Friday 19 January 2018

Resignation of garda chief 'must be probed'

Minister of State for Justice and special responsibility for equality and innovation: David Stanton
Minister of State for Justice and special responsibility for equality and innovation: David Stanton

Daniel McConnell, Political Correspondent

THE Dail Justice Committee wants all events surrounding the resignation of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, and the mishandling of documentation in the Department of Justice, to form part of the new Commission of Inquiry.

At a private meeting last night, the committee agreed that the Commission, to be headed by Supreme Court judge Nial Fennelly, must include all events up until last Tuesday.

The Irish Independent has learned that the committee is recommending the Commission of Inquiry must also examine the "substantive content" of the secretly recorded tapes in garda stations.

The committee was "almost unanimous" that the Commission should examine the timeline of events around how Justice Minister Alan Shatter was not informed of a letter from Mr Callinan, sent on March 10, for more than two weeks.

But it is the committee's demand that the events surrounding Mr Callinan's resignation on March 25 be examined that is likely to meet most resistance from the Government.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, David Stanton, chairman of the Justice Committee, said: "The substantive issue of the tapes must be examined, but so should the poor handling of documents in the department and the resignation of Martin Callinan."

Calls from committee member Finian McGrath for Mr Shatter, his Secretary General Brian Purcell and Mr Callinan to be hauled in immediately were rejected.

The committee said it would await the publication of the terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry before making any decision as to who they would call in.

Meanwhile, Mr Shatter ordered an "urgent investigation" into all the circumstances surrounding the recording of phone conversations between prisoners and their solicitors.

Mr Shatter has asked the Inspector of Prisons to carry out his investigation and is to "submit his report to me as soon as possible".

Irish Independent

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