Monday 5 December 2016

Shatter declines to express confidence in the Taoiseach and AG

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Former justice minister Alan Shatter
Former justice minister Alan Shatter

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter has declined to say whether he has full confidence in Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Attorney General Máire Whelan following the publication of the Fennelly Report.

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But Mr Shatter confirmed he will not support Dáil motions of no confidence in the pair when they are tabled by the Opposition this month.

The Fine Gael politician was one of the key witnesses who provided testimony to the Fennelly Commission, which was set up to investigate the recording of phone calls in and out of garda stations and the events that led to the departure of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

The report found that Ms Whelan chose not to inform Mr Shatter of the garda tapes controversy despite him being the line minister responsible for An Garda Síochána.

Mr Kenny did not bring the issue to Mr Shatter's attention until the evening of March 24 - just hours before the Taoiseach dispatched the Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell to the home of Mr Callinan.

"It is very likely that if the minister had been informed, it would have made a significant difference to the events as they unfolded," the report concludes.

Speaking on the matter yesterday, Mr Shatter said he would not be supporting motions of no confidence tabled in Mr Kenny and Ms Whelan by Opposition parties. "Members of the Opposition who are now jumping up and down crying crocodile tears on behalf of Martin Callinan, who did a very good job as a Garda Commissioner, are the ones who spent weeks calling for his head," Mr Shatter told RTÉ's 'This Week' programme.

But he said he did not want to become a "commentator" on the report and declined to say whether he has full confidence in the Taoiseach and the Attorney General.

Meanwhile, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton has formally written to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to raise concerns about the disposal of Mr Callinan's personal papers and the disappearance of a SIM card belonging to his mobile phone.

Ms Creighton said she believed the matter should be investigated thoroughly.

Mr Callinan told the commission that he had cleared out all personal papers after he announced his retirement and he did not have any written notes to support his evidence.

He was, however, able to produce his diary for the year 2014.

On March 25, Mr Callinan went to a filing unit in the Conference Room, where he kept personal papers, and requested black refuse sacks as he wished to sort through his files.

He later asked a Superintendent to dispose of some eight to 10 bags of personal papers, which were shredded on April 4, 2014. The report also details how the SIM card in Commissioner Callinan's mobile phone was removed.

Irish Independent

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