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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 21 October 2021

Callinan the name on everyone's lips as Cabinet meets

Martin Callinan is under fire for a remark he made about Garda whistleblowers.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE TAOISEACH HAS urged Ministers to raise their concerns over the Garda Commissioners remarks about whistleblowers at the Cabinet table and this morning, they will get their chance.

The Cabinet meets today to discuss a number of issues, but the issue of a remark made by Martin Callinan at the Public Accounts Committee is expected to dominate the agenda.

Callinan had said that the manner in which whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson had acted was “disgusting”. He clarified that he had been referring to the release of personal information by the whistleblowers.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar reignited the row last week, calling the actions of the whistleblowers “distinguished”.

He was backed up by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, Social Protection Minister Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The Labour Party wants Callinan to withdraw the remark, but is understood to not be interested in taking the issue any further.

Backbenchers, members of PAC and other Ministers have  weighed in, but the Taoiseach is adamant that the issue will only be discussed at Cabinet.

The remark, and the fallout from it, has increased the focus on Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who has been silent on the matter this week.

Shatter’s own treatment of Garda whistleblowers, as well as his staunch support of Callinan, has put him in the opposition’s crosshairs. Earlier this month, Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin called on Shatter to “do the honourable thing” and apologise to Maurice McCabe.

Martin said McCabe and his fellow whistleblowers had been “vindicated” by the Garda Inspectorate report on the penalty-points issue.

Another remark made by Shatter, where he said Garda whistleblowers hadn’t cooperated with investigations is also expected to be discussed.

Explainer: Why is Alan Shatter under pressure – and will he survive?

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