Kenny silent on lack of support after Fennelly probe

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has refused to comment on a poll which found just one in 10 people believe his version of why former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan retired.

In his first press conference since the publication of the Fennelly report, Mr Kenny declined to comment on the damning verdict of the public.

Last week, the long-awaited interim report of the Fennelly commission found that Mr Callinan’s decision to retire on March 25, 2014, was ultimately his own and “he could have decided otherwise”.

However, it said Mr Kenny’s decision to send a senior civil servant to his home late at night, to personally express concerns about Garda station phone recording, was the “ultimate catalyst” for the move.

While the Government has been at pains to state the Taoiseach has been cleared of any wrongdoing and that he never intended to place pressure on Mr Callinan, the opposition — which has tabled a motion of no confidence in Mr Kenny — insists the former commissioner was effectively sacked.

On Monday night, RTÉ show Claire Byrne Live reported on an Amárach survey based on the views of 1,000 people nationwide which found just 12% believe Mr Kenny and 55% do not.

At his first press conference since the report was published, Mr Kenny was asked about the poll and whether department secretary general Martin Fraser’s position is under threat due to contradictory evidence given to the Fennelly probe.

He said:“I’ve confidence in the secretary general, and I accept the findings of a supreme court judge. He was given a task to do with a specific set of terms and conditions. He complied fully with that and I accept the conclusions of it.”

The press conference involved a short number of questions dominated by the jobs announcement and the migrants crisis, with a single question on the Fennelly report answered only after one journalist interrupted a press handler who was ending the conference before the issue was raised.

While the spokesperson initially said both Mr Kenny and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton would be available for further questions afterwards, only Mr Bruton was made available.

Mr Bruton said the Fennelly revelations have not damaged his party and that the views of “the Supreme Court judge” asked to examine the controversy are “what matter, and they have found the Taoiseach acted appropriately”.

Asked if the public’s views do not matter, Mr Bruton said the people “wanted this investigated, that authority has found the Taoiseach acted correctly, he did not seek to sack Mr Callinan”.

Speaking at a separate event, Tánaiste Joan Burton said the Fennelly report “sets out very clearly what happened... that the Garda commissioner, after consideration, offered his resignation, and it was accepted”.

“People have to read the report,” she said.

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