Thursday 18 December 2014

Kenny accused of hiding behind Fennelly Commission over Callinan resignation

Published 11/06/2014 | 12:36

There were heated exchanges in the Dail today after Mr Kenny was again accused of essentially firing Martin Callinan
There were heated exchanges in the Dail today after Mr Kenny was again accused of essentially firing Martin Callinan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been accused of hiding between a Commission of Investigation in relation to his handling of the events that led to the resignation of the former Garda Commissioner.

There were heated exchanges in the Dail today after Mr Kenny was again accused of essentially firing Martin Callinan.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin raised the issue of a letter sent by junior Health Minister Alex White to 5,000 Labour Party members last week.

In the letter, Mr White wrote:

"I will not stand over a position where the Taoiseach looks to fire the Commissioner of the Gardaí without as much as a phone call to the leader of the Labour Party.”

Speaking during Leaders' Questions, Mr Kenny said he "does not accept the assertion" made by Mr White, who is vying for the Labour leadership.

And he rejected accusations by the Fianna Fáil leader that he was not telling the truth in relation to the events that led to Mr Callinan's resignation.

Mr Callinan left his post just hours after the Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Brian Purcell, called to his home in Glasnevin to relay the concerns of the Taoiseach.

Mr Kenny said today that his concerns stemmed directly from "revelations made to me by attorney general arising out of specific case of West Cork of an unsolved murder".

The case in question relates to the murder of french woman Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

"It was my duty and my responsibility to have those concerns brought to the attention of the former garda commissioner," the Taoiseach said.

But there were terse exchanges in the Dail after Mr Martin reiterated Mr White's suggestion that Mr Kenny essentially fired the former Garda Commissioner.

"You have some neck to come in and lecture me about that, when one of your own government ministers has made the assertion," Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin accused Mr Kenny of trying to hide behind the Fennelly Commission, which will investigate the issue of recordings in Garda stations.

This claim was rejected by Mr Kenny.

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

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