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80 days in and we still don't know if Frances Fitzgerald has confidence in her top civil servant

The Minister for Justice is expected to publish a report into the running of her department very shortly.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

JUSTICE MINISTER FRANCES Fitzgerald will publish an independent review of her department “very shortly” amid mounting pressure for her to reveal what are expected to be criticisms of her top civil servant Brian Purcell.

The findings of the review are expected to determine if Purcell will remain as the secretary-general at the Department of Justice following criticism of his handling of various garda matters.

This morning a spokesperson was unable to say if Fitzgerald, who has been in the job for 80 days, has confidence in Purcell, and referred to the Minister’s previous comments about the official where she has declined to express confidence in him and said she will await the outcome of the review she commissioned.

“We’re not going to be commenting on that,” the spokesperson said when asked if the Minister has confidence in Purcell.

The imminent publication of the independent review follows a report in yesterday’s Sunday Independent which claimed Fitzgerald had suppressed the report that has been on her desk for the past two weeks.

Launch of CRI Alerts Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan with Purcell and former justice minister Alan Shatter Source: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

The spokesperson said this morning that the report will be published “very shortly” while junior minister Dara Murphy told RTÉ yesterday that he expected it to be published “within a short number of days”.

“The minister is carefully considering the findings of the report by the independent review group which she established in early June to report by July,” the spokesperson for Fitzgerald said.

The review forms part of the government’s response to the findings of the Guerin Report which criticised the Department’s internal record-keeping.

The independent review was chaired by the CEO of the Dublin Airport Authority and five other outside experts who were tasked with carrying out a review of the performance, management and administration of the Department of Justice.

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson Niall Collins said that it is in the public interest that the independent review be published “immediately”.

Read: Brian Purcell appears before the Justice Committee, but refuses to answer questions about Callinan

Official report: Justice Dept didn’t think Callinan’s taping revelations were that important

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