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Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has resigned

Martin Callinan said his decision is in the best interest of his family and the force.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 12.45pm

GARDA COMMISSIONER Martin Callinan has resigned.

TheJournal.ie learned of the resignation this morning and an official statement dropped before lunchtime.

There was no immediate response from a government spokesperson or the Department of Justice and it is understood the surprise development is being discussed at Cabinet.

Deputy Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan will take over the role in the interim.

The embattled chief has been under fire over the ongoing whistleblower controversy, which is being discussed at Cabinet level today.

Callinan had been criticised for comments made at a Public Accounts Committee hearing in January, where he described the actions of Sergeant Maurice McCabe and retired garda John Wilson as “disgusting”.

Both men had come forward with allegations about the mishandling of cases and inappropriate cancellation of penalty points.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar reignited the row last week, calling the actions of the whistleblowers “distinguished” and urging Callinan to withdraw his earlier remarks.

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

The dispute has also increased the focus on Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who has been silent on the matter this week.

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins told Pat Kenny this morning that the Minister “still has to owe up to the gross injustice he carried out”.

He said that his party had lost confidence in the Taoiseach, as well as Shatter. According to the justice spokesperson, the pair had “shown no leadership” and the country is at a “complete loss”.

In a similar vein, Deputy Shane Ross – who sits on the PAC – warned that the “row is far from over”.

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And fellow Independent TD, Luke Ming Flanagan, suggested his replacement.

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Fine Gael Senator Deirdre Clune has called for the next chief to be hired externally.

imageThe right thing

Speaking on Today with Seán O’Rourke, Deputy Mick Wallace – who has been consistently vocal on the whistleblower issue – said he was not shocked by this morning’s announcement.

“It was getting more difficult for him to stand over how he has run the police force,” he said.

The question now hangs over Alan Shatter. He has not dealt well with the policing side of his ministry at all.

“He has overseen a totally dysfunctional police force.”

Sinn Féin’s Pádraig MacLochlainn said his party’s focus will be on the “necessary changes” required in Ireland’s policing.

He cited the need for an Independent Policing Authority, accountable to an Independent Policing Board, similar to what is in place in the North of Ireland and increased powers for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

PAC Chairman John McGuinness also pointed to other cracks within An Garda Síochána.

He told Newstalk that the resignation comes as the “administration within the force was not up to scratch”.

The Fianna Fáil chair also expressed concern over last weekend’s revelations in the Sunday Times that Traveller children have been put on the Garda PULSE system. He said that the issue had not been properly discussed.

With reporting by Paul Hosford and Nicky Ryan

First published 9.44am

VIDEO: Taoiseach declines to answer questions on Callinan controversy

Garda voices on the whistleblower controversy: ‘Morale in the force is in the toilet’

Catch up: Everything you need to know about GardaGate in one place >

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