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Taoiseach ‘not acting in public interest’ regarding Fennelly Commission – Mac Lochlainn

23 March, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has spoken out against the Taoiseach’s persistent refusal to confirm whether he has given evidence to the Fennelly Commission. 

The serious delay in the publication of the findings of the Fennelly Commission modules dealing with the circumstances regarding the departure of the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and correspondence between the former Garda Commissioner and the Department of Justice has also been criticised by Deputy Mac Lochlainn.

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“The Taoiseach has consistently refused to confirm whether he has given evidence to Justice Niall Fennelly. These matters are of real public importance and the Taoiseach is not acting in the public interest by his refusal to disclose whether or not he gave evidence – something which he is of course, legally permitted to do. 

“The terms of reference of this Commission of Investigation were amended to include the departure of Martin Callinan and the correspondence between his office and the Department of Justice following a request from the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. 

“However the government did not front load these modules and include a timeframe which was also requested by the Committee. In fact the all party Committee had requested that the Commission publish an interim report on these matters "as soon as possible but, ideally, within a period of approximately 8 weeks".

“We have now been waiting for almost a year and still, we do not know when the Commission will report. This is clearly the government’s fault in their failure to adhere to the requests of the all-party Committee". 

He concluded:

“While I appreciate that the Taoiseach cannot comment on the specifics of the case, he should explain why there was no timeframe put in place, as well as more robust Terms of Reference for the Commission. 

“The Taoiseach must also disclose whether or not he gave evidence to Justice Fennelly. He is not acting in the public interest by his refusal to do so and his persistent shirking of responsibility raises many questions.” 

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