Gilmore sought reassurances from AG on phone taping

Tánaiste spoke to Máire Whelan after he was informed of Garda recordings controversy

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: was first informed about the taping controversy at his weekly pre-Cabinet meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Tuesday morning. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: was first informed about the taping controversy at his weekly pre-Cabinet meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny on Tuesday morning. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 06:41

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore sought his own reassurances from Attorney General Máire Whelan on the Garda recordings controversy which emerged this week.

Mr Gilmore was initially told about the issue by Taoiseach Enda Kenny before last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting at which a decision was taken to establish a commission of investigation into the practice of recording calls at Garda stations.

Mr Kenny was briefed by the Attorney General last Sunday, with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter informed on Monday.

Mr Gilmore was first informed at his weekly pre-Cabinet meeting with Mr Kenny on Tuesday morning, but sources said he subsequently spoke to Ms Whelan himself.


Serious issue
However, it was stressed nothing emerged which changed the view at the top of the Labour Party this was a serious issue. “You would have heard otherwise,” a source said.

Sources also said a preference is emerging within Government for the appointment of a civilian or someone from outside Ireland as the new Garda commissioner, replacing Martin Callinan who resigned this week. Amid Opposition claims that Mr Callinan was sacked, Mr Kenny yesterday said: “The Garda commissioner made his own decision. The only people I can dismiss from office are Ministers, with the consent of the Government or Ministers of State.”

A Government statement released earlier this week said “arrangements will be put in place for an open competition for a permanent appointment to the post of Garda Commissioner as soon as is practicable”.

Sources claimed it is an “open competition for a reason”. While the appointment is expected to be handled through a public appointments process, the Cabinet will have to approve a candidate proposed by the Minister for Justice.


No confidence motion
Fianna Fáil has tabled a motion of no confidence in Mr Shatter, and this will be taken in the Dáil next week, with party leader Micheál Martin criticising his attitude and approach to Garda controversies.

However, Government sources dismissed the motion, and claimed it would draw a line under the controversy by uniting the Coalition.

Meanwhile, the body representing rank and file gardaí said members were aware of recording but surprised by its extent.