Friday 19 January 2018

How much longer can politicians hide behind their civil servants?

Mandarins have a tale to tell about how this Justice shambles came about

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Alan Shatter
EMISSARY: Brian Purcell was sent to Callinan’s home

Shane Ross

WAS Brian Purcell, secretary of the Department of Justice, emissary or executioner?

From the moment that Purcell rang Martin Callinan's front door bell last Monday night, the Garda Commissioner was a dead man walking. And Callinan must have known his fate the second he saw the face of the official in the hallway.

Historians will dispute the words exchanged between the two men behind the closed doors of Callinan's private residence on Dublin' s northside. No doubt the emissary/executioner did not pull the trap door, but the commissioner spotted its unmistakable shadow in the background. Purcell's visit conveyed one message: he came straight from the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice; the Cabinet would meet in the morning; they were far from pleased with the explosion of a new garda scandal over the telephone recordings in garda stations. Martin Callinan should, of course, now make up his own mind about the appropriate action – before dawn.

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