Garda phone tapping timeline

Controversy originates with Gsoc investigation into arrest and assault of 39-year-old man in 2010

January 29th, 2010 : Anthony Holness (39) is arrested at New Street in Waterford.

February 8th, 2010: Mr Holness makes a complaint at Waterford Garda Station. The complaint is forwarded to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

February 9th, 2010: The referral is received by GSOC. The referral, made by a garda superintendent in Waterford, relates to the arrest and detention of Anthony Holness. During the course of his arrest Anthony Holness suffered injuries that appeared to the Garda Commissioner to indicate that the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in serious harm to Anthony Holness. The Ombudsman Commission directs an investigation. The DPP, having considered a report furnished by the Ombudsman Commission directs that four members of the Garda Síochána be charged with criminal offences

July 12th, 2011: The trial of Sgt Alan Kissane, Sgt Martha McEnery, Garda Daniel Hickey, Garda John Burke commences at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court. Sgt Alan Kissane is found not guilty. Garda Daniel Hickey is found guilty of assault causing harm. Garda John Burke is found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempting to impede the apprehension or prosecution of a person believed to be guilty of an arrestable offence. Jury finds Sgt Martha McEnery guilty of assault on Anthony Holness contrary to section 2 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.


November 8th, 2011: Gardaí who were found guilty are sentenced at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court. Daniel Hickey: 3 years custodial sentence, 18 months suspended; Sgt Martha McEnery: 4 months custodial sentence suspended on condition she entered a bond for €200 to keep the peace; John Burke: 2-year custodial sentence, 12 months suspended.

November 15th, 2012 : Sgt Martha McEnery and Garda John Burke appeal their conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal. Both appeals are rejected.

June 16th, 2013: GSOC report into the arrest of Anthony Holness is published. It made the following reference to the recording of phone calls at Waterford Garda Station.

“During the course of the trial the lawfulness or otherwise of the Garda Síochána at Waterford Garda Station recording incoming and outgoing calls on their public lines, and the admission of the evidence obtained during the use of such practices became the subject of protracted legal argument.

“On the 29th of January 2010, shortly after the arrest of Mr Holness, there was telephone communication between certain of the accused. These calls were recorded on the Garda Síochána recording system and a recording was provided to GSOC. This recording was offered in evidence by the DPP.

“Objections were raised by the Defence. The court held that the practice engaged in by the gardaí at Waterford Garda Station of recording all incoming and outgoing calls on a particular phone line was in breach of the relevant statute on the recording of telephone communications, which requires that at least one of the parties to a phone call has consented to its being recorded. This requirement was deemed to have not been met on this occasion. The court ruled that the evidence obtained in those calls was inadmissible.

“On consideration of the ruling of the court the Garda Commissioner may wish to re-evaluate his practice regarding the recording of such calls and the consents required if it is to be permissible to use such recordings in evidence.”

March 10th, 2014: Garda Commissioner sent a letter by courier to a senior official in the Department of Justice about the recording of incoming and outgoing calls at Garda stations

March 23rd, 2014: Enda Kenny says he was informed about the taping of calls at 6pm by Attorney General Marie Whelan

March 24th, 2014: Senior official sent to meet Garda Commissioner to convey Taoiseach's concerns over the recording of calls.

March 25th, 2014: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan resigns, citing family reasons

March 25th, 2014:Alan Shatter says he received at "approximately 12.40pm" on this date a letter sent by the Mr Callinan on the scale of taping of phone calls. *

March 25th, 2014: Cabinet told of widespread taping of calls into and out of Garda stations with up to 2,500 tapes involved.

March 25th, 2014: Kenny tells Dáil practice of taping calls dated back to 1980s.

March 26th, 2014: Minister for Justice Alan Shatter issues a statement to the Dáil saying he was not briefed on this matter until approximately 6pm on Monday 24th March 2014 in the Department of Justice and, as previously stated, was first furnished with the letter from the Garda Commissioner of 10th March 2014 on Tuesday of this week at approximately 12.40pm.

* This article was edited on March 27th, 2014

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.