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Enda Kenny takes a number of different positions on Zappone conversation

Kenny stated that he knew that Minister Zappone had met with Maurice McCabe before it became public information last week.

Updated 9.50pm

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has refuted the claim that he was made aware of the allegations of sexual abuse made against garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe before the airing of the RTÉ Prime Time programme last week.

Discussions continued until late this evening in the Dáil, and stayed fiery at times, as Kenny repeatedly said he did not know the information contained in the Tusla file on McCabe, and only became aware of their contents after the RTÉ programme.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice also said she was not aware of the allegations against Maurice McCabe, while Katherine Zappone appeared to corroborate the version of events which sees her telling Kenny she met the McCabes after the event.

When Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach “when did [you] first become aware of this false allegation”, Kenny replied that he had answered the question before and that the question was “irrelevant to the central issue here” which was how to define and determine the truth surrounding the allegations of a smear campaign.

Kenny also sought to clarify the sequence of events regarding his meetings with Katherine Zappone, after an apparent contradiction in his account appeared earlier in the day.

Mea Culpa

Earlier, Kenny stated that he gave inaccurate information in relation Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone’s telling him she was going to meet with garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

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Speaking today during Leaders’ Questions, Kenny said that Zappone had earlier not told him that she was going to meet with McCabe before their meeting, but that her office had contacted his office in relation to the meeting.

He had previously told RTÉ’s This Week on Sunday that Zappone had told him she would be meeting with McCabe.

The Taoiseach told the programme that as “Minister Zappone, who is doing a very good job, was meeting Maurice McCabe in a private capacity I simply said ‘do make sure you have a very thorough account of it’”.

Speaking today in the Dáil. Kenny corrected that statement. In response to a question from Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin, he said:

“I might say mea culpa, because I am guilty here of not giving accurate information.

“I understood from thinking myself that she had asked me about meeting Sergeant McCabe in the first place.

It actually was her office that consulted with my officials, who told me. She is very clear that she did not tell me that she intended to meet Sergeant McCabe, but she did tell her official to tell my office, so I regret that.

Kenny then said that Zappone “did not tell me herself that she was meeting Sergeant McCabe”, but that:

She did tell me before the Cabinet meeting last Tuesday that she had met with him and they had discussed allegations that were false in respect of those given to Tusla.

Zappone said yesterday that she had informed the Taoiseach about false Tusla allegations to do with McCabe before they were aired publicly on Prime Time last Thursday.

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Despite owning up to making a mistake today, the Taoiseach later appeared to contradict himself about what he knew in relation to Tusla and McCabe. In response to a question from AAA-PBP leader Paul Murphy, he said:

“The Minister (Zappone) did not refer to any of the details of the discussion with the McCabes, the existence of a file in Tusla or the information contained in that file.

It is not true to say that I had any information about the existence of that prior to the Cabinet meeting in Government Buildings.

Murphy had previously said to Kenny that he was “well-known for having a casual relationship with the truth”.

He accused the Taoiseach of misleading the public.

“I mistakenly said…”

Speaking later on in the Dáil, Kenny sought to clarify his statements:

As I have said previously, I was aware of the meeting between the Minister, Deputy Zappone, and Sergeant McCabe but I was not aware of the details of, or the very serious and disturbing issues that arose at the meeting.
In referring to this last Sunday, I mistakenly said that I had spoken to the Minister, Deputy Zappone, prior to her meeting with Sergeant McCabe.
That comment was inaccurate. The correct sequence is that I was informed through officials in my office that the Minister intended to meet Sergeant McCabe and last Tuesday she informed me that she had met Sergeant McCabe.

It was announced today that a Tribunal of Inquiry would be set up into whether there was an organised smear campaign against Garda McCabe by senior gardaí.

With reporting from Sean Murray

LIVE: There will be a Tribunal into alleged smear campaign against Maurice McCabe

Read: Another garda whistleblower says Tusla investigation also opened in his case

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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