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‘No appetite’ for general election

Wednesday, 15th February, 2017 1:01am

Local Galway TDs have described Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in the Government as “political opportunism”, “populist” and a “deliberate distraction” from the core issues at hand.

Their comments come as Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence, which calls on Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Cabinet ministers to resign, is set to be voted on in the Dáil tomorrow (Thursday).

The party submitted the motion on Monday in the wake of the controversy surrounding Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

They are seeking support from opposition TDs as well as Fianna Fáil, however it is understood the latter will abstain from the vote.

Sgt Maurice McCabe is now set to begin legal proceedings against Child and Family Agency Tusla after a file containing false allegations of child sex abuse against Sgt McCabe was sent to the gardaí. It later blamed the allegations on “an administrative error”.

The Cabinet have agreed to establish a public inquiry into the incident.

Independent Alliance TD Sean Canney branded the Sinn Féin motion as “political opportunism” and said it will “do nothing” to resolve the ongoing situation.

Deputy Canney believes it would be “absolutely madness” to take to the polls again.

“Theresa May is about to exercise her right to start the Brexit exit and if we as a government are in the middle of a general election we won’t have anyone at the table to look after Ireland’s interest, which would be lunacy.”

LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

While he continues to have faith in the current government, Deputy Canney said “there are lessons to be learned” from the McCabe situation.

“As a member of the Independent Alliance, I’d be concerned that nothing was said to our Independent Alliance members in Cabinet about Tusla.”

Galway West TD Sean Kyne also criticised Sinn Féin, citing that they “do not share the desire of Fine Gael and others to have a comprehensive and thorough investigation” into the McCabe scandal, as another election would delay any such investigation for months.

“The motion being put forward by Sinn Féin is a deliberate distraction from the core issue here which is urgent need to investigate the failings that are so evident that have led to the traumatic experience endured by Sgt Maurice McCabe and his family,” he stated.

Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte echoed the thoughts of her fellow Galway TDs, saying there is “no appetite for a general election”.

She described the government’s handling of the McCabe controversy as “deplorable”, however she believes the government will survive the vote of no confidence.

The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs expressed her shock at the appalling revelations, which emerged in last week’s Prime Time programme.

“I was absolutely horrified and sickened by the account of what happened within Tusla in this case,” she stated.

Deputy Rabbitte called on Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone to explain her level of knowledge of false Tusla abuse allegations.

Deputy Rabbitte said both the agency and the Minister have “serious questions to answer”, before adding that she had “serious concerns” about the workings and management of Tusla.

She said public confidence in the agency has been undermined.

“This has serious reputational implications for Tusla and our child protection mechanisms. We now need assurances from both Tusla and the Minister that processes will be put in place to ensure that this never happens again.”

Galway Sinn Fein Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh lashed out at the government saying they were “saving their own political skin” and holding a “very shaky” government together rather than attempting to uncover the truth.

“We don’t have any confidence in the way they’re handling all of this debacle in that there’s been so many contradictions in the different stories between the Minister for Justice, the Minister for Children and the Taoiseach’s accounts,” he stated.

He believes people have no confidence in what he called a “dead duck government” and a general election is the only option.

GARDA COMMISSIONER

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has strongly disputed allegations made against her that she had deliberately tried to blacken Sgt McCabe’s name.

“My position remains unchanged. Nothing has emerged in the last three weeks which in any way changes that situation,” a statement read.

She has repeatedly denied any allegations against her over her treatment of the Westmeath garda.

“A campaign of false accusations, repeated and multiplied, do not make me guilty of anything.

“I have made it clear that I was not part of any campaign to spread rumours about Sgt McCabe and didn’t know it was happening at the time it was happening. I have repeatedly refuted that claim and do so again.”

THE ODDS

Meanwhile, bookmaker Boylesports are predicating we will be heading to the polling stations before the year is out.

“It was odds against for a General Election to take place in 2017 on Sunday evening but following the news that Fianna Fail had overtaken Fine Gael in the latest Sunday Times poll and following on from the on-going McCabe scandal, punters quickly latched onto 7/4 resulting in it now being odds on for a General Election to take place this year,” Liam Glynn, BoyleSports spokesperson stated.

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