Taoiseach makes a submission to inquiry

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has made a written submission to the Fennelly Inquiry on events leading up to the resignation of the former Garda commissioner, Martin Callinan.

The correspondence was confirmed after Alex White, a senior Labour Minister, said he did not know if the Taoiseach had sacked Mr Callinan — as he had previously claimed.

Mr White, the new communications minister, had raised questions about Mr Kenny’s involvement during his campaign to become Labour leader.

He said yesterday that “we have to await the outcome of the inquiry” to know what happened.

Mr Kenny has once again rejected accusations that he sacked Mr Callinan. Under questioning in the Dáil, he refused to say whether any records or notes exist relating to the meeting last March when he dispatched Brian Purcell, the secretary general of the Department of Justice, to the home of Mr Callinan on the night before he announced his resignation.

Mr Kenny said he wanted the Garda commissioner “to understand my concerns” about new information that had come to light relating to phone recordings at Garda stations and “that would have been the normal method of communication”. He said he will go before the Fennelly Commission “in due course”.

Mr White said he believes the Taoiseach is “an honest man” and that “everything he did and said was done in good faith”.

Asked if he believed that he did not sack Mr Callinan, Mr White said: “We won’t know ultimately what actually happened that day until Judge Fennelly gives his report.”

During the Labour leadership campaign, Mr White wrote to party members stating: “I will not stand over a position where the Taoiseach looks to fire the commissioner of the gardaí without as much as a phone call to the leader of the Labour Party.”

Mr White has since been promoted to Mr Kenny’s Cabinet. But on Newstalk Radio yesterday, he said he had not asked Mr Kenny whether he sacked the commissioner.

“The broader political point I was making there was about the Tánaiste being kept in the dark in relation to a major decision,” Mr White said. “I expressed an opinion at the time, that wasn’t based on factual evidence because we don’t have the evidence and we don’t have the facts.”

He said it’s up to Justice Fennelly — who is chairing an inquiry into Garda matters — “to resolve that and to tell us all what precisely occurred on that day”.

“What exactly happened that day, the factual matrix of what occurred, and the various events of visits to the commissioner’s house and so on, they will have to be resolved by the judge.”


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