Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has ordered an examination into the shredding of “personal papers” by her predecessor Martin Callinan and his missing mobile SIM card.
The probe follows a formal complaint to the commissioner by Renua leader Lucinda Creighton TD on foot of the publication of the Fennelly report last week.
In her letter, sent last Friday, Ms Creighton expressed “deep concern” that the legality of Mr Callinan’s conduct be examined.
Ms Creighton requested Ms O’Sullivan to ensure that the findings of Justice Fennelly “are investigated and that any potential wrongdoing... is identified and prosecuted as appropriate”.
She claimed: “It is difficult to accept that the failure of Mr Callinan to preserve his personal papers and SIM card represented anything other than a deliberate, conscious, and calculated attempt to conceal and obfuscate the circumstances of his departure from office.”
There is no such finding or comment in the Fennelly report.
The examination will only be escalated to a criminal investigation if there is a suspicion that laws may have been broken.
It is thought the examination will come under the ‘policy and governance’ review of Fennelly, which was announced last week by Ms O’Sullivan and is being conducted by assistant commissioner Donall O’Cualain.
According to the Fennelly report, assistant commissioner Jack Nolan said that, on March 25, 2014, Mr Callinan asked a superintendent to dispose of eight to ten bags full of “personal papers”.
The contents were shredded. It is not clear if Mr Callinan’s 2013 diary— which was sought by the commission — was included.
Justice Fennelly also sought Mr Callinan’s mobile phone, noting that “almost all communication” with the Department of Justice was through texts.
Mr Nolan said the phone was returned, but the SIM card had been removed and, he believed, destroyed.
Fennelly asked Mr Nolan how come the SIM was destroyed, who authorised this, and Garda policy on such matters.
Mr Nolan said the SIM was not destroyed, but was not returned by Mr Callinan and had been cancelled remotely on May 30, 2014.
Fennelly said he could “only speculate” as to whether any information of value was “lost because of these actions”.
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