Wednesday 17 January 2018

Kenny: Garda recordings could impact tribunals

CALLING FOR CALM: Taoiseach Enda Kenny is keen to defuse
growing tension in the Coalition over the whistleblower row
CALLING FOR CALM: Taoiseach Enda Kenny is keen to defuse growing tension in the Coalition over the whistleblower row

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

THE potentially explosive garda recordings could have implications for tribunals, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has revealed.

In a fresh twist in the ongoing controversy, Mr Kenny today indicated that the impact of almost 2,500 tapes may extend beyond civil and criminal court cases.

The Taoiseach said that defence lawyers in particular are examining the potential consequences of the tapes – which date back to the 1980s.

And he pointed to one case which has already appeared in front of the courts, adding that the significance of the recent revelations justifies the government’s decision to set up the Commission of an Investigation.

But the admission by the Taoiseach that the recordings from inside garda stations could impact on the findings of tribunals adds a fresh dimension to the growing scandal.

Speaking in Kildare today, Mr Kenny said: "I don’t know the scale of the actual contents that are on those tapes but we’re concerned about it. It’s a serious issue. Where in some cases court cases have been dealt with, others reaching up as far as tribunals may have implications for some of the findings here.”

The Special Criminal Court is due to be informed today whether gardaí recorded the phone calls of two IRA membership suspects.

Limerick men Thomas McMahon of Ros Fearna, Murroe and his co-accused Noel Noonan are the first court cases affected by recent revelations.

The two men were due to stand trial for IRA membership at the Special Criminal Court yesterday morning.

But due to the recent revelations about the taping of phone calls at garda stations, the case did not begin.

The court heard Thomas McMahon and Noel Noonan consulted with their solicitors over the phone prior to being interviewed by gardaí.

The defence wants the prosecution to disclose whether the phone conversations were conducted in private.

None of the gardaí in court could address the prosecution's concerns. Mr Justice Paul Butler adjourned the case until today to allow inquiries to be made as to whether the defendants' calls were recorded.

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