Report into ex-Garda commissioner Martin Callinan’s departure nearly complete

Taoiseach says inquiry also covers letter sent by Martin Callinan to Alan Shatter

The crises in An Garda Síochána in recent years are set to be reignited in the coming weeks as the investigation into how former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan departed office is almost complete.

The first light will be shed on the events last March when the interim report of the Fennelly Commission is published.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has confirmed Mr Justice Fennelly has just been granted additional time to complete his investigation into the covert taping of incoming telephone calls at Garda stations across the State for decades.

However, a report covering the events surrounding Mr Callinan's departure from office would be prepared and released "in coming months", he said. The remaining investigations would continue and the resultant final report would follow some time after. Mr Kenny said the interim report would also deal with a letter written by Mr Callinan.

The letter warned then minister for justice Alan Shatter via then secretary general of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell that the existence of the recordings had emerged during the discovery process in a high-profile legal case.

There was a near two-week delay in that letter being passed by Mr Purcell's office to Mr Shatter, both of whom have since departed those offices.

“I understand he should be in a position, in the not-too-distant future, to produce his report,” Mr Kenny said of Mr Justice Fennelly’s interim report.

Extra funding

He was speaking at an event in Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, to mark the arrival in the Garda fleet of the first batch of an additional 370 Garda cars provided for in the budget with €10 million in extra funding. The circumstances surrounding Mr Callinan’s departure from office were contentious. He was under extreme pressure about his handling of allegations by whistleblowers over the termination of motorists’ penalty points.

When it was put to Mr Kenny that he had never responded to an allegation by the Garda Representative Association that he had sacked Mr Callinan, he said the Fennelly Commission was inquiring into that.

Of the 370 new Garda vehicles, 265 are marked Garda cars, 25 marked Garda vans and 80 unmarked cars.