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Tuesday 28 November 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Leah Farrell
disclosures tribunal

Taoiseach says Frances Fitzgerald could be considered for Cabinet in the future

Last week’s Disclosures Tribunal report effectively exonerated Fitzgerald.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said Frances Fitzgerald could be considered for future Cabinet positions.

The former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was effectively exonerated in the latest Disclosure Tribunal report with regard to her dealings in the case of Maurice McCabe.

Questions arose late last year about what she knew about the legal strategy being pursued against McCabe by the former Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan during the O’Higgins Commission.

Political pressure mounted on Fitzgerald from both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, which ultimately led to her resignation as minister last December.  

Speaking to reporters today, Varadkar said:

“I believe [Fitzgerald] is in a position now where she is up there to be considered for future office and future service in the highest office in the land.”

The Taoiseach repeated calls from Health Minister Simon Harris last week, and called for both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil to correct the record of the House in relation to their comments about Fitzgerald. 

He said Fitzgerald “selflessly” resigned to avoid a general election, which Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein were threatening at the time. 

Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, I think, very unfairly threatened to bring down the government on what has now turned out to be a false case against Frances Fitzgerald…

Varadkar added he is disappointed in the two parties, adding that on occasion he has had to correct the record of Dáil.

“I don’t think it makes you a lesser person by accepting that you were wrong by going into the Dáil and correcting the record,” he said, calling on both parties to “do the decent thing”.

“I have done it. I don’t see why they can’t do that,” he said. 

The Taoiseach also defended his recent mini-Cabinet reshuffle, and not reappointing Fitzgerald to a ministerial position. 

He said he spoke to Fitzgerald over the weekend, stating that she had no expectations of being returned to Cabinet as she knew the vacancy arose from an independent in government resigning.

Had Fitzgerald been a TD from the west of Ireland, perhaps it would have been different, he said, but added that he had to strike a rural-urban balance around the Cabinet table. 

Commenting on the Independent TD Michael Lowry’s statement that he will support the government, Varadkar said he had not personally had contact with Lowry, but that he understood the TD had been in touch with government officials. 

Varadkar said there was no “formal” agreement between Lowry and the government, adding that the TD has not always supported the government with votes. 

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