Ministers have backed Taoiseach Enda Kenny as he faced down accusations of being dishonest and dodging questions about his role in the resignation of the Garda commissioner.
Many Coalition TDs yesterday avoided embarrassing claims around Mr Kenny’s role and instead turned a motion of no confidence in him into an attack on the opposition.
Mr Kenny flatly rejected accusations he sacked Martin Callinan as Garda Commissioner and said the recently published Fennelly Commission’s interim report had cleared him.
Mr Callinan quit after Mr Kenny sent a senior civil servant on a late-night visit to his home to convey his unhappiness over the recording of calls in Garda stations.
Mr Kenny said yesterday that if an undiscovered letter Mr Callinan had sent to then-justice minister Alan Shatter had emerged about the recorded calls, then the meeting would not have taken place and the Cabinet would have resolved the matter.
In the absence of the letter, Mr Kenny said it was only “right and fair” Mr Callinan be told of his position — that Mr Kenny could not express confidence in him if asked to do so in the Dáil.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin reiterated his claim during a Dáil debate yesterday that the Fennelly report confirmed a “gun was put” to Mr Callinan’s head.
He said that, since the report was released, Mr Kenny had tried to “hide, twist, and turn” to avoid questions about Mr Callinan’s resignation in March 2014.
Mr Martin claimed other people who gave evidence to the probe — including then justice minister Alan Shatter and former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore — knew what Mr Kenny’s actions would do, despite the Taoiseach insisting he had no idea Mr Callinan would quit.
“Everyone else thought he was telling the commiss-ioner to go,” Mr Martin said.
Mr Kenny accused him of “playing games” and of undermining the work of the Fennelly inquiry for “political purposes”.
While Sinn Féin said it had no confidence in Attorney General Máire Whelan for failing to inform other cabinet members of Garda station call recordings at the time, Mr Kenny said he did.
Tánaiste Joan Burton said she had “full confidence” in Ms Whelan and Mr Kenny.
Several TDs yesterday noted there was a sense of “chaos” among the Government members over Fennelly’s conclusions and details about officials contradicting themselves.
Independent TD Mick Wallace said that Mr Kenny had wanted Mr Callinan to quit as he was a “political liability” after claiming garda whistleblowers’ remarks were “disgusting”.
Despite the comments, ministers rallied behind Mr Kenny, winning the motion of confidence in the Dáil by 94 to 52 votes.
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