Irish News

Thursday 21 August 2014

Department of Justice ‘didn’t rule out possibility’ of Callinan withdrawing ‘disgusting’ remark

Tom Brady

Published 27/03/2014 | 14:06

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THE Department of Justice acknowledged this evening that there had been ongoing discussions between its officials and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan about the penalty points controversy.

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Towards the end of last week, it said, those discussions centred on the possibility of his making a further statement about his comments at a meeting of the Dail public accounts committee last January.

Mr Callinan had been facing several calls to withdraw his use of the term, “disgusting” in relation to the wholesale trawl of the internal Pulse computer system and the dissemination of confidential and personal information publicly.

The department said the talks also focused on the form the statement might take.

But it stressed there was no question of the department suggesting that this possibility be ruled out.

“Those ongoing discussions were, unfortunately, overtaken by subsequent events”, the department added.

Earlier today the former garda commissioner was reported to have decided not to withdraw his use of the word 'disgusting' following advice last week from Department of Justice officials.

The Taoiseach sent the secretary general of the Department of Justice, to the Garda Commissioner’s home on Monday night.

Mr Callinan had been considering withdrawing his controversial remark last week but he delayed this after consulting officials, it was reported on RTE Radio.

Enda Kenny had sent Mr Purcell to convey the gravity of situation, it was reported

The commissioner and the Secretary General are understood to have spoken again on Tuesday morning in advance of the Cabinet meeting.

It was reported that Mr Purcell told Commissioner Callinan on Monday night, that there was ‘disquiet’ at Cabinet level about the information on phone tapping in garda stations given to the Taoiseach over the weekend by the Attorney General.

Sources revealed that Mr Callinan told the Secretary General on Tuesday, after the private meaning, that in light of the controversy, the issue “was clearly not going to go away”.

He took the decision “to retire”, it was reported.

“He had to think of organisation and his family,” RTE reporter Paul Reynolds

Meanwhile Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabitte told RTE: “It’s a pity he didn’t withdraw it (the remark)”.

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