Tuesday 17 October 2017

Kenny dismisses Alex White claims on Callinan

Alex White
Alex White
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has dismissed remarks by Junior Health Minister Alex White that he moved to fire former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Mr Kenny pointed out that Mr White is involved in a contest for the Labour leadership and that he will not be drawn on his comments.

The Labour TD raised eyebrows within government circles after he claimed that Mr Kenny bypassed Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore by dispatching a senior civil servant to inform Mr Callinan of the emergence of hundreds of recordings of conversations in and out of garda stations.

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.

In a letter too Labour members, Mr White wrote:

"I am committed to completing our term of Government. But, not at any cost."

He added:

"Labour, under my leadership, will co-operate with Fine Gael as equal partners. We have a mandate from twenty per cent of the Irish people and we will not be taken for granted. 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 outside Google Headquarters in Silicon Valley, Mr Kenny said he would not be drawn on Mr White's comments given that he is in a leadership contest with Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

The Taoiseach insisted that he had a "responsibility and a duty" to ensure that the "consequences of the information" provided to him by the Attorney General were communicated to Mr Callinan.

"I'm not going to comment upon somebody who is involved in a leadership contest in a party," Mr Kenny said.

"I've said my piece on this, on the public record of the Dail where it should be. I had a responsibility and a duty that the consequences of the information brought to my attention by the Attorney General was brought to the notice of the then Garda Commissioner and that I did," he added.

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