Taoiseach Enda Kenny is facing the prospect of two motions of no confidence and may be forced to recall the Dáil a fortnight earlier than planned as the Fennelly Report fallout threatens to engulf the Coalition.
Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin leaders Micheál Martin and Gerry Adams said that Mr Kenny’s position is now “untenable” and that he should resign.
Speaking after the report into the retirement of ex-Garda commissioner Martin Callinan was published on Tuesday night, Mr Martin said both moves must go ahead due to the “shifty, underhand” actions of the Taoiseach throughout the scandal.
He said the report makes it clear Mr Kenny “engineered” Mr Callinan’s retirement by sending “an emissary” to his home, and that “in the real world that is effectively a sacking”.
“The manner in which he presented the report, giving media and others about 10 minutes to digest this report whereas he had about a month to do it, is unacceptable. He tried to vindicate himself all day yesterday without anybody else having read the report. The spinning of that was neither tenable nor credible,” he said.
“The content of the report was absolutely shocking in my view, the commissioner was treated very shabbily, he was given no option but to resign and essentially and effectively the Taoiseach engineered his removal by sending out the secretary general of the Department of Justice to his house close to midnight. It was underhand. We have no option but to table a motion of no confidence, we believe the Dáil should be brought back next week to discuss this.”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said Mr Kenny should immediately resign and call the general election.
The party is also seeking a motion of ‘no confidence’ in the attorney general.
“No amount of spin by the Government or clever use of words in the Fennelly Report can disguise the fact the Callinan debacle has revealed how dysfunctional this Government is. In effect, commissioner Callinan was sacked. The Taoiseach’s position is untenable. He should resign,” he said.
Speaking on RTE Radio’s News At One, Independent TD Clare Daly was equally clear, saying Mr Kenny cannot “hide behind the Bart Simpson defence” of ‘it wasn’t me’. She said the report was “never” going to specifically conclude Mr Kenny “sacked” Mr Callinan as this would be a “criminal offence”, but said it is obvious the former Garda commissioner “jumped before he was pushed”.
“We are back to where we were a year ago,” she said.
While Mr Kenny is now set to face two motions of no confidence, they are almost certain to be changed to a motion of confidence, effectively the same debate, in a government counter motion.
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