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Irish government faces no-confidence vote

Dublin: Ireland's fragile minority government faces a no-confidence vote later Wednesday over a scandal involving the police, the state's child protection agency and the political establishment.

Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his cabinet have been criticised over their handling of false allegations of child sexual abuse against a high-profile police whistleblower, which may have been a criminal conspiracy by senior members of the force.

The vilification of police sergeant Maurice McCabe has engulfed the coalition government since the story emerged in national media last week, with ministers telling conflicting stories about what they knew about the affair and when.

In a special parliamentary session on Tuesday, Kenny admitted he gave "wrong information" regarding a meeting with a senior cabinet minister on the matter as recently as last weekend.

The government handling of the affair has prompted the motion of no confidence by Sinn Fein but Fianna Fail, the main opposition party, has said it would not back it even though it has described the government management as "incoherent and shambolic".

"I don`t think the Irish people want a general election every few months but people are very, very angry about the way in which a good and decent person was treated," its leader Micheal Martin told a Cork radio station.

The scandal has roots going back to 2006 when McCabe made a complaint against a colleague over misconduct.

Another officer then made a complaint against McCabe of sexual abuse on a six-year-old girl. This was investigated and he was completely exonerated.

In 2013, the child protection agency opened another file on McCabe after receiving further allegations of sexual abuse but the following year it acknowledged this was an error.

The agency did not inform McCabe of the allegations until December 2015.

Given McCabe`s high profile campaign against police corruption, many people suspect the false accusations were made intentionally to discredit him.
The government has agreed to set up a public inquiry to investigate whether it was an honest mistake or something more sinister.


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