Senator Mark Daly: Obviously, the issue of what the Taoiseach knew and when he knew it is dominating the headlines today. There seems to be a lack of reality with regard to his statements. Every time he talks about the McCabe issue, he seems to contradict not only himself but also his own Ministers. Hopefully, we will get clarity on who knew what and when but as we all know, that is a distraction. It is merely a circus and a source of entertainment for political types and the media but is of little real concern to the people on the ground. What is of real concern to the people on the ground is the central issue of the treatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe, a whistleblower who was doing his job as he saw fit and who raised concerns about An Garda Síochána. He has made allegations that he was targeted with a smear campaign of the worst and most vile type. That is why we welcome a tribunal of inquiry that will get to the truth of this issue. This is not just about Sergeant Maurice McCabe. We need to get to the bottom of why it was that a whistleblower, who did his job correctly and acted in the best interests of every citizen was smeared rather than protected. We introduced whistleblower legislation to protect whistleblowers but we should not only be seeking to protect them but to actually reward and encourage them. We should make sure that the State not only protects whistleblowers but encourages and rewards them for doing their job. Anyone who comes forward and acts as a whistleblower is doing a great service to this State. When we get to the bottom of all of this it is to hoped that those who have had allegations made against them in terms of their attempts to smear Sergeant McCabe will face the full rigour of the law.
In the context of the Taoiseach’s inability to communicate, there was an event recently in Cork at which a person professed to be an Irish Sign Language interpreter. That person was actually a comedian and I have received communications from members of the deaf community who were outraged by his behaviour. He portrayed himself as a sign language interpreter and then interfered at an event at which the Taoiseach was speaking. It was a deplorable and appalling act to use the issue of the lack of recognition of Irish Sign Language in that way. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe not to recognise the sign language used by its own deaf community.
I wish to put the Leader on notice, in regard to the Corporate Manslaughter (No. 2) Bill and the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill, that on 25 March Fianna Fáil will propose an amendment to the Order of Business to the effect that Committee Stage of both Bills be taken. We have asked various Departments to submit their Committee Stage amendments but they have come up with all sorts of excuses and have not done so. My party will table amendments to the Order of Business on 25 March.