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AS IT HAPPENED: Enda Kenny grilled on garda whistleblowers, Brexit and the future of rural post offices

It’s just under one week until Finance Minister Michael Noonan will be talking tax and expenditure.

Leaders’ Questions is kicking of at noon where there will be questions from Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and Independents 4 Change. It’s just under a week until the next Budget, so it’s anticipated there could be mention of that today. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on all things happening over at Leinster House this afternoon. Join us…

Michael McGrath of Fianna Fáil starts the questions off with some wonderings about Brexit – just as Theresa May talks to her Conservative Party at its conference on the other side of the water.

Enda Kenny reiterates the series of decisions taken and shared following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting yesterday.


“This morning, I opened the exporters’ conference in the RDS,” the Taoiseach tells the chamber.

He is discussing the various ways he feels the government has helped entrepreneurs and small businesses.

He adds that the relevant departments “will continue to explore what options might be open in terms of financial supports and access to credit” for companies who are suffering because of the “decline in strength of the sterling”.

McGrath says that Brexit could be a doomsday scenario for some businesses in Ireland – mentions the mushroom industry which has been the first sector massively hit by the UK’s vote in the summer.


Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald: “Here we go again.”

She raises the report that garda whistleblowers were targeted in an orchestrated attack by senior members of the gardaí.

You can catch up with the latest here:

She said stories like these lower morale in the force and stop others from coming forward.

Your government have clearly failed in protecting whistleblowers.

We are here back to square one. Nothing has changed.


Is Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner running for cover? asks McDonald.

Enda Kenny said confidentiality is key when allegations of this kind are made.

The minister will now look at the documents sent to her and she will do so quickly, says Kenny.

This will have to be dealt with by a competent person as the minister won’t be able to verify the allegations made one way or the other, says the Taoiseach.

He says it is utterly unacceptable for whistleblowers to be treated badly.

“We cannot shirk responsibility in that regard and we won’t shirk responsibility in that regard.”

Kenny says a sitting judge may be appointed to assess the information.


McDonald raising issue that minister has had correspondence from whistleblowers for some time.

She wants to know who is responsible for dealing with such matters.

“Can I ask you Taoiseach, who is in charge here?”

“Do you have confidence in the Commissioner?”

He says someone has to examine the documents and he expects that could be a member of the judiciary.

“I have absolute confidence in Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice, I have no reason not to,” says the Taoiseach.


Clare Daly in on her feet now talking about one whistleblower her and Mick Wallace have raised in the Dáil over 19 times.

Four times one of the garda whistleblowers wrote to minister and told her about experience he was going through, says Daly.

She says there was not just an orchestrated plan to destroy a whistleblower, but to annihilate him.

If the Commissioner herself isn’t directly involved in that harassment [of whistleblowers] isn’t her authority discredited?

“Why in Gods name do you need another investigation?”

“It is time for the commissioner to go,” said Daly.

She said GSOC have said themselves they do not have the powers they need.

Independent Michael Harty is now asking the Taoiseach about supporting rural post offices.

He says not supporting them is allowing another national asset to disappear.

They can flourish if allowed to do so…

He said without these services rural towns will be left as shells of themselves.

Enda Kenny says the last government carried out a report under the remit of businessman Bobby Kerr.

He said government are in favour of post office system and to attempt to provide new business for them, but he said that is not always easy.

Minister Ring has set up a group to talk about the future of post offices. The group has met twice already and is involved with the postmasters unions.

Harty said there have been enough reports. “What we want now is action,” he said.

He claims in the next five years income to post offices will drop by 50%.

Post offices can survive… unless you act, and act decisively, waiting on reports is not going to save our post offices.

Kenny says the report has already been done. “It is not a case of not wanting to help here,” said the Taoiseach.

He said the group is looking at what future services the post office can support – banking, driving licences, or the paying of water charges (if they are reinstated, that is)

The Taoiseach is now taking questions on promised legislation, with Labour’s Brendan Howlin asking Kenny about the appointment of judges under the new system.

Kenny says the last judicial appointments made were expected to be the last group approved under the old system. He says he has no plans to bring more names before Cabinet for approval.

He is now being asked about promised legislation on Seanad reform.

If you want to tune in, you can do so here.

That’s it for today, join us back here tomorrow.

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