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Alan Shatter and Martin Callinan (File photo) Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Whistleblowers

Shatter officials deny telling Callinan that he could not withdraw ‘disgusting’ remark

The Department of Justice has responded to claims that ex-Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s withdrawal of the infamous ‘disgusting’ remark was delayed on the advice of Alan Shatter’s officials.

Updated at 23.06pm

THE DEPARTMENT OF Justice has said there was “no question” of its officials suggesting that the now former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan could not withdraw controversial remarks about two garda whistleblowers.

It is reported today that Callinan delayed withdrawing the use of the word ‘disgusting’ to describe the actions of the whistleblowers on the advice of officials in the Department of Justice.

However, in a statement this evening the Department said that it was always recognised that Callinan withdrawing the remarks was a matter for himself, but the statement said that ongoing discussions about this issue were “unfortunately, overtaken by events”.

Late last week, it was thought that Callinan was about to issue some further clarification or even a withdrawal of the remarks made at the Public Accounts Committee in January that the actions of Maurice McCabe and John Wilson were “quite disgusting”.

However, RTÉ claimed today that Callinan had delayed this as a result of advice from Department of Justice officials.

But the Department said in its statement: “Towards the end of last week there were discussions about the possibility of his making a further statement in relation to those comments and the form any such statement might take.

“There was no question of the Department suggesting that this possibility be ruled out.”

The Commissioner then resigned on Tuesday, just hours after the Department of Justice’s secretary general Brian Purcell paid him a visit to, according to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, ensure Callinan was aware of Kenny’s “feelings about the gravity of the information” regarding the recording of calls at a large number of garda stations across the country.

Here is the full statement from the Department of Justice:

There were ongoing discussions between officials and the former Garda Commissioner about issues relating to the penalty points controversy.

At all times it was recognised that the question of the Commissioner making any further statement in relation to comments he had made at the Public Accounts Committee and the content of any such statement was a matter for decision by the former Commissioner himself.

Towards the end of last week there were discussions about the possibility of his making a further statement in relation to those comments and the form any such statement might take. There was no question of the Department suggesting that this possibility be ruled out.

These ongoing discussions were, unfortunately, overtaken by subsequent events.

VIDEO: Here are the comments that led to Martin Callinan’s resignation

Read: Everything you need to know about GardaGate in one place

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