Pat Carey steps down amid allegations
FORMER Fianna Fáil TD Pat Carey has stepped down as Fianna Fáil's director of elections.
Mr Carey issued a statement through a solicitor tonight in which he said he does not know if he is the minister at the centre of a garda investigation into child abuse.
However, he admitted that he is aware of speculation.
A number of people have given statements to gardaí claiming that they were abused in the early 1990s, when he was a school teacher in north Dublin.
The news has sent shockwaves through Fianna Fáil, which just last month appointed Mr Carey as their director of elections.
He is to voluntarily step down from that position while the investigation is ongoing.
The Kerry native was a TD for Dublin North West from 1997 to 2011 and served as government chief whip from 2008 before becoming Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in 2010.
In the dying days of Brian Cowen’s government he also served as Minister for Transport, as well as Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
He lost his seat in the 2011 but has remained active in politics, most notably during the recent marriage referendum.
During the campaign the 67-year-old came out publicly as a gay man. He said he had been openly gay for the last four years but had never “come out” as such.
He has a partner since mid-2011.
Gardaí launched the probe after a woman, in her 30s, came forward to claim that she was abused by the man in the early 1990s.
Officers have now spoken with a number of people who have given similar statements, alleging abuse in Dublin and midlands.
It is understood that the allegations are at the “lower end” of the scale, with sources saying they will be difficult to prove.
However, gardaí feel there is enough similarities in the statement s they have taken to warrant a full investigation.
They will not speak with the ex-minister until they are satisfied that they have met with all potential witnesses.
Sources in the man’s party say they are “stunned” by the allegations.
When he was appointed Director of Elections last month, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Mr Carey was “respected throughout the organisation.”