Zappone needs to explain level of knowledge of false Tusla abuse allegations – Rabbitte

Published on: 10 February 2017

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has written to the clerk of the Committee on Children & Youth Affairs calling for Minister Katherine Zappone to appear before it at the earliest opportunity and explain what knowledge she had of the appalling failures within Tusla with regard to Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, and what communications she had with Cabinet colleagues on the matter.

Deputy Rabbitte has expressed her shock at the appalling revelations, which emerged in last night’s Prime Time programme.

“I was absolutely horrified and sickened by the account of what happened within Tusla in this case.  The agency and the Minister have serious questions to answer about how such a serious error could occur and why it took so long to correct.  Why are very serious case reports being composed by ‘cut and paste’? How could it take almost three years for this error to be brought to the attention of the Minister for Children?  Did the Minister for Children contact the Minister for Justice when she became aware of this grave error?  And why is Sergeant McCabe still awaiting an apology?”, said Deputy Rabbitte.

“I have serious concerns about the workings and management of Tusla and public confidence in the agency has been very seriously undermined.  We need to hear from Ministers Zappone, Reilly and Flanagan about what each knew during their tenure.  We now know that Minister Zappone met with Sergeant McCabe two weeks ago – why was this meeting not included in the terms of reference of the Commission of Investigation that was announced this week?

“This has serious reputational implications for Tusla and our child protection mechanisms. We now need assurances from both Tusla and the Minister that processes will be put in place to ensure that this never happens again.  It is imperative that Minister Zappone makes a statement on the matter without delay”.

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