Europe

Sinn Fein to table no confidence motion in Irish government

Sgt Maurice McCabe Image copyright PA
Image caption Sgt Maurice McCabe alleged there was corruption within the Republic of Ireland's driving licence penalty points system.

Sinn Féin is to table a motion of no confidence in the Republic of Ireland's coalition government.

The crisis surrounds the handling of sex crime allegations against Irish police whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Sinn Féin has accused the Irish government of covering up "who knew what and when they knew".

However, it is understood the Fianna Fáil opposition is to abstain from the vote, effectively meaning the government will survive.

The controversy began more than three years ago when two whistleblowers - Sgt McCabe and now retired John Wilson - alleged there was widespread corruption with the Republic of Ireland's driving licence penalty points system.

Denial

The Garda (Irish police) commissioner last week denied telling journalists Sgt McCabe was facing sex crime allegations.

The claim against Nóirín O'Sullivan was made by Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin in the Dáil (Irish parliament).

Ms O'Sullivan said she was surprised by and refuted Mr Howlin's claim.

Image copyright RTE
Image caption Noírín O'Sullivan says she was not part of any rumour campaign

The commissioner reiterated her position on Monday.

"My position remains unchanged. Nothing has emerged in the last three weeks which in any way changes that situation.

"A campaign of false accusations, repeated and multiplied, do not make me guilty of anything.

"I have made it clear that I was not part of any campaign to spread rumours about Sergeant McCabe and didn't know it was happening at the time it was happening."

Criminal Investigation

Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Enda Kenny has said he is not ruling out a criminal investigation into the affair but said there had to be evidence of criminality.

A commission has been established to examine whether there was a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe orchestrated by senior police officers.

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