Wednesday 26 October 2016

Timeline: How the garda taping controversy unfolded

Published 30/03/2014 | 02:30

Ian Bailey at the High Court in Dublin earlier this year
Ian Bailey at the High Court in Dublin earlier this year

June 2013:

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The Garda Ombudsman Commission publishes report on the assault of Anthony Holness in Waterford. Report mentions possible "breach of the relevant statute" on the recording of telephone calls in Waterford Garda station.

Published online and given to complainant, gardai involved, Garda Commissioner and emailed to media organisations. The Justice Department did not receive the report.

October 2013:

Garda management become aware of the widespread recording of phone calls in garda stations.

11 November:

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan discusses recording of phone calls with Attorney General's office (but not necessarily with the AG) and a garda working group is established to deal with the issue.

25 November:

The High Court instructs gardai to give records of phone calls to Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas, below, as part of their separate civil actions against the State.

27 November:

The Garda Commissioner ends the practice of routinely recording non-emergency phone calls in garda stations.

28 February:

Department of Justice advised by the Garda Siochana that conversations involving gardai in a particular station had come to light as part of the discovery process in civil proceedings.

10 March:

The Garda Commissioner sent a letter to Justice Department Secretary General informing him of widespread recording of phone calls in garda stations dating back to the Eighties, and requesting that this be brought to the attention of the minister.

11 March:

Follow-up meeting between the Garda Commissioner, Justice Department officials and officials from Attorney General's office and the Chief State Solicitor's Office is held. From 10 March onwards:The letter is given to the assistant secretary in the Justice Department's Garda Division where it is "worked on" by officials for the following weeks.

15 – 20 March:

Alan Shatter travels to Mexico for his St Patrick's Day state visit.

Week beginning 17 March:

Ongoing discussions between Justice officials and the Garda Commissioner about issues relating to the penalty points controversy. Towards the end of the week, discussion were about the possibility of Mr Callinan making a further statement on the controversy, the Justice Department has claimed.

It has been reported that Mr Callinan considered withdrawing his "disgusting" remarks about garda whistleblowers but was told to hold off by Justice Department officials.

A Justice spokesman said: "There was no question of the department suggesting that this possibility be ruled out." Shatter tells Dail he "cannot recall whether or not" he spoke with Mr Callinan and "cannot say that for definite".

19 and 20 March:

Garda headquarters copied the department with correspondence between the Garda Siochana and both the office of the Attorney General and the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

21 March:

Mr Shatter returns from Mexico state visit.

Sunday 23 March:

Taoiseach calls Attorney General Maire Whelan, below, who asks to speak with him in person about a matter of importance.

At 6pm in Government Buildings, the Attorney General briefs Mr Kenny on the implications of the recording of phone calls in garda stations. The Taoiseach's secretary general Martin Fraser also attends. They agree to get a second opinion from an external legal expert.

Monday 24 March:

Contacts continue between the Taoiseach's office and the Attorney General's office.

Justice Department said Mr Shatter received "further legal correspondence" during the day.

Taoiseach, Mr Fraser and Mr Shatter meet to discuss the recordings. Justice Department secretary general Brian Purcell joins them later.

Mr Shatter, below, told the Dail Mr Purcell was "asked to discuss matters with the Garda Commissioner and he did so that evening". It has been claimed Mr Callinan was told of disquiet among cabinet members.

Tuesday 25 March:


Garda Commissioner informs the Justice Department he intends to retire.


Cabinet meeting is held where ministers are briefed on controversy in the absence of the Attorney General.


The time Mr Shatter claims the letter was first 'produced' to him.


Government announces Commission of Inquiry into taping of phone calls in Garda stations.


Sunday Independent

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