herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Purcell may be entitled to keep €185k wage - Leo

MINISTER for Health Leo Varadkar has said the former Department of Justice secretary general may keep his €185,000 salary despite standing aside from his senior position.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Varadkar said he has yet to read the highly-critical report into the "closed and unnecessarily secretive culture" in the Justice Department, but said that he believes that Brian Purcell may maintain his salary, due to pre-negotiated terms.

"I imagine that Mr Purcell has contractual rights and so on, and it may relate to that, but really it is a matter for Minister Fitzgerald to comment on rather than me."

The recruitment for a new Garda Commissioner has finally begun as the controversy over the departure of the previous incumbent continues to rage.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been forced to deny Taoiseach Enda Kenny sacked former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

"He didn't fire him. Martin Callinan resigned," she said.

Mr Callinan actually retired in the wake of the emergence of the taping of phone conversations in garda stations.

But his retirement came about after he was visited by outgoing Department of Justice secretary general Brian Purcell, who was ordered to go to speak to the Garda Chief by Mr Kenny.

Following the publication of a review of the Department of Justice, Mr Purcell is now to stand aside and move to another job in the public sector.

Mr Kenny is facing calls to appear before the Oireachtas justice committee to answer questions about the circumstances around Mr Callinan's departure.

Committee

But Health Minister Leo Varadkar said he did not think it would be necessary for Mr Kenny to appear before the committee because the issue was being examined by an inquiry.

"I don't think it is necessary. We have a Commission of Inquiry under Justice Fennelly and I think he should be allowed to do his work," he said.

The minister also defended the Government stance of allowing Mr Purcell to retain his salary of €185,000 and move to a new post in the public sector.

"I haven't read the report yet, but I really don't want to comment on a report that I haven't read, I hope to get a chance to read it at the weekend, with a lot of other reading I have to do over the next few weeks," he said.

The Government is now moving towards the appointment of a new Garda Commissioner.

The position will be filled by an open recruitment process, with applicants expected to come from inside and outside the force.

Interim Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan replaced Mr Callinan after his retirement.

The appointment of the new Garda Commissioner is expected to be made by the end of the year. Ms Fitzgerald said the appointment of the new Commissioner was part of a wider process of "reform and renewal" relating to the Garda Siochana, which will also include the establishment of a police authority.

"As the Government has previously announced, the current vacancy in the post of Garda Commissioner is to be filled through an open competition.

Global

"I am very pleased that the Public Appointments Service, which the Government has asked to independently manage the competition, is today starting that process by seeking proposals from executive search firms to conduct a global executive search campaign to supplement an advertised recruitment process," she said.

It is not yet known where Mr Purcell will be working next.

Previously, while working as a higher executive officers in the Department of Social Welfare, he took the brave step of signing the paperwork stopping weekly dole payments of £92 to
notorious Dublin gangster, the late Martin 'The General' 
Cahill.

As a result, Mr Purcell was later abducted from his Dublin home by four hooded men and shot twice by Cahill.

hnews@herald.ie

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