Taoiseach wrestles with Callinan inquiry rumours

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has refused to confirm reports that he was recalled by an inquiry over conflicting evidence on events leading up to the resignation of Martin Callinan as Garda commissioner.

Mr Kenny was yesterday critical of information being leaked from the Fennelly commission and said he would not breach the inquiry’s rules by discussing the probe.

His comments come after a report claimed that Mr Kenny was one of three witnesses recalled by the inquiry over the judge’s need to address conflicting evidence.

Mr Kenny, Attorney General Máire Whelan, and Department of the Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser were asked to give evidence again, the report stated.

The resignation of Mr Callinan as commissioner, which came a year ago yesterday, caused controversy, with opposition parties claiming he was effectively sacked by Mr Kenny. A top civil servant was sent to Mr Callinan’s home by Mr Kenny the night before he quit, but mystery shrouds what was communicated to him.

Mr Kenny has maintained that Mr Callinan retired and was not sacked, a move that would have required Cabinet agreement.

The Fennelly inquiry was to publish a report at the end of this month on the matter, but it has been delayed because of court issues related to the probe.

“I do not propose to breach the law that is in place for very many years, so while you might ask me questions about attendance or otherwise at the Fennelly commission, I do not propose to breach the law which set these commissions of investigation,” he said.

However, he was critical about information being leaked about the inquiry. “I have absolute respect for Justice Fennelly and it is not correct that a report that has not yet been produced should be published,” he said.

Mr Kenny visited the South by South West tech festival in Austin yesterday, one of the world’s largest technology conferences.

Mr Kenny also said he had been contacted by Irish families who had emigrated asking him to reduce tax rates. “I get phone calls from Singapore and from Australia, and they say: ‘You know, I’d like to go back — I know I can get a job — but your tax rate is too high.’ And that’s why we’ve started the process of reducing that tax burden in the last budget, and it will continue in this one coming up.”

While in Texas, Mr Kenny met Irish football international Stephanie Roche, who now plays for Houston Dash, wrestling star Hulk Hogan, state governor Greg Abbott, and also opened a new Irish consulate in the state.

He will today meet with Irish-American business groups in Washington, DC before meeting President Barack Obama in the White House tomorrow.

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