Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins TD has said it’s unacceptable that the public and the Gardaí would be forced to wait up to a year for the truth about what happened in the run-up to the removal of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
Welcoming the publication of the terms of reference for the Commission of Investigation into a range of garda controversies, Deputy Collins said the Government cannot use this to continue to avoid questions about its role in what happened.
Deputy Collins said, “It is crucial that this Commission of Investigation is not just used as another vehicle for Minister Alan Shatter and the Taoiseach to kick these important matters to touch. I am calling on the Government to instruct the inquiry to report on a modular basis so that we have regular updates on its progress. The recent crisis surrounding the removal of the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan should be the first module.
“There are very serious issues before this inquiry, including the tragic murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. However the Government has decided to mix everything together. The crisis and timeline surrounding Commissioner Callinan’s removal from office should be relatively easy to clear up. I see no reason why the public and the gardaí should be forced to wait until the Commission has completed all of its investigations to report on this particular issue.
“I am also concerned at the Government’s insistence that the only specific case that the inquiry can look at is the Sophie Toscan du Plantier case. The inquiry does not have the scope to examine the impact of the tapes’ content on other specific cases. This is unnecessarily restrictive.
“By limiting the inquiry to one case, the Government is potentially storing up major problems. Already, we see other families coming forward looking for information on whether their case is affected by the recorded phone calls. Are these emerging cases to be ignored?
“While I welcome the establishment of the Commission of Investigation, I remain concerned that it is another attempt by the Justice Minister to escape responsibility for his role in the recent crisis. I am again calling on Minister Shatter to make himself available this week for a full press conference on the issues arising from recent weeks.”