Fennelly Fallout: Fennelly Report Timeline

Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan

A timeline of the Fennelly Report fallout.

  • November 11, 2013:
  • Garda commissioner Martin Callinan informs Attorney General Máire Whelan that a practice going back decades of routinely taping telephone calls in some Garda stations has been uncovered. This practice came to light in the discovery process of a legal action being taken by Ian Bailey against the State, concerning his arrest in 1997 in the investigation of the murder of Sophie Tuscan du Plantier. The discovery of taped calls in Bandon Garda Station dating from that time led to the discovery that the practice was widespread and had been ongoing since the 1980s.

    Fennelly Fallout: Fennelly Report Timeline

    Attorney General Máire Whelan

  • November 27, 2013:

    Mr Callinan orders the practice of routine taping to cease.

  • January 23, 2014:

    During an appearance before the Public Accounts Committee about abuse of the penalty points system, Mr Callinan says the actions of the two whistleblowers who had raised the issue were “disgusting”. His remarks generate some criticism in media and political circles, but the matter appears to rest there.

  • February 9, 2014:

    The Sunday Times reports GSOC had investigated the previous autumn whether or not its offices had been bugged. The story sets off two weeks of controversy, drawing in Justice Minister Alan Shatter, GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien, and the Taoiseach. Eventually, the Government announces retired judge John Cooke will examine the affair.

  • February 19, 2014:

    Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin reveals he is in possession of documents which show that cases involving serious crime were not properly investigated by gardaí. He was furnished with the documents the previous Friday in a meeting with Sgt Maurice McCabe. Complaints in relation to these cases were already investigated within the force, and Mr Shatter was aware of them. Mr Martin says Mr Shatter’s position is now untenable. The Taoiseach receives the report from Mr Martin and announces senior counsel Seán Guerin is being appointed to investigate how the gardaí, the department, and the minister dealt with these cases.

    Fennelly Fallout: Fennelly Report Timeline

    Micheál Martin

  • March 10, 2014:

    Mr Callinan sends a letter to the secretary general of the Department of Justice entitled Recording of Telephone Conversations made and retained in Garda Stations. Data Protection Acts — Retention of Data. The letter outlines the tape recording issue and the steps that the commissioner was taking to resolve how to deal with the tapes accumulated over the previous 30 years. The letter demonstrates that Mr Callinan was dealing with the matter promptly and through all the correct channels. The letter is not delivered to the minister, Mr Shatter for a number of reasons involving busy timetables and Mr Shatter’s departure to Mexico for St Patrick’s Day celebrations. A subsequent report concludes that it wasn’t viewed as a “red flag” issue.

  • March 20, 2014:

    At a road safety conference, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says that the commissioner was wrong to label the actions of the Garda whistleblowers “disgusting”, and he considered the two men to be “distinguished”. The development causes furore in political circles, reawakening the controversy dating from nearly two months previously. Within 24 hours, the Labour party ministers in government have reiterated Mr Varadakar’s position. Mr Callinan comes under pressure to apologise.

    Fennelly Fallout: Fennelly Report Timeline

    Leo Varadkar

  • March 23, 2014:

    The Taoiseach is informed about the taping in Garda stations.

  • March 24, 2014:

    Following various meetings involving the Taoiseach, the minister for justice, and the secretary generals of their respective departments, Martin Frazer and Brian Purcell, Mr Purcell is dispatched to Mr Callinan’s home to convey Mr Kenny’s “concern” at what is unfolding. Mr Purcell and Mr Callinan have a close working relationship that involves near daily contact, but the civil servant had never previously visited the commissioner’s home on business.

    Fennelly Fallout: Fennelly Report Timeline

    Brian Purcell

  • March 25, 2014:

    Mr Callinan resigns. Most of the Cabinet are informed prior to their morning meeting. Mr Kenny announces the establishment of commission of investigation to examine the taping matter. Within days, following accusations in the Dáil Mr Kenny sacked the commissioner, the circumstances around Mr Callinan’s departure are included in the terms of reference.



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