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Curtain falls on a 41-year career made by tackling capital's toughest crooks

MARTIN Callinan – the former Garda Commissioner – came to hold the highest position in the force following a 41-year career.

His time working for the State included spells in Waterford and Mayo, but it was in a Dublin city clampdown on organised crime that he rose to prominence.

The son of a Galway man, Martin Callinan was born and grew up in Dublin where he still lives with his wife and children.

He joined the Garda Siochana in 1973 and by 1986 he was a sergeant of high-regard.

Spells in Cabra and Blanchardstown on the capital's northside gave Callinan an ideal launch pad for tackling some of the country's most notorious and ruthless criminals.


When he was subsequently appointed to the Central Detective Unit, he was one of the key officers in the 24-hour round-the-clock surveillance of Martin 'The General' Cahill, wich was considered a huge success by security sources.

Following Cahill's murder, Callinan was made a superintendent and then a chief superintendent by 2001.

His rise is credited largely to his relationship with former commissioner Noel Conroy, who oversaw his ascension to assistant commissioner in 2005.

Two years later he was number two to the top seat of one of the most powerful agencies in the State.

He had been due to retire in August of last year but opted to extend his time at the head of the force until 2015 after replacing outgoing commissioner Fachtna Murphy in 2010.

Former commissioner Callinan holds a BA in Police Management and undertook management training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, USA, where he also completed the National Executive Institute programme, designed for chiefs of police worldwide.

But in recent years his time at the top has been dogged by scandal and speculation, with the recent Smithwick Tribunal findings and the revelation that a drug unit garda was starring in RTE drama Love/Hate.

However, it was the ongoing penalty points quashing and the GSOC spying affair which have dominated the headlines and the airwaves concerning his post in recent months.