Enda Kenny, the Irish Prime Minister is fighting for his career amid the fallout from the false child sex abuse allegations against Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.
On Wednesday night, Sinn Fein attempted to pass a vote of no confidence in Kenny and his Fine Gael government, but the Taoiseach narrowly survived 57-52.
But yesterday, members of his own party were starting to circle, suggesting that it might be time for Kenny to stand down.
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The clear favourite to be replace him, Leo Varadkar, the current Minister for Social Protection, told reporters in Dublin that Kenny would know the right time to stand aside for himself, the party and for the country. Vice chair of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party Pat Deering said, that it would be best if Kenny made a decision on his future in the “next few days”.
“I believe the party needs new focus. We have had an indication of this on more than a few occasions,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
Reports in the Irish Times suggested some in Kenny’s party wanted to give the Taoiseach a few more weeks so that he could go to New York for St Patrick’s Day and meet Donald Trump.
On Midlands 103 Radio, Longford/Westmeath TD, Kevin “Boxer” Moran was asked what the Taoiseach said about what was happening.
“He spoke to me generally. He said ‘all these things come to an end’. I’m nearly 50 years in the House’,” the Independent Alliance member said.
McCabe was a police whistleblower who pointed out that senior members of the Garda were quashing the penalty points of important people.
That report of low-level misconduct has, over the last 11 years, turned into a crisis which could now possibly bring down the current Irish government, and play havoc with the Brexit nightmare Ireland finds itself stuck in, which could possibly see the return of hard borders between southern and Northern Ireland.
McCabe, refused to be quiet and go away, as many of his colleagues had hoped, instead his single mindedness led to him helping to uncover widespread cancelling on points worth substantial amounts of money.
It also led to him being pilloried by increasingly senior officers.
At one point, the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan called McCabe “disgusting” for whistleblowing, rather than keeping it in the force. He “retired” soon after.
Alan Shutter, a justice minister in Kenny’s government was forced to quit, after a critical report into how McCabe’s complaint had been handled.
And then last week it emerged that McCabe had been wrongly accused of child sex abuse by Ireland’s child protection agency, and that a warning had been put on the record of all five of his children. The agency claimed it was a clerical error. It was, however, the second time the police officer has been erroneously accused of child sex abuse. The first time was immediately after he had first tried to blow the whistle.
Another whistle-blower, Superintendent David Taylor, a former police press officer, said this was part of a smear campaign against Sergeant McCabe, which was was widely known within the police force and by his superiors, including the now Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
On Wednesday, Kenny apologised to McCabe: “He and his family deserve the truth, as do all against whom allegations have been made, and I therefore offer a full apology to Maurice McCabe and his family for the treatment handed out to them as exposed in recent programmes.”