‘Is Purcell Being Paid To Keep His Mouth Shut?’

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Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, outgoing Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter in 2012

Further to the publication yesterday of the Report of the Independent Review Group on the Department of Justice and the revelations that Brian Purcell is to step down from his role at the Justice Department – and to be re-assigned elsewhere – Ivan Yates put forward his thoughts on the matter during Newstalk Breakfast this morning.

“These are the questions that Brian Purcell has refused to answer. On the day of the 10th of March. And remember the context of this was to save Shatter. On the 10th of March, the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan sends a couriered letter to the Secretary General, Brian Purcell. This was no ordinary letter. It was the months of analysis of a working group involving the gardai, the attorney general, civil service about recordings of telephone conversations from the gardai.”

“The first line of the letter says, on the 10th of March, bring this letter to the minister’s [of justice] attention, in accordance with Section 41 1D of the Garda Siochana Act 2005. The question that Purcell won’t answer is why did he not bring that letter to the attention of Alan Shatter for 14 days. And, from the get go, I had serious reservations about the veracity of that.”

“The second issue that he must answer is: there is indications that on the weekend, on the 21st of March, that Callinan was prepared to withdraw the ‘disgusting’ remark and was advised not to do so. And the next set of questions he won’t ask [sic] is: Purcell was called to the Taoiseach’s office on Monday the 24th of March and asked questions in relation to the tapes controversy.”

“Now, in my view, the tapes controversy was significant for the Bailey case, but otherwise it was a bottle of smoke. It was blown out of all proportion but it was Tapegate, which led to the drive-by sacking as such. So then Purcell was then dispatched on the Monday night to the house of the Garda Commissioner and he resigned. What then happened was the next morning, on the Tuesday morning, the first the Cabinet heard of this was that they were notified at 9.30am, before the Cabinet met, that Callinan was retiring. No explanation was given.”

“Now the law, and the Constitution says, yes, a Government can fire a Commissioner but the Taoiseach does not have that power. It must be a resolution of the full Government sitting and, therefore, what then happens is it’s not what you do when you’re in a sticky spot – which was all to get rid of Callinan, to save Shatter – was the cover-up.”

“And, basically, what I’m suspicious of is: that Purcell is being paid €200,000 a year to keep his mouth shut. Now what the strategy was, to set up a Commission, under Niall Fennelly, to make sure that this investigation of Tapegate – but also the specific instances of what happened in relation to the Garda Commissioner – to kick this beyond Spring of 2016.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]

20 thoughts on “‘Is Purcell Being Paid To Keep His Mouth Shut?’

  1. SDaedalus

    Yes, but Callinan wasn’t fired. He retired. That’s the point. it didn’t have to go before Cabinet because he retired. So the cover-up, if there is one, isn’t in relation to Callinan’s demise.

    1. phil

      Yup something significant up here , the Garda band were told not to attend his leaving party …
      A very strange decision , if its not spiteful one , then it may be serious

      1. Pablo

        Yes. We need an URGENT PUBLIC INQUIRY into why the Garda Band didn’t play at Callinan’s retirement bash.

  2. Salmon of Nollaig

    Callinan fell on his sword after pressure was put on him to do so.

    Either he was a nice guy, treated badly, or there is something we don’t know, which he didn’t want to come out.

    Because the circumstances didn’t really justify him resigning, at least sans Shatter.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      “fell on his sword”…. urgh…. that man and his self serving ilk wouldn’t know sacrifice in a fit. If anything he was chloroformed, stabbed and the sword put back in his hand before he woke up.

      1. Snoouchthebigoouch

        we just need to see who submits an expenses claim for the sword and chloroform

  3. Salmon of Nollaig

    I was speaking in the general sense of killing himself before someone else could. I didn’t say it wasn’t justified.

    Interesting though how everyone around Shatter gets blamed except for Shatter himself. He sure is surrounded by an awful lot of incompetents: Callinan, Connolly, Purcell. But you’d think a man as all seeing and all knowing as he appears to believe himself to be would spot their incompetence.

    Still, I’m feeling rather warm towards the Shat at the moment. I see him as a form of colonic irrigation, passing through the body of the State in the most unpleasant manner but taking all the sh*t with him. I wouldn’t want a dose of him again though.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    An aside…. Yates isn’t exactly the man to be dissing on overpaid people in the civil / public service jobs and he barely in his 50s with an grossly undeserved pension of €80k a yr guaranteed for the rest of his life.
    Time to move politicians pensionable age back in line with the state and not at the current age of 50 gifted to them by Charlie Haughey.

    1. Violet

      Absolutely. One simple reform would solve it. Don’t pay the pension before retirement age unless unless other the person’s income falls below a certain level. The idea that Ahern and Yates and the like are getting a pension on top of their actual salaries is mind-boggling.

      I suspect it causes real national damage too. How can our politicians make a case for leniency in Europe, when we are giving former public servants gargantuan bags of free money? It doesn’t look much like we’re suffering.

      1. scottser

        don’t forget, callelly will still be drawing his pension even though he’s in jail. wrong, wrong, wrong.

  5. Mark Dennehy

    I know civil servants have somewhat of a hands-tied situation with regard to defamation lawsuits, but surely this is over even that line? Feck, if I said that about a TD in public (or even Yates), I’d have to be on the phone to my solicitors inside of a week and my house would be at risk…

  6. pissedasanewt

    Its a risk moving into Politics. you play a popularity contest, buy some votes, then everybody finds out you actually a and terrible at your job. After all that you need a break from the hard slog of reality.

    Likewise for civil servants, once your in, stay in and regardless of your ability you will eventually rise to the top. In the private sector the cream will rise to the top, in the public sector its that oily fat that you scrap off in the mid 50’s and put into the retirement bin.

    1. Pablo

      “The cream” of the private sector by implication includes such heroic captains of industry as Seanie Fitz, Michael Fingleton, Sean Quinn, Sean Dunne etc etc.

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