Visit was catalyst for retirement - Fennelly Commission report

AT first glance, the Fennelly Commission report appears to vindicate the position of the Taoiseach with regard to the premature retirement in March of last year of former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

Mr Kenny has always asserted Mr Callinan departed on his own volition and that he had no hand, act, or part in it.

Yet while Mr Justice Fennelly’s report agrees that the Taoiseach did not actively dismiss Mr Callinan, it also notes that the visit by Brian Purcell, the then secretary general of the Department of Justice, to the home of the former Garda commissioner was the immediate catalyst for his retirement.

The smugness with which Mr Kenny has grasped such a narrow favourable interpretation of the report with regard to the resignation does him or his government little credit.

While the Taoiseach did not exactly put a gun to the commissioner’s head, there is little doubt he expected him to do the honourable thing. The visit by Purcell to his home at the Taoiseach’s behest can only have meant to convey to Mr Callinan that he no longer enjoyed the confidence of the Government in the wake of the whistleblower controversy.

What else was the commissioner to do? Without the support of his political superiors, he was left in an invidious situation that made his position utterly untenable.

Mr Callinan may not have been pushed, but he was clearly encouraged to jump.

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