Rabbitte’s dark hints throw new light on mystery
Miriam Lord discusses the Minister for Communications and the sources close to the ears the former Garda commissioner.
Pat Rabbitte: ‘I would strongly counsel, don’t draw any naive conclusions about anything in this particular regard’
Sources close to the ears of the former Garda commissioner must have been sweating profusely yesterday morning.
Why? Because it’s highly likely that Martin Callinan’s lugs were on fire.
Positively blazing, one expects, thanks to the things Pat Rabbitte was insinuating on the radio about senior Garda officers.
The heavy hints emanating from the Minister for Communications on Newstalk’s Breakfast Show explain in some part why the Taoiseach continued to talk in riddles during Leaders’ Questions about the circumstances surrounding the disposal of the commissioner.
The first one to be sacked in 30 years, as Micheál Martin helpfully pointed out.
Pat was on a panel discussing political events – something of a comedown for a man holding the exalted rank of Government Minister. Ministers usually get a slot all to themselves, due to their level of importance. But Rabbitte seemed very keen to unburden himself of certain views, no matter what the studio setting.
In the course of a chat with presenters Ivan Yates and Shane Coleman, the subject turned to the lead story in yesterday’s Irish Times . It said the Government rushed to establish a Commission of Inquiry because of fears that someone high up in the police force was trying to destroy recordings of phone calls to and from Garda stations.
Surely not, suggested Ivan. Didn’t Martin Callinan go to the data commissioner and contact the Attorney General’s office to see what he should do with the tapes? There is no evidence that anybody in the senior echelons wanted to destroy them.
“Well,” replied Pat, using his “I’m glad you asked me that question” tone of voice.
“I do know about that, Ivan. That’s the good news. And the bad news is, I’m not going to tell you.”
But the Minister, who sounded like he was bursting to tell all, did his best to convey the gist anyway.
“But it’s going to come out,” he darkly predicted. “And I would strongly counsel, don’t draw any naive conclusions about anything in this particular regard.”
At this point, Sources Close to the Ears of the Former Commissioner probably fainted.
Ivan wasn’t far behind them. “But that’s Earth-shaking – if gardaí were going to destroy these tapes . . .”
Whereupon Rabbitte went all coy.
“I’m not confirming or denying that. Eh, I happen to know, eh, what happened . . .”
Shane pressed him: “But there is evidence that you have been made aware of?”
Pat went off on a tangent. “Don’t forget the nonsense that was put about for a week now about the Garda commissioner meeting the Attorney General – which never happened – on the 11th of November, 2013 . . .”
Shane hauled him back.
“You’re aware of evidence – I know you can’t disclose that evidence, but evidence has been made available to the Cabinet. That’s the clear inference of what you are saying.”
Oh, God, not at all. Where did he get impression?
“No, I’m not confirming or denying anything.”
Shane: “You’re saying, don’t jump to conclusions – we know stuff and it will come out.”
The Minister repeated his advice about not making hasty judgments until the Commission of Inquiry reports.
Ivan changed tack. Did Pat think yesterday’s Irish Times story was correct?