The Taoiseach said the department’s secretary general, Brian Purcell, did not tell him or Alan Shatter about the letter or its contents during a meeting on Monday, March 24, at which it was decided to send Mr Purcell to visit Mr Callinan at home to express the Government’s concern at the bugging situation.
Mr Callinan resigned as commissioner the next morning, but Mr Kenny has denied the purpose of Mr Purcell’s visit was to effectively sack him.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin insisted it was not credible that the Taoiseach and justice minister were not briefed on the letter during their meeting.
He said the only conclusion that could be drawn was that Mr Callinan was the “scapegoat” intended to take political pressure off Mr Shatter.
“I’d love to have been a fly on the wall,” Mr Martin said of the crisis meeting.
Mr Kenny retorted that the opposition party leader was not interested in the truth but only wanted to do damage to the Government.
Mr Martin disputed the Taoiseach’s version of what had happened as he claimed a timeline of events issued by Mr Purcell indicated he had briefed Mr Shatter on the contents of Callinan’s letter on March 24.
Mr Kenny said this was incorrect, but added that he would have “assumed” Mr Purcell would have informed him about the matter, but did not.
The letter was sent by Mr Callinan to the Department of Justice on March 10, but Mr Shatter and Mr Kenny say they were not made aware of it until after the commissioner’s resignation on March 25.
Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams asked Mr Kenny to include issues surrounding the handling of the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case to be probed in the bugging inquiry being set-up under Supreme Court Judge Nial Fennelly’s inquiry.
Mr Kenny said the terms of reference for the commission of inquiry had not yet been drawn up.
Mr Adams also criticised Fianna Fáil’s attitude, as the phone taping was in operation while it held power over a 14-year period.