Wednesday 28 September 2016

Two careers destroyed in controversy

Paul Williams

Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30

'In the maelstrom of controversy that followed, the careers of two other men of integrity were destroyed: Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan.' Photo: Frank Mc Grath
'In the maelstrom of controversy that followed, the careers of two other men of integrity were destroyed: Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan.' Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has good reason to procrastinate and delay the official release of the O'Higgins Commission report.

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Despite being lauded for his courage and genuine motives, several of Maurice McCabe's more serious allegations have been dismissed, including all the allegations of corruption.

The publication of this comprehensive report will represent the second last chapter in this long-running saga.

What cannot be ignored is that the sense of anger, grievance and frustration felt by Mr McCabe was allowed to fester so long that it erupted to cause chaos.

And in the maelstrom of controversy that followed - nurtured and encouraged by agenda-driven politicians and media - the careers of two other men of integrity were destroyed: Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan.

The former justice minister and former commissioner have been completely vindicated in this report.

But it really is too little too late. What happened to them is manifestly unjust and unfair.

The commission found that Mr Shatter, who was the subject of an unprecedented, hate-filled campaign, did indeed take McCabe's allegations "very seriously" and his actions on the matter were "entirely reasonable and appropriate".

Then there is the case of Mr Callinan, whose relationship with the minister was again falsely painted to look like they were involved in a conspiracy against the whistleblower. We now know this could not have been further from the truth. Mr McCabe accused Mr Callinan of the worst crime imaginable for a garda commissioner - corruption.

But the commission report is equally emphatic in its vindication of this fine police officer who served his country with distinction.

"It must be stated clearly and unambiguously that there is not a scintilla of evidence to support an allegation of any type of corruption against (Mr Callinan)," it states, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Enda Kenny had a hand in the forced retirement of Mr Callinan and was partly responsible for the demise of Mr Shatter's political career.

Now these two men have had their names cleared Mr Kenny must be feeling more than a little nervous.

The Taoiseach knows that the fall-out from this report has implications for his own future, perhaps explaining the many contrived excuses for its slow publication.

Irish Independent

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