Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD has today called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Justice to clarify the exact role being played by Attorney General Paul Gallagher in relation to the ongoing INM court case.
Teachta Kenny said:
“High court inspectors were appointed to investigating the affairs of International News and Media back in 2018, and we can assume that Mr Gallagher was acting for the companies directors since then. He was then appointed Attorney General in 2020.
“The excuse we were given in the Dáil today was that it is standard practice for an Attorney General to finish out cases they worked on previously. That is a practice that should have ended long before now. The Tánaiste assured the Dáil that there was no conflict of interest, but let’s not forget he has also previously assured the Dáil that there was no leak of a document which was in fact leaked.
“When a solicitor is appointed as a Judge, they are expected to pass over cases to their colleagues, no matter how complex the case or how long they have worked on it. However that is not expected of an Attorney General for a reason best known to the successive governments of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
“We are now in a situation where Mr Gallagher was given government approval to continue his work with the directors of a company under investigation by a state agency he also advises. It screams of a conflict of interest and Mr Gallagher, the Justice Minister, and the Taoiseach need to clarify the situation immediately. This includes a full and complete account of Mr Gallagher’s current caseload in private practice.
“The role of Attorney General is a very prestigious and important role. They advise the state on many public and private matters, as well as offering advice to state departments and agencies. It is also a very well paid role.
“The public have every right to know the details of any potential conflicts of interest an Attorney General may have.”