Fianna Fáil’s Justice spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan is calling on the State to seek a contribution from former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan for legal fees to fight a case taken by whistle-blower Maurice McCabe.
The legal representation from the State for former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is normal practice, according to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
The government is providing and funding lawyers for Mr Callinan on the recommendation of former acting Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin.
Mr O’Callaghan told RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke show that the Taoiseach is correct in his assessment, if this were a normal case.
But this is an unusual case, he said, as the State would not have any control of the defence offered by legal representatives for former commissioner Callinan.
“There is nothing to stop Callinan putting in a defence saying he didn’t say things. This would be inconsistent with the State’s apology to Sgt McCabe.”
He said if the case “was operating normally” the one legal team would represent both the State and Mr Callinan which would give the State’s legal team the opportunity to control the case.
“This way they have no control over the defence.”
Mr O’Callaghan said the State should seek a contribution from Callinan in respect of the State’s exposure.
Mr O’Callaghan, who is a senior counsel, said that the State can make a decision to rescind the offer to pay Mr Callinan’s legal fees.
“What did we get in return for paying Callinan’s fees?”
When asked about a request by new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to reverse the decision to fund the legal defence of his predecessor Martin Callinan, Mr O’Callaghan said that this was a case of the government “passing the buck.”