The Social Democrats have called for an immediate response from the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, to the revelations regarding the role of Tusla in the Sergeant Maurice McCabe affair. Speaking this morning, Social Democrat co-leader Róisín Shortall said;

“The extraordinary sequence of events regarding these vile allegations made against Sergeant McCabe require a full and early explanation from Minister Zappone, who has political responsibility for the operation  of Tusla. At a minimum, these events amount to serious maladministration and incompetence.”

Deputy Shortall went on to say “The public has a right to know if this is the case and if so, heads must roll. We must also have the right to know if there were more sinister forces at play in Tusla and if that is the case, those circumstances must be rigorously and fully investigated.

The easy option for the Government is to kick all of these issues into the Charlton Inquiry which is likely to further overload what already promises to be a dense and complex investigation and no doubt will lead to further delays. Given the important and sensitive role of Tusla in respect of child protection services we must have an early assurance from the Minister that it is possible to have confidence in the organisation. Unless the McCabe issue is dealt with speedily it will not be possible to guarantee the integrity of the organisation.Unfortunately the only current method of dealing with the wider serious issues surrounding the McCabe affair is a commission of inquiry. This again illustrates all too vividly the fact that as a country we have no effective means of investigating suspected corruption and serious wrongdoing. This is why the Social Democrats have consistently called for an Independent Anti-Corruption Agency to be established which would have the power to prosecute as well as investigate.”

Deputy Shortall further added “The commission of investigation model provides a means of examining  serious matters of public concern.  However, the fact that it is precluded from making adverse findings against individuals means that we do not get accountability from those who engaged in wrongdoing.   Yet another report from yet another commission of inquiry will do little to address concerns about the existence of a culture of corruption, nor will it do anything to reassure the public that the Government is taking these allegations seriously.  It simply serves to further erode the trust that people have in our public institutions.”

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