‘Release Fennelly witness accounts’

“Contradictory” Fennelly interviews with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the attorney general Máire Whelan, and others, must be immediately published to clarify concerns over the retirement of the former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said transcripts of the interviews should be released to provide clarity on the “selective memory loss” he claims affected a number of people at the heart of the probe.

The 300-page interim report of the Fennelly commission into the reasons why Mr Callinan retired was published last Tuesday after months of delays over when it would be made public.

While the Government insists it cleared Mr Kenny of effectively sacking the Garda commissioner — a claim which, according to the opposition, misses the fact it found the Taoiseach’s involvement was the “ultimate catalyst” for Mr Callinan’s decision — it has raised a series of contradictions in key witnesses’ evidence.

Among the most relevant questions are those surrounding whether the issue of Mr Callinan’s departure was discussed by senior cabinet members including Mr Kenny, then tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, and then justice minister Alan Shatter before it occurred, and delays in the attorney general informing cabinet of the scale of the wider Garda station phone recording scandal.

In addition, questions remain over why Ms Whelan initially described the issue as “criminal” before lessening the charge in subsequent evidence.

Mr Collins said if the transcripts are not made public immediately, the “shadier” aspects of certain witnesses’ “selective memory loss” will be unaddressed.

“Nearly one week on since the publication of the Fennelly report there are more questions than answers,” he said. “There are conflicts between witnesses’ accounts.

“The attorney general was called back four times by Judge Fennelly and there have been reports the Taoiseach was also called back. What’s even shadier is the fact that the Taoiseach tried to contradict Mr Gilmore’s account of their discussion and then had selective memory loss.

“When the judge told the Taoiseach about Mr Gilmore’s account he said that he could not ‘recall the accuracy of what he said’.

“Mr Gilmore seems very clear and has the same account as three others who were present the night before whereas the Taoiseach can’t actually remember what he told Mr Gilmore.

“In order to clear up this confusion it is essential the transcripts are released,” he said.

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