Fianna Fáil Leader Micheal Martin TD has accused the Taoiseach of misleading the public and the Dáil after he claimed that it would be an offence for him to confirm or deny whether he was recalled by the Fennelly Commission to resolve issues concerning conflicting evidence. 

According to reports today, a solicitor for the Commission was unable to cite any legislation which would make it an offence for witnesses to confirm their attendance.

Deputy Martin commented, “The Taoiseach appears to have misled the public on this specific question.  He claims he would be committing a criminal offence and breaking the law if he confirmed he had given evidence to Fennelly.  This is not true and he should never have said it in the first place.

“There is an unhealthy unwillingness on the part of the Taoiseach’s to be upfront and straight on what happened before the resignation of the former Garda Commissioner.  The Taoiseach should now apologise for misleading the public and the Dáil.  I would like him to show us the legislation which says it’s an offence for him to confirm if he’s a witness or not.

“There are very serious questions about the involvement of the Taoiseach and the Secretary General of the Department of Justice in the departure of a Garda Commissioner.  All of these questions could have been answered by the Taoiseach in the Dáil but instead he decided to appoint a retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the matter. And now he’s trying to evade the public and the truth again by refusing to confirm whether or not he has given evidence to Mr. Justice Nial Fennelly.

“It is extremely important that we get to the bottom of this issue.  There are too many questions that remain unanswered.  It is exactly one year ago that this happened and the public is still in the dark as to what was said between Mr Purcell and the Taoiseach the night before the former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan resigned his post. This remains unacceptable and the Taoiseach must come clean with regard to his co-operation with the investigation into the matter”.