Ireland’s leaders in talks to avoid quick elections



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RTE

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Frances Fitzgerald was Irish minister of justice during a controversy over police whistleblowers

The leaders of Ireland's two main political parties will hold crisis talks on Tuesday in an attempt to avoid a quick general election.

Requests that the Irish Deputy Prime Minister resign over a dispute involving a police whistleblower could end an agreement between the parties.

Fianna Fáil abstains on key votes to allow Leo Varadkar's largest party, Fine Gael, to lead a ruling coalition.

It comes before an EU summit in which Ireland will play an important role. [19659007] If an election is called, there is concern that it could complicate the EU meeting next month, in which Ireland's position will influence the badessment of the UK's progress in the Brexit talks.

Revelations about a plan to discredit a whistleblower during an investigation have led opposition parties to request the resignation of the deputy prime minister of Ireland, Frances Fitzgerald, for her handling of the matter.

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On Monday, documents revealed that Fitzgerald had received a letter from an official discussing what was described as an aggressive stance towards the whistleblower.

At that time she was the Irish justice minister.

She faces a vote of distrust in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on Tuesday.

However, a government spokesman said he retained full confidence in Ms. Fitzgerald.

The dispute has created a political crisis and if the parties do not reach an agreement, then it could force a general election before Christmas.

Both parties have said they want to avoid a survey.

Varadkar, the Irish taoiseach (prime minister), will still travel to the EU summit next month, which will decide whether the Brexit negotiations will move on to the next phase.

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What's behind the dispute?

In 2015, the O & # 39; Higgins Commission was established by the government to examine the allegations of negligence in the Garda (Irish Police) Cavan / Monaghan Division.

On Monday night, it was revealed that the now tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) personally received a letter from one of its officials in July 2015, which discussed the "aggressive stance towards Sergeant Maurice McCabe in the commission".

The letter is one of a series of documents published by the justice department of a towing network requested by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

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RTÉ

Image Caption

Garda Noirin Commissioner O & # 39; Sullivan withdrew in September

In a series of tweets on Monday night, Ms. Fitzgerald wrote: "As Minister of Justice, I could not interfere with the O & # 39; Higgins Committee." This is confirmed twice in today's documents and has been confirmed by the Attorney General. " [19659007] A court chaired by a judge is also being conducted to establish whether Garda's senior officers were involved in an alleged smear campaign against whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mrs. Fitzgerald also wrote: "The Court will objectively judge the appropriateness of my conduct, and I am very keen to present my evidence to the Court in early January."

Skip the Twitter post by @FitzgeraldFrncs

1/2 As Minister of Justice, I could not interfere with the O & # 39; Higgjns Commission. This is confirmed twice in today's documents and has been confirmed by the AG.

– Frances Fitzgerald (@FitzgeraldFrncs) November 27, 2017

End of Twitter posting by @FitzgeraldFrncs

Skip Twitter 2 posting by @FitzgeraldFrncs

2/2 The Court will objectively judge the appropriateness of my behavior. I really want to present my evidence to the Court in early January.

– Frances Fitzgerald (@FitzgeraldFrncs) November 27, 2017

End of Twitter publication 2 by @FitzgeraldFrncs

Last week, Ms. Fitzgerald faced questions in the Dáil through from an email sent to him by former Garda commissioner (police), Noirín O & Sullivan, who described the legal strategy to be followed against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mrs. Fitzgerald said he could not remember having read it.

However, she recently admitted having been informed a year earlier than she had previously stated, that the garda's lawyers would try to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

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PA

Caption

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the situation would be resolved if Mrs. Fitzgerald resigned

On Sunday, it was also learned that Noirín O & # 39; Sullivan had discussed the controversial legal action related to McCabe in a phone call with a senior justice department official in May 2015.

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