Former justice minister Alan Shatter has refused to say if Taoiseach Enda Kenny and under-fire attorney general Máire Whelan have his full confidence after the Fennelly report revelations.
The Fine Gael TD said he is “not going to be, at this time, a commentator on the report”, and does not want to “colour” other people’s opinions when asked to give his verdict on the head of Government and Ireland’s most senior legal expert.
The interim report by Justice Niall Fennelly into the retirement of ex-garda commissioner Martin Callinan on March 25, 2014, raised serious concerns over Mr Kenny’s and Ms Whelan’s roles in the affair.
In particular, it said that while Mr Kenny did not sack Mr Callinan, his decision to send then Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell to his home late at night to raise Mr Kenny’s personal concerns over widespread Garda station phone recording revelations, was the “immediate catalyst” for the departure.
It also found that Ms Whelan failed to inform Mr Shatter or Mr Kenny of the depth of the crisis for a number of months and changed her initial evidence to the Fennelly commission that the recordings were “criminal”, subsequently saying the claim had been overstated.
Speaking in his first interview on the issue, Mr Shatter told RTÉ radio he had no intention of voting in support of Fianna Fáil’s motion of no confidence in Mr Kenny, or Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence in Ms Whelan and the Taoiseach.
However, when asked if the pair had his “full confidence”, the former justice minister — who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Fennelly report despite losing his position — refused to clarify the matter.
“I’m not going to be, at this moment in time, a commentator on the report,” he said when asked for his position a number of times.
Mr Shatter said there was “absolutely no possibility I will be voting in favour” of Sinn Féin’s motion of no confidence due to the way the opposition party has made “false charges” about people and risked turning the Dáil into a “kangaroo court” in the past.
He also said that he would have “absolutely no difficulty in voting in support of this Government” when asked about the Fianna Fáil motion.
However, Mr Shatter repeatedly declined to clarify whether Mr Kenny and Ms Whelan had his full confidence, saying “there will be another occasion” to discuss the matter.
The comments came as it emerged Ms Whelan was recalled by the Fennelly commission four times to clarify issues with her evidence.
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