Senator calls on ministers Simon Harris and Patrick O’Donovan to take a polygraph test over alleged Cabinet leak sting
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Senator Rónán Mullen has called on ministers Simon Harris and Patrick O’Donovan to take a polygraph test about the alleged sting operation to identify a senior minister who leaked information from Cabinet.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said earlier this week that he spoke to junior minister Patrick O’Donovan about the alleged sting operation.
Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy used Dáil privilege last week to allege Higher Education Minister Simon Harris was the senior minister behind the leaking of the botched appointment of Katherine Zappone as a special envoy.
This has been denied by Mr Harris, who said he is “seriously considering” making a complaint over “extraordinary misuse of Dáil privilege”.
“At this stage, the minister, Deputy Harris, and the Minister of State, Deputy O’Donovan, should be invited to take a polygraph test because the public is concerned,” Senator Mullen told the Seanad yesterday.
“People would be greatly interested. It is a matter of public interest.”
He also said ministers are leaking information from Cabinet but “the Taoiseach does not seem to care”.
“Cabinet ministers are leaking and the Taoiseach does not seem to care. He seems to think it is part and parcel of politics,” the independent senator said.
Mr Mullen said language used in the Constitution about confidentiality of Government meetings “could not be clearer” and that “only the High Court can determine otherwise”.
“Despite this, we have the bizarre situation of an alleged sting operation involving a junior Minister to find out if a senior Minister is leaking,” the senator added.
Senator Mullen also added that a role of a special envoy for freedom of religion and belief should be considered by Government.
He said that this is one of the “critical issues” today and that Christians are “by far the most persecuted groups”.
“There are others, including Muslims in various Muslim countries, Yazidis – it is a long list. I would like to see a greater level of interest from our Government in appointing such an envoy,” he said.
“By all means let Katherine Zappone apply for that position. She should have that right along with everybody else,” he added.