Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the leaking of information relating to Brexit has exposed the media centric priorities of Government Departments.
On November 23rd last, a confidential internal Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade report on Brexit was leaked to, and widely reported in the media.
When questioned on the matter by Deputy O’Brien in Dáil Éireann yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney confirmed that the Secretary General of his Department is currently investigating the leaking of this information.
O’Brien said, “As the Taoiseach recently noted, relations with the United Kingdom are ‘strained’ and given the sensitivities involved in the Brexit negotiations it is worrying that highly confidential material, not intended for public consumption found its way into the media.
“This has been a cause of huge embarrassment for Ireland and to our European colleagues who were quoted in the memo.
“Our diplomats and those who engage with Irish officials and our diplomatic core should assume full confidence in the Irish Government and the leaking of this memo only served to undermine this confidence.
“Undoubtedly these negotiations will continue to present challenges and it is therefore imperative that trust and integrity are central to any discussions.
“Unintentional or worse again, intentional leaking of material is politically and diplomatically dangerous and threatens to compromise negotiations going forward. The Department seems to be more focused on putting out the best line through media rather than protecting Ireland’s relationship with the UK post-Brexit.
“I am glad to hear that there have been temporary amendments made to the circulation procedures in the Department, however, it is essential that a full investigation is carried out and conclusions are reached as to who leaked this information and had they received permission to do so.
He concluded, “Every effort must be made to prevent further leaks of confidential and sensitive data in relation to Brexit. This cannot occur again.”