TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told the Dáil that the Gardaí “did not do enough” to engage with whistleblowers.
Kenny said he came to that conclusion after he “went back and read the documentation” relating to the O’Mahoney Report following recent events. He said that under-fire Justice Minister Alan Shatter would be looking into this, among other issues.
During Leaders’ Questions, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused Kenny of ‘sacking’ Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
Martin said that by sending a civil servant to meet Callinan on Monday to inform him about the pending release of information on phone tapping in Garda stations, he “essentially sacked him .. it’s calling a spade a spade.”
Kenny dismissed Martin’s accusation, saying: “I deplore what you’re suggesting … it’s actually beneath you.”
Martin also claimed that Kenny failed to tell the Opposition “the full story” about this week’s series of events during meetings with him and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams yesterday.
He said that news of phone calls being tapped in Garda stations since the 1980s “wasn’t new at all” and questioned why this information was released on the day of Callinan’s resignation.
“Forgive us all for thinking that the timing of all of this is extremely odd,” Martin said.
Kenny stated that he only became aware of the phone tapping issue on Sunday and informed the Dáil of it yesterday due to its “remarkable gravity”.
“Was I to sit here in silence? … Was I supposed to say everything in the garden is rosy?,” Kenny asked Martin.
The Taoiseach said that he rang the Attorney General Máire Whelan on Sunday and that during this conversation she told him of a matter he “should be made aware of” that she not prepared to discuss over the phone.
This statement was met with audible laughter in the chamber, to which Kenny stated: “Well you may laugh, Deputy [Mattie] McGrath, were you appraised of the situation you might have a very different view.”
Kenny said that all facts relating to the phone tapping should be assessed by “somebody competent in the legal profession to see how serious” the situation is.
He added that there were more than 2,500 such tapes up to 2008, with digital archives of tapes being collected from 2008 until the tapping process was stopped in November of last year.
Martin said that the fact the Attorney General did not inform Shatter of the tapping issue in November when she became aware of it indicated a “dysfunctional” relationship with the minister.
Kenny said that his Cabinet was dealing with “lingering sores that have been around for years”.
“I’ll take no lectures from anybody about not doing what is right here,” he added.
When Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams called for Shatter’s resignation over the “saga of tsunamis” surrounding him, Kenny accused him pf “focusing on a head”.
“A head – that’s all you want,” Kenny added.
Adams said: “Personal loyalty may be an admirable trait but I’m sure that you’d agree it can’t be put before the common good.”
Background: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has resigned