Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has called on Minister Phil Hogan to explain how he received the private criminal records of members of the travelling community in Kilkenny, and how that information was passed on to the media.
Deputy Collins was referring to Minister Hogan’s intervention in a housing application by a traveller family in Co Kilkenny and a letter he wrote to his constituents promising that the family would not be moved to a house near them.
“Nearly two years later, we still don’t know how this highly privileged information came into Minister Hogan’s possession. This appears to be a case of personal and confidential information being used by one of the country’s most senior ministers for political purposes and should immediately be investigated,” said Deputy Collins.
“It is not acceptable that information which would, ordinarily, only be in the possession of the Garda Síochána would be used in such an explicitly political way. The former Justice Minister Alan Shatter used a similarly unacceptable tactic in his attack on Deputy Mick Wallace during the penalty points controversy. Is this another example of a Fine Gael Minister accessing Justice Department or An Garda Siochána information to undermine those they perceive to be ‘an enemy’? If so, it raises very serious question marks about Phil Hogan’s position.
“In the absence of clarity from the Government about where this information came from, people will come to their own damaging conclusions. Minister Hogan owes it to all those involved to finally come clean and explain how he came into possession of this information” said Deputy Collins.