Govt concerned over impact of garda recordings

//Govt concerned over impact of garda recordings

Govt concerned over impact of garda recordings

Thursday 27 March 2014 13.22

Enda Kenny said former garda commissioner Martin Callinan made his own decision to resign Enda Kenny said former garda commissioner Martin Callinan made his own decision to resign

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he is concerned that the garda phone recordings may have implications for both court cases and tribunals.

Speaking in Leixlip in Co Kildare at the confirmation of a €5bn upgrade of the Intel campus, Mr Kenny said it is a very serious matter and that is why a Commission of Inquiry has been set up.

He said he does not know the scale of the contents of the recordings yet, but said defence lawyers will have a massive interest in these revelations.

The first court adjournment took place yesterday, he added.

The Taoiseach also said former garda commissioner Martin Callinan made his own decision to resign.

Mr Kenny said he asked a senior civil servant to make the former commissioner aware of his feelings about the gravity of the issue.

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Taoiseach had effectively “sacked” Mr Callinan, after it emerged he sent a senior civil servant to see him the day before he announced his retirement.

Also speaking in Leixlip today, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the taping of conversations is a very serious matter and there could be a possible impact on court cases.

Mr Gilmore said the full facts need to be established and that is why the inquiry has been set up.

He said work is being carried out at the moment on the terms of reference for that investigation.

The Government announced that it is to set up the statutory Commission of Inquiry, after learning that a system was in place in a large number of garda stations, whereby incoming and outgoing telephone calls were taped and recorded.

It emerged today that Mr Callinan delayed withdrawing his use of the word “disgusting” to describe the behaviour of the two garda whistleblowers following advice from Department of Justice officials.

High Court President advises judges

Separately, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns has communicated with judges dealing with criminal matters and has given them some guidance and advice in relation to the current situation.

It is understood that at an early stage in the trial process in the Central Criminal Court and Special Criminal Courts, the parties will be asked if they have any issues of concern relating to the allegations of the taping of phone calls in garda stations.

It would be a matter primarily for the Director of Public Prosecutions to identify if there are any issues arising.

The defence could make an application to have proceedings adjourned or any other application at that stage.

Earlier, Independent TD Shane Ross said he will ask the Chair of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee to invite officials from the Department of Justice to appear before it to discuss a 2007 tender for the system for the recording of phone calls at garda stations.

Mr Ross, who is a member of the PAC, was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland about the issuing of the contract for the replacement of a garda phone recording system in a number of garda stations.

He said the PAC had a duty where there was a Government contract to find out the circumstances in which it was granted and whether or not the public was getting value for money.

Mr Ross also said TDs had a public duty to find out what had happened in relation to the recording of phone calls at garda stations.

It did not appear that the Government had a great appetite for inquiring into the circumstances in which this happened, and someone would have to do it, he added.

Mr Ross said the consequences of the revelations surrounding the recording of calls were “absolutely staggering”.

He said the Commission of Inquiry’s terms of reference had not been set yet, and we did not know what they would inquire into.

However, he added that TDs could not wait for the inquiry as he said that could take years.

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By | 2014-03-27T14:51:15+00:00 March 27th, 2014|Headlines|0 Comments