Thursday 19 April 2018

Committee may ask Enda Kenny to appear over Martin Callinan move

Alan Shatter and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Alan Shatter and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

Philip Ryan and Sam Griffin

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny could be invited to appear at a Dail committee over the resignation of the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Members of the Oireachtas Justice Committee also discussed hauling in former Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Department of Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser to discuss the controversial circumstances of the resignation.

But the Government has a majority on the committee, so the Fine Gael and Labour Party TDs may decide against calling in the Taoiseach.

Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell is due to appear before the committee after the local and European elections.

However, it is not yet clear if he will answer questions about his contacts with the commissioner in the run-up to his departure. The committee has signalled he will be questioned on a variety of issues, including the administration of the department and the garda taping scandal.

A decision to appeal the Data Protection Commissioner's (DPC) ruling that Mr Shatter broke the law is no longer up to Mr Shatter following his resignation.

DPC Billy Hawkes last week ruled Mr Shatter was in breach of data protection laws when he claimed that Independent TD Mick Wallace had been cautioned by gardai for using a mobile phone while driving.

Mr Shatter resigned one day after the commissioner's decision was announced but had already indicated he would appeal the decision.

However, the Irish Independent has learned the right to appeal is no longer with Mr Shatter. Instead, it's up to the current office holder – Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Mr Hawkes told the Irish Independent: "The decision was against the minister in his official capacity. There's a period of 21 days to launch an appeal to the circuit court.

"The previous minister had said he would appeal but given the particular circumstance I don't know. It's up to the new minister."

A spokesperson for the Office of the DPC last night confirmed no formal appeal application has yet been received by the Department of Justice.

Irish Independent

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