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Martin Callinan
Martin Callinan
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Justice minister says shredding of Martin Callinan's personal papers needs to be examined

As many as 10 black bin bags of the former garda commissioner’s personal papers were shredded after he retired.
Sep 4th 2015, 8:40 AM 26,432 134

Updated 08.30am

THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING the shredding of up to 10 bags of personal papers belonging of the former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, needs to be examined, said the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

The Fennelly report published this week revealed that on the day he retired as commissioner last year, Callinan filled eight to 10 black bin bags with personal papers and asked a subordinate to dispose of them.

The papers were later shredded and, according to the Fennelly Commission, may have included the commissioner’s diary for 2013.

The commission said it was also unable to locate all of the data from the official garda mobile phone used by Callinan. The former commissioner was initially unable to find the phone before supplying it to the commission.

The phone’s SIM card could not be located but some meta data was recovered and indicated it was used up to 16 April 2014 – nearly a month after Callinan retired on 24 March. It was then cancelled on 30 May.

Minister Fitzgerald told Newstalk Breakfast that Judge Fennelly tried to retrieve certain information from phones and diaries.

“… it would have been helpful if they were available, quite clearly,” she said.

I do agree, we do need to examine that. The gardaí will be looking at the Fennelly report and certainly I do need to see what the practice is and we do need to examine it.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton said she intended to speak to the current commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan about the matter, saying an investigation may be needed.

“I don’t know the facts or circumstances here,” she said. “I am aware of is very, very serious allegations and if they are true then I think that it absolutely merits a full investigation.”

On the wider political ramifications of the Fennelly report, Creighton said she does not have confidence in the current government and called for an immediate general election.

In an interview with TV3, she declined to specifically say if Renua would support the Fianna Fáil motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach.

The Dublin South East TD said she was not sure if her party would have speaking time in the debate.

- Additional reporting Christina Finn. First published 3 September 12.40pm

Background: Martin Callinan had up to 10 black bags of his personal papers shredded

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