When a political crisis occurs, it’s vitally important for the principals to take a clear decision on whether they need to address the issue or see where it’s running – so it seems. There is a third option – the proactive getting-out-ahead model which calms fears, isolates the issue and insulates the leadership. It’s the equivalent of advancing to stand over the ball in the ruck and catching the eye of the referee – you’ve got this, and everything is under control. Here’s what I would have written for Enda Kenny.
Thanks for coming everyone.
Overnight it has become clear that issues between Tusla and An Garda Síochána have given rise to a justifiable concern amongst the people about the integrity of both. As a result I have had discussions with the relevant ministers and secretaries general in each department – and I have made the following conclusions.
I have determined to seek an investigation, to be led by a senior investigator from one of our colleague police forces in Europol. In order to ensure and establish 100% the impartiality of the investigation, it will issue first to me and then the next day to the Oireachtas.
The investigation will consider if a criminal act has occurred, if an administrative error has occurred, and whether management inside either Tusla or An Garda Síochána could have or should have been able through their procedures to prevent those occurances. If it appears that a criminal offence has been committed, it will be up the the Director of Public Prosecutions to recommend a prosecution or not. If it appears that an administrative error has occurred, it will be for the minister responsible to seek a satisfactory resolution to that and to report that resolution to the Oireachtas.
The investigation will be begun immediately. I expect and expect to receive the fullest co-operation from the agencies and An Garda Síochána and I expect the investigation to come to a conclusion quickly – but no more quickly than a proper investigation requires.
I have today every confidence in Tusla and An Garda Síochána, and the people of Ireland should too. Clearly, something has gone wrong somewhere; it is intolerable not to know where, and it is imperative for the rule of law and the interests of our Republic that we are in possession of the facts in order to make clear-headed decisions for the future. Those facts belong in the hands of the people, and that is the determination of this government.
A statement of the terms of reference of the investigation will issue from my office to the Oireachtas by midnight tonight. Neither I nor any member of the Government will now discuss the matter until the conclusion of the investigation. I’m not prepared to answer any questions on this matter now – but I will of course be available to answer any question put to me in the Oireachtas, as is proper.