New commissioner must be from outside State - Wallace

Clare Daly says Callinan had ‘lost credibility’ with members of force

 Independent TD Mick Wallace outside Leinster House this morning. Speaking to The Irish Times, he  said there were “a number” of people in senior positions in the Garda who are “unfit” for duty and that the new commissioner should come from outside the jurisdiction.  Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Independent TD Mick Wallace outside Leinster House this morning. Speaking to The Irish Times, he said there were “a number” of people in senior positions in the Garda who are “unfit” for duty and that the new commissioner should come from outside the jurisdiction. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tue, Mar 25, 2014, 15:19

Independent TD Clare Daly, who first raised the penalty points controversy in the Dáil, has said Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had “lost a huge amount credibility” with members of the Garda as well as the public.

Mr Callinan announced his resignation as Garda Commissioner this morning.

“We’ve made no secret of the fact his position had become absolutely untenable,” said Ms Daly. “He had to go. He had lost a huge amount of credibility with the public and, in our experience, increasingly with the members of An Garda Síochána who weren’t happy with the way in which he has handled recent matters. I think if it was in any other country he would have gone long ago.”

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She said the move “really puts the pressure back on Mr Shatter” and reiterated calls for him to resign. “They were always a double act – everything they did involved the two of them – I don’t think the situations would have developed in the manner in which they did had that relationship not existed between the two. Now that one of them is gone, it puts the pressure very much on Minister Shatter.

“He’s proven to be unfit for office in relation to this situation which has gone on for a long time. It’s his handling of not just the penalty points issue but of a whole number of other cases as well.”

Asked whether political pressure may have had anything to do with Mr Callinan’s decision, she said she would be “surprised if behind the scenes he wasn’t being spoken to”.

“It’s regrettable they felt they couldn’t carry out that debate in public because it should have been. But while they were putting on that front, were they behind the scenes putting him under pressure? You’d imagine that they would be.

“There’s a huge disconnect between what the Government has been saying – including the very weak gestures by the Labour Party – and the consciousness of ordinary people. We’ve been overwhelmed in the last two weeks in particular at the scale of discussion on these issues and the deep rooted nature of the disgust at the manner in which the commissioner has conducted himself – and the minister in fact.

“That’s beyond the normal people who would be giving out – across the board – from professional people, to ordinary workers, to dogs on the street, everyone has been talking about this and have been looking for action. Maybe he was more in tune with that than the Government or maybe they were talking to him behind the scenes. I don’t know.”