Saturday 3 December 2016

Draft findings of Callinan 'sacking' report distributed

Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30

Martin Callinan and Alan Shatter
Martin Callinan and Alan Shatter

Key figures involved in the controversial departure from office of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan are examining draft findings from the Fennelly Commission - months after they were first expected.

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The draft findings were circulated by the independent inquiry set-up by Government to establish whether Mr Callinan was "sacked" or not by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mr Kenny has denied Mr Callinan was sacked by Government in March 2014 and insisted he resigned.

However, last night, Labour party sources said that concerns held by them last year remain. But they await publication of the report before reaching any conclusions.

The Commission sent out the findings yesterday to persons interviewed by it, or who may have played a role in the controversial decision of Mr Callinan to step down from his post.

Those contacted will have a period of time to respond to Judge Fennelly before he publishes the interim report.

Mr Kenny yesterday declined to comment on whether he had received the report or not, saying he was precluded by law from doing so. "All I'm going to say is, when the report comes to me for publication, it will be published in accordance with the law. I've always said that.

"There are very strict procedures that apply here. So, I will comply with those procedures and the directions of the Justice," he said.

If the Commission finds the Taoiseach sacked the commissioner without giving him a right of reply, or before discussing it with Cabinet, he will have broken strict laws laid out in the Garda Act. A Garda commissioner can only be forced out of office by a Cabinet vote.

The Taoiseach claims he sent former Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell to Mr Callinan's family home to impress on him the gravity of recording of certain telephone calls in garda stations.

Sources close to Mr Callinan believe he was "left with no option" but to resign following the late night visit from Mr Purcell.

It is understood that the Fennelly Commission's report has been sent to Mr Purcell, former Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Department of the Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser. Despite being interviewed by the Commission, and having sent Mr Kenny the original dossier of information which sparked the controversy, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is not expected to receive draft findings.

All those parties who are being contacted have also been warned that any leaking of the draft report before its final publication is a criminal offence.

Delayed

All those sent the draft report will have an opportunity to respond before the final report is sent to the Department of the Taoiseach for publication.

The commission had delayed sending out draft findings earlier this year due to the High Court trial taken by Ian Bailey, who failed in his attempt to sue the State over his wrongful arrest in relation to the murder of French woman Sophie Toscan Du Plantier. The commission also had to call back a number of witnesses for interview to clarify certain conflicts in evidence.

Justice Fennelly's Commission of Investigation is also investigating recordings of telephone calls to garda stations - including Bandon Garda Station in Cork where Mr Bailey was arrested. The full report into the garda recordings is not expected to be delivered until next year at the earliest.

Irish Independent

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