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Commissioner 'reviewing' decision to fund Callinan's legal defence in McCabe case

Meanwhile Leo Varadkar has said Callinan is not being given a blanket indemnity.

Martin Callinan
Martin Callinan
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated Nov 12th 2018, 1:46 PM

GARDA COMMISSIONER DREW Harris is seeking to reverse a decision to cover legal costs of former commissioner Martin Callinan in a case being taken against him by whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

McCabe’s legal team has lodged papers in the case against Callinan, the Department of Justice, the office of the garda commissioner and the attorney general. 

Yesterday the Sunday Times reported the former commissioner had obtained a written agreement from Harris’ predecessor Dónall Ó Cualáin to appoint State legal counsel to represent him. 

In his final report published last month, chair of the Disclosures Tribunal Mr Justice Peter Charleton found there was a “campaign of calumny” by Callinan against McCabe. 

Now An Garda Síochána is seeking to reverse the decision to provide legal counsel for Callinan in light of the damning findings of the Tribunal.

‘Not a blanket indemnity’

A garda spokesperson said this morning “Commissioner Harris is reviewing all matters relating to this litigation”.

The Irish Times reports he is seeking advice on whether he is bound by this decision and he may, depending on the advice, go to Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and ask him to scrap the agreement. 

It is likely this would result in a separate court action by Callinan against the State. 

When asked about the situation today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told reporters: “As I understand, as a former State employee who is being sued in the course of his work, it is the norm for the State to offer representation for him.

“That’s not to say that he’s been given an indemnity or anything like that … it’s not a blanket indemnity nor is the State or government accepting full liability.”

With reporting by Órla Ryan 

Comments are off on this article as legal proceedings are active. 

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