Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Questions (57)

Seán Crowe

Question:

57. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to growing protests in Malta regarding the mishandling by the government of the investigation into the murder of a person (details supplied); if his attention has been further drawn to mounting concerns regarding the alleged involvement of former chief of staff and other employees of the office of the Prime Minister in the murder and a subsequent cover-up; if he has discussed the issue with his Maltese counterpart; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53319/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the protests in Malta in relation to recent developments in the investigation of the October 2017 murder of investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia. In the past few weeks, a number of significant arrests have taken place and allegations have been made against senior Government officials. This has resulted in a number of resignations from the Government and the announcement by the Prime Minister of Malta that he will step down as his party leader on 12 January 2020 and as Prime Minister shortly afterwards.

Ireland and our EU partners have condemned in unequivocal terms the murder of Ms Caruana Galizia, which represents an attack on freedom of expression; a fundamental right in any democracy. It is essential for a healthy democracy that journalists feel safe to pursue their work, free from the threat of intimidation, harassment and violence.

Together with EU partners, we have called for a thorough and independent investigation into the murder of Ms Caruana Galizia. In a case such as this, it is vitally important that there is trust in the integrity of the investigation and the primacy of the rule of law.

Together with the representatives of several other EU member states, Ireland will continue to actively monitor the situation. Our Ambassador in Malta has attended the public inquiry into Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder, which started in early December. The Ambassador has also met with family members of Ms Caruana Galizia.

It is my firm hope that the recent developments in the investigation will soon lead to those responsible for this appalling crime being apprehended and swiftly brought to justice.