Updated: 28/11/17 : 05:46:20
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Tánaiste refuses to resign as emails reveal her knowledge of 'aggressive stance' against McCabe

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has resisted calls to resign over her handling of the garda whistleblower controversy and insisted that as Minister for Justice she could not interfere with the O'Higgins Commission.

In a series of tweets last night, Ms Fitzgerald said this was confirmed twice in the documents released yesterday by the Department of Justice and had been confirmed by the Attorney General.

She said the Disclosures Tribunal would objectively judge the appropriateness of her conduct. She is due to give evidence at the tribunal in early January.

A government spokesperson said it retained full confidence in her. However, a number of ministers and Fine Gael TDs have told RTÉ News that they believe she should resign following last night's revelations.

Her comments came after it was revealed she was personally sent a letter from one of her officials in July 2015, which discussed the "aggressive stance towards Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission".

The letter is one of a number of documents published this evening by the Department of Justice from a trawl of records that were requested by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Varadkar made the request last week over the controversy about a separate email that was sent to Ms Fitzgerald on 15 May 2015 while she was Minister for Justice.

This email outlined the legal strategy of former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan that was about to be pursued against Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.

The release of the documents came as Mr Varadkar and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin met to try to find a resolution to the current impasse between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

A Government spokesperson said that there was serious engagement on both sides and "all remain keen to avoid an election in the interest of the country". They are due to meet again this morning, Tuesday.