The report in today's edition of The Irish Times that the Department of Justice and Equality email, which has been under consideration this week, was unearthed in the Department two weeks ago on 9 November is mind-boggling and adds another layer to the issues facing the Tánaiste. I want her to be clear as to the nature of the criticism we make of her. She will be aware that the response of the State to the allegations made by Sergeant McCabe has been one of the issues of greatest political controversy in this country during the past three years. It has led to the resignation of a Minister for Justice and Equality and others. In spite of that, when we have raised legitimate concerns about what the State has known, she has sought to undermine those concerns and deny the seriousness of the issues we are raising. What the Tánaiste has done repeatedly is respond to allegations that we are not making against her. Last night, she sought legal advice in respect of issues which are not relevant to the matters of concern to her.
I want to outline to the Tánaiste Fianna Fáil's criticism of her. It is this. In May 2015, the Tánaiste was aware of the strategy of the Garda Commissioner to attack and to try to personally destroy the reputation of Sergeant Maurice McCabe. We do not say that the Tánaiste formulated that strategy, we do not say that she was part of the make up of that strategy but we say she was aware of that strategy. To use a phrase that was used elsewhere on this issue, the Tánaiste was privy to that strategy. Our criticism is that the Tánaiste did nothing to stop it. The Tánaiste did nothing to give the impression that it was wrong what was happening and, instead, she publicly sought to present herself as being supportive of Maurice McCabe and supportive of whistleblowers.
It is also very significant that the Taoiseach on a number of occasions last week made false statements to this House. We know already that on two occasions he made false statements. He also made a third false statement on 14 November, which was Tuesday of last week, when he stated, "as things stand, the Department [of Justice and Equality] has not been able to find any record of being informed before the fact of the legal strategy the Commissioner was going to pursue." We now know that is incorrect. We know that on 9 November the Department was aware of this email. What I want to ask the Tánaiste is when did she become aware of this email. I saw reports in the newspaper that the Tánaiste became aware of it on Thursday of last week. If that is so, why then did she not bring this to the attention of the Taoiseach? Why did the Tánaiste not go to the Taoiseach on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or indeed Monday, and tell him about this email so that he could correct the record of the Dáil?
Second, can the Tánaiste tell us, after the Taoiseach spoke to her in Cavan on 11 November during the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis, did she speak to any officials in the Department of Justice and Equality, and if she did speak to them, what did she ask them and what did she tell them? Finally, when did the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, know about the existence of this email?