the course of the short conversation.

Strangest of all is the fact that what this means, in the slightly longer term, is that Micheál Martin, and Leo Varadkar will both be in trouble whenever the election comes around, because both have behaved abysmally in this entire saga.

Both thinking of everything except the country, which they’ve been mandated to govern responsibly.

The reverberations concerning Sergeant Maurice McCabe continue to prove costly to the government, and Ireland. It’s not finished yet.

By the time this story is published, crucial decisions will have been made.

If the decision is no general election, then we are left with a damaged government, and a damaged Fianna Fáil.

It is not finished yet.

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