Tanaiste defends Taoiseach and AG in Callinan controversy

Ministers round on Fianna Fáil leader over resignation of former Garda Commissioner

 Tánaiste Joan Burton: “It is also clear from the report that Mr Callinan dealt with the circumstances of the retirement in an extremely dignified fashion.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Tánaiste Joan Burton: “It is also clear from the report that Mr Callinan dealt with the circumstances of the retirement in an extremely dignified fashion.” Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton expressed confidence in the two central political figures in the Callinan resignation controversy.

“I have full confidence in the Taoiseach,’’ she said. “And I have full confidence in the Attorney General, who was central to ensuring that the concerns around the force would be investigated fully and appropriately.’’

She said the Fennelly report had noted, and she herself had mentioned, that a number of other events had occurred in the period proceeding Mr Callinan’s retirement, including the treatment of whistleblowers.

“The report makes clear that the ultimate decision to retire lay with the then commissioner and that there was no directive issued by the Taoiseach to Mr Callinan, ’’ she added.

Dignified

“It is also clear from the report that Mr Callinan dealt with the circumstances of the retirement in an extremely dignified fashion.’’

Ms Burton said it was clear the Attorney General did her job, firstly by ensuring potentially vital evidence in a matter of serious public concern was not destroyed and, secondly, by bringing her concerns, rightly, to the Taoiseach for onward submission to the Government.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said Fianna Fáil had had the audacity to table a motion of no confidence, despite having brought the country to within an inch of its life five years ago.

“The current Fianna Fail leader was a member of that government but on that occasion he chose to save his political career, rather than the country, by jumping from that sinking ship,’’ he added.

“That he would bring a confidence motion in this Taoiseach is the finest exercise in brass neckery I have come across in quite some time.’’

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney accused Mr Martin of “contrived outrage’’ and said he was “trying to rewrite a report that has answered the question’’.