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Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan at the Disclosures Tribunal. Sam Boal via Rollignews
state pension

Justice Minister 'cannot say at this stage' if Callinan's pension will be cancelled

Charlie Flanagan said that the cancellation of Callinan’s pension is subject to legal advice.

MINISTER FOR JUSTICE Charlie Flanagan has said he can not currently see a way that former garda commissioner Martin Callinan’s pension can be cancelled as it’s based on Callinan’s own contributions. 

Last month, Mr Justice Peter Charleton found that there was a “campaign of calumny” against McCabe by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, that was “actively aided” by his press officer Superintendent David Taylor.

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Charlie Flanagan said that the cancellation of Callinan’s pension is currently subject to legal advice. 

“Like any other public service pension, it is based on his own contributions. 

“I cannot say at this stage how this can be dealt with in a way that sees the cancellation – immediately or at some stage in the future – of a public service pension.”

Yesterday in the Dáíl, Social Democrats’ Rosin Shortall called for a change to employment terms for senior civil servants who receive pensions even if they have engaged in serious wrongdoing. 

Maurice McCabe is currently taking a case against the Department of Justice, the office of the garda commissioner and the attorney general.

It emerged at the weekend at the State had previously agreed to cover Callinan’s legal costs in action being taken against him by McCabe. 

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is seeking legal advice on whether the State can reverse the decision to provide legal counsel for Callinan in light of the Disclosure Tribunal findings against him. 

When asked by Morning Ireland why taxpayers should pay the legal fees of Callinan, Minister Flanagan said that when a case is taken against the state involving a number of office holders, the state will present one legal defence. 

“I acknowledge that there is some public concern in respect of the legal action.

My priority is to ensure that we can reach an early settlement with Maurice McCabe and his family to allow them to rebuild a life that has been torn apart over the past ten years.

“That’s the object of the exercise and it’s my priority and indeed the priority of the government,” Flanagan said. 

It was reported yesterday that the Government is considering pursuing Callinan and former garda press officer David Taylor for a contribution to damages that will be paid to  McCabe.