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Fennelly Commission: Secretary General’s Visit Caused Retirement

The awaited November 2014 Fennelly Commission’s report has just been published this evening. The Commission was charged with investigating matters of public concern which had been brought to the attention of the current Government.

These matters of public concern included:-
(A) Recording of non-999 telephone calls in certain Garda Stations over a 30 year period.
(B) Recordings to and from Bandon Garda Station which might indicate unlawful or improper conduct by Gardaí in investigations into the death of the dreadful murder of M/s Sophia Toscan Du Plantier in 1996.
(C) Investigate and report on the furnishing to the Minister for Justice of a letter dated March 10th 2013, sent by the then Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan, to the Secretary General of the Dept. of Justice & Equality.
(D) Investigate and report on the sequence of events leading up to the sudden and unexpected retirement of Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan on March 24th 2014.

However it is the investigation and report on the sequence of events which lead up to the sudden and unexpected retirement of Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan on March 24th 2014, which has gained the most attention from our national press.

GardaFrom this published report we learn that Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan told the Fennelly Commission that the “direct cause of his decision to retire, was the visit from Mr Purcell, (Latter Secretary General of the Department of Justice and who visited Commissioner’s Home at 11.00pm) and the message conveyed by the Taoiseach during that visit”.

The former commissioner had expressed a wish to retire in three months, however the Taoiseach had then considered the issue overnight and later informed the Garda Commissioner that his retirement would have to take place with “immediate effect”;  maintaining it was Garda Commissioner Callinan’s own personal decision.

The Commission has stated in this report “it must add” the decision to retire “cannot be seen in complete isolation from other contemporary events concerning An Garda Siochana and the Commissioner personally”.

However An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has stated that the then charge made against him; that he sacked former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, now “doesn’t stand up”. “The report is clear and unambiguous in its findings that not only was there no dismissal or sacking of the Garda Commissioner, it was never even mentioned at the meeting,” Mr Kenny stated.

This newly published report has now concluded that the visit by the then Secretary General, Mr Brian Purcell, to the home of Garda Commissioner Mr Martin Callinan, was the immediate catalyst for his decision to retire.

Readers are invited to read sections 35.17 (Page 220) to 35.22 (Page 221) of this Fennelly Commission Report, which can be viewed in its entirety here at http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/News/Taoiseach’s_Press_Releases/Interim_report_of_the_Fennelly_Commission.pdf.

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