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Sunday 17 November 2019

Callinan's office examines developer claims on charity

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan (centre). Photo: Caroline Quinn
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan (centre). Photo: Caroline Quinn

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

THE Garda Commissioner is examining whether a letter from a property developer making allegations connected to Rehab should be forwarded to a garda specialist investigations unit.

A garda spokesman said the office of Martin Callinan, inset, was doing a "scoping exercise" on the claims before deciding its next move.

The explosive letter, written by Wicklow businessman John Kelly, was originally sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

However, it deemed the contents of the correspondence so serious that it forwarded it to the gardai on Thursday.

A garda spokesman indicated that the initial examination of the contents of the letter is likely to take at least a week.

If the matters raised in the letter are deemed to require further investigation, the letter will then be forwarded to the specialist unit.

The unit would then investigate if any criminality had occurred.

At a hearing of the PAC on Thursday, committee chairman John McGuinness said the allegations in the letter "could involve criminal wrongdoing".

He said the letter contained "a number of serious allegations against individuals who have or had associations with the Rehab Group".

In a statement last night, Rehab criticised Mr McGuinness for disclosing the existence of the letter during a public hearing.

"That the chairman of PAC would comment publicly in this way on the allegations said to have been made, without having first given those persons who are said to be the subject of the allegations an opportunity to see the allegations, and to respond to them, is grossly unfair," the statement said.

The statement said various allegations had been put to Rehab by the media, all of which they considered to be "utterly false and defamatory".

"We understand that legal proceedings are presently being issued in response to the allegations made by Mr Kelly.

"The Rehab Group has no further comment to make," the statement said.

A copy of the letter has been seen by the Irish Independent, but its contents cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

Irish Independent

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