There is a slight nuance to the Trevor Sargent story on the front of today’s Evening Herald not immediately apparent – to me at least – on first reading.
The constituent on whose behalf Sargent wrote to the Garda Siochana, it is claimed, was subject of a malicious prosecution, if the talk on News At One is to be interpreted correctly. The question therefore is whether Sargent in his correspondence, was referring specifically to a case and attempting to influence it, or simply informing the Garda Siochana that a constituent was concerned about a matter.
If the former, can Sargent stay? I doubt it. The letters – if the politicians don’t – will tell all, but the Herald have not printed them in full [yet]. So we await.
In the meantime, the fact the Green Party statement has confirmed that Sargent communicated with a Garda is important. Furthermore, the quotes used in the Evening Herald article don’t shine Sargent in a good light.
All in all, right now, it’s not looking great for the deputy.
Unless he can pull out a surprising (and rock solid explanation) – and the malicious-complaint claim doesn’t cut it as the tecnicalities of the case are largely irrelevant – or this story has been hugely misreported, this looks like the end of his career.
The ball is in the Green Party’s court. Do they cut Sargent, arguably their most “ethically conscious” of all deputies, over this apparently extremely serious matter? Those insterested in seeing ethics upheld and political accountability imposed, would say they should.
Or do they try to make an excuse for Sargent and cling to power? Surely not?
Last week the Irish Times editorial finished with “[for the Green Party, the handling of the O’Dea ethics issue is] a hard lesson learned”. I doubted, [in Footnote IV] whether or not they’d learned any such lessons. I suppose we’ll see in the next few hours.
Might be worth keeping an eye on Dan Boyle’s Twitterstream.