Politics

Thursday 31 July 2014

Garda Chief’s resignation puts spotlight on Government

Fionnan Sheahan

Published 25/03/2014|13:37

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REGARDLESS of the pressure cooker build up, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s resignation was still a shock.

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The Government now has a full blown crisis to deal with, which will test the Coalition’s cohesion to the limit.

Mr Callinan frequently spoke about heading a disciplined force.

By contrast, Taoiseach Enda Kenny leads highly indisciplined organisation, which saw the Coalition split and one of his own party’s ministers go on a solo run.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar’s frustration at the lack of cultural change in the wake of the penalty points controversy pushed him to call on the Garda Commissioner to withdraw his “disgusting” comments about the whistleblowers actions.

He was followed by all the Labour Party ministers, including Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Mr Kenny’s efforts to quell the rebellion failed miserably.

The Taoiseach’s efforts to get ministers to stop talking publicly about the affair backfired as it was perceived as an effort to tell Labour to stay schtum.

But Mr Varadkar and Labour Party ministers calling on the Commissioner to move to end the controversy did serve to undermine his authority.

The Cabinet meeting this morning was always going to be dominated by the affair.

The focus now shifts to Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who has been tied at the hip with the Commissioner.

The extent of Mr Shatter’s contacts with Mr Callinan in recent days will come under scrutiny.

In the end, something had to give but the Garda Commissioner’s decision does not alleviate the pressure.

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