Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to today receive a long-awaited independent report into the retirement of former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, potentially putting his position at risk.
The Fine Gael leader will be the only person to receive the interim report of the Fennelly commission into the scandal — which saw Ireland’s senior garda leave his position after being visited at his home last year just hours after a separate Garda controversy emerged.
At the height of the Garda penalty points and phone tapping scandals, which ultimately led to the resignation of then justice minister Alan Shatter, Mr Callinan was visited at his home on March 24, 2014, by then Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell, who has also since left his position.
The senior civil servant said he had been sent to the property to voice Mr Kenny’s personal concerns over the escalating scandal. Mr Callinan subsequently resigned his position, a move the Government insists is not related to the March 24 visit.
Under legislation to ensure there is no political interference in an independent Garda force, a Taoiseach cannot fire a Garda commissioner without the express permission of all cabinet members — a move the opposition claim would put Mr Kenny’s position under threat if the report concludes this is what happened.
While a government spokesperson declined to comment on the issue or when the report will be published, Mr Kenny has previously committed to making the document public “when I receive a copy that can be published”.
The handing over of the report — which is part of a wider investigation by Mr Justice Nial Fennelly into the phone tapping saga that has yet to conclude — comes as a fresh Garda scandal emerged at the weekend.
RTÉ Radio’s This Week programme yesterday revealed a Garda whisteblower withdrew from a complaints procedure over concerns relating to the drugs crime unit, after it was claimed information from his meeting with investigating officers was leaked to the accused.
It was also alleged that a senior garda appointed to lead an internal inquiry into the incident has close links with the person involved.
Independent TD Clare Daly said the procedures by which gardaí complain about governance or alleged criminality issues in the force cannot be trusted and is unsafe. She said despite last year’s the penalty points saga surrounding Garda whistle-blowers Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, the latter of whom has since left the force, there are still clear difficulties trying to highlight problems.
“The Government needs to stop the waffle and the nonsense that they are interested in Garda reform. They are not. We need an independent Garda authority, otherwise this [investigations and reforms] is just going to be a talking shop, another fig leaf,” she claimed.
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