Apologise to Callinan and consider your own position, Opposition tells Taoiseach
THE Opposition says Taoiseach Enda Kenny should apologise to the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and should consider his own position in the wake of the publication of the Fennelly report.
However, the Taoiseach said the report showed Mr Callinan had chosen to retire and had not been forced out.
"I have consistently rejected claims by some in Opposition that I either sacked or sought to sack the former Commissioner," Mr Kenny said last night.
"I welcome the report's clear and unambiguous finding that the question of removing the former Commissioner from his position was not even discussed."
He added that the report confirmed he had "no intention of putting pressure on the former Commissioner to retire".
Mr Kenny, who said he had defended the commissioner as the force was "engulfed in a series of controversies", also noted the report had found serious communication failures within State institutions and said these would have to be acted upon.
However the Opposition and civil liberty groups said the report shows Mr Callinan was effectively forced out when the Taoiseach ordered the secretary general at the Department of Justice to call to his house the night before the Cabinet met to discuss the secret recording of phone calls at garda stations.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said it was "an extraordinary set of circumstances" that led to Martin Callinan stepping down.
"It's very clear from the report that the Commissioner is completely exonerated in terms of how he responded to this issue and he has been grievously wronged in my view," Mr Martin said.
He said the Taoiseach's decision to send the secretary general to Mr Callinan's home "left him with no alternative" but to step down.
He added: "The Taoiseach's position in relation to the report is neither credible nor tenable" and called for an apology from Mr Kenny for the former commissioner.
Socialist TD Clare Daly said the explanation that the commissioner stepped down was "nonsense" and "a fairytale".
"What we've had is an exercise in spin," she said.
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who later resigned from his position, welcomed the report.
He said it showed he had no knowledge of the phone recordings prior to Mr Callinan's retirement, "contrary to allegations made by members of the Opposition".
Mr Shatter said Mr Fennelly's report showed there needed to be greater communication between individuals in Government.
The Dublin South TD added that public servants should always furnish significant documents to the responsible minister without delay.
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties said the report showed there was a real need for a "root and branch reform" of the management, delivery and oversight of Garda policy.