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Fennelly Commission report: Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Republic's Attorney General Máire Whelan facing no confidence votes

Published 02/09/2015

Much-anticipated Fennelly Commission report is published - key issue is whether Taoiseach had a role in forcing out former Garda Commissioner
Much-anticipated Fennelly Commission report is published - key issue is whether Taoiseach had a role in forcing out former Garda Commissioner

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Republic's Attorney General Máire Whelan are facing votes of no confidence following the publication of the Fennelly report.

Major questions have been raised about the handling by both senior Government figures of the garda tapes controversy and the events that led to the departure of Martin Callinan.

Mr Kenny has been called on to resign after Mr Justice Nial Fennelly found that his decision to dispatch the General Secretary of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell to Mr Callinan’s home was the “immediate catalyst” for his decision to retire.

Mr Fennelly also criticised the Attorney General, who is a Labour Party appointee.

She did not contact the then justice minister Alan Shatter over the emergence of the garda tapes partly because of remarks he had made in the public domain about garda whistleblowers.

It also emerged that Ms Whelan changed her stance on the seriousness of the garda tapes issue in later evidence.

Earlier today, it emerged that the Opposition will table motions of no confidence in both Mr Kenny and Ms Whelan. The decision to table a motion of no confidence in Ms Whelan was tabled by Sinn Féin – however senior Coalition figures have raised doubt over whether it is within the remit of the Dáil to debate such a motion.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the Taoiseach should facilitate such a debate.

"If he is, as he claims, absolutely confident that he is vindicated in this report well then he should demonstrate that confidence by re-calling the Dáil, considering our motion and allowing TD's, the elected representatives of the people, to debate and to examine all the details of that report," she added.

A searchable PDF of the report is available here

Fennelly Commission Report findings:

  • As a matter of probability, Martin Callinan did not report the recording of garda tapes to the Secretary General of the dept Brian Purcell prior to 22 Nov 2013, as required
     
  • As a matter of probability, Callinan DID inform Brian Purcell of taped calls on a date after Nov 22
     
  • On garda tapes, Fennelly Commission was 'not' convinced Callinan conveyed the garda tapes to Purcell with any "sense of the importance of the matter"
     
  • It was an error of judgement of Callinan to postpone a written report on the garda tapes
     
  • Callinan sent a letter to Purcell on March 14 2014 which showed him 'unquestionably' complied with his obligations
     
  • Brian Purcell should have shown the March 14 letter to the minister - but he delayed it for 2 weeks for 'personal reasons'
     
  • Then Minister Shatter remained unaware of letter detailing garda tapes until evening of March 24
     
  • No proper communication between gardai and Department of Justice because Garda Commissioner was not properly informed by his management of garda tapes
     
  • Crucial meeting at Commissioners house between Callinan and Brian Purcell took place after 10:15pm, Fennelly finds
     
  • Callinan was "shocked" at late call by Purcell. "He could not understand why Mr Purcell was attending at his house at all" as he had already reported tapes to AG's office
     
  • "The immediate and direct cause of his decision to retire was the visit from Mr Purcell, and the message conveyed from the Taoiseach during that visit."
     
  • Commission also gives a strong finding that the Commissioner was not dismissed or removed from office - as has been claimed by the Opposition

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