Monday 21 May 2018

No notes were taken during 'crucial and decisive' four-hour meeting

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly
Mr Justice Nial Fennelly
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

No notes were taken at a meeting in Government Buildings that Mr Justice Nial Fennelly described as "crucial and decisive".

It was during this meeting on the night of March 24 that a decision was taken to dispatch Brian Purcell to the home of the then Garda Commissioner to convey the concern of the Government over the garda tapes.

But in an extraordinary finding, Mr Justice Fennelly reported that not a single note or record was taken of this unprecedented meeting, which lasted four hours.

The lack of notes is of particular concern to Mr Justice Fennelly because some of those attending differ "sharply" on some of the most crucial points, most notably the "content of the message" Mr Purcell was due to convey to Martin Callinan.

"No note or record, of any kind, was made of what Mr Purcell was asked to say to the commissioner," the commission found.

"It seems to the commission to be beyond argument that good administration would require that a proper record be kept of such an important decision," it adds.

Without doubt, this is a finding that prompted an admission by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin yesterday that the report, once published, would highlight "communication issues" within the Government.

Failure to record a meeting of such significance raises serious questions for Mr Kenny given his criticism of the previous government in relation to note taking.

Mr Kenny previously claimed in the Dáil that there was no records relating to the crucial meetings on the night of the bank guarantee. He went as far as to claim that the records were "shredded or disposed of".

"Nobody in the country knows what was said, and there is no file in the Department of the Taoiseach. It is either shredded or has been disposed of, dispatched of, in other words, the government has no evidence of the discussion that took place," Mr Kenny said in the Dáil.

But in December, Mr Kenny withdrew his remarks after it emerged documentation did exist.

Irish Independent

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