Belfast Telegraph

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan resigns

The Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has stepped down over an ongoing whistleblower controversy.

A garda spokesperson told this morning that Mr Callinan is to step down "with immediate effect".


The move has sent shockwaves through government circles and took most ministers by surprise.


It's understood that the resignation was communicated to Justice Minister Alan Shatter this morning.


It is understood that Mr Callinan felt that his family was coming under huge pressure amid the criticism aimed at him, and this was a significant factor in his decision to resign.


Whistleblower John Wilson has said he takes ‘no pleasure’ in the shock move but that the Commissioner's position was untenable.


“Martin Callinan has done this country some service throughout his long career. But his position had become untenable and his decision to resign was the correct one,” Mr Wilson said.


But Independent TD Mick Wallace says he was "not shocked" by the move.


"I suppose the big question now is whether Minister Shatter can stay in place," he said on RTE Radio, immediately turning to the spotlight on the justice minister.


He said Mr Shatter was a "disaster" in the whole area of policing.


The Cabinet is currently in talks about the ongoing controversy over the remark Mr Callinan made about the actions of garda whistleblowers.


He described their actions as "disgusting”.


The Irish Independent revealed earlier this morning that Taoiseach Enda Kenny told two of his warring ministers to meet, in a bid to pull the party together following the highly damaging whistleblower controversy.


Mr Shatter and Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar held a scheduled meeting in private yesterday, at the behest of Mr Kenny.


The Taoiseach also met Mr Varadkar himself – just days after the Transport Minister sent shockwaves through cabinet by calling on the Commissioner to withdraw his controversial remarks about the two whistleblowers.


Fine Gael sources say the meetings were necessary to "calm tensions" sparked by Mr Varadkar's speech at a Road Safety conference last Thursday.


Two months ago, on 23 January, Mr Callinan, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and described the actions of the two whistleblowers Sergeant Maurice McCabe and retired garda John Wilson as “disgusting”.


Following the publication of the Garda Inspectorate report on the penalty points system, Mr Varadkar and a number of Labour ministers had called on Mr Callinan to withdraw the remarks.


Garda sources today described the news as "shocking", adding that Mr Callinan was very popular within the force.

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