Tag Archives: Brian Purcell


Top: Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan before PAC on January 23, 2014; Mr Callinan, former General Secretary of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell and former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

This afternoon.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

It has heard that the then General Secretary of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell texted the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan on the day that Mr Callinan appeared before PAC on January 23, 2014

This was the PAC meeting when Mr Callinan made his infamous “disgusting” remark.

At 3.02pm, on that day, Mr Purcell texted Mr Callinan:

“Well done, exceptional performance under fire. Brian.”

This was 12 minutes after the meeting finished.

Readers will recall how, the following day, January 24, 2014, Mr Callinan met Fianna Fail TD and then chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness in a Dublin car park.

This is Mr McGuinness’s account of that meeting:

“I arrived in the car park, as arranged, and I presumed that we were going to meet in the hotel, so when I saw the Commissioner approach, I was in the process of getting out of the car, but he in turn went around quickly to the passenger side of my car and sat in.

And then he immediately got into the conversation to do with the Maurice McCabe and the issues.

“I suggested to him at the beginning of this conversation, as I did the day before, that like any other employer that perhaps the best way out of this was for him to talk directly to Sergeant Maurice McCabe and to determine what exactly the issues were and resolve it that way, without it having to, you know, go into the public realm and him dealing — trying to deal with it that way.

“And it was at that stage that he said to me that no, it had gone beyond all of that and that there was issues to do with Maurice McCabe and his behaviour and he suggested that there was — he had sexually abused his family and an individual, that he was not to be trusted, that I had made a grave error in relation to the Public Accounts Committee and the hearings because of this and that I would find myself in serious trouble.”

He gave me to believe that there was an investigation ongoing in relation to the allegations and that they were at an advanced stage and I immediately presumed from that that Sergeant Maurice McCabe would be charged with something or other.

“…I believe that he said that there was a file, I presumed that this was a file that was going to whatever prosecutor would be involved in the case.”

Mr Callinan denies this.

Meanwhile…

On that same day…

At 5.44pm…

Mr Purcell texted Mr Callinan saying:

“Martin, know u are en route to Dundalk, can u call me if possible, just wondering how u got on with JMcG. Brian.”

The tribunal heard today that the Public Accounts Committee eventually made the decision to have Sgt McCabe go before it and discuss the quashing of penalty points, in private, on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 with Sgt McCabe ultimately giving evidence the following Thursday, January 30, 2014.

Earlier: The Commissioner, The ‘Knacker’ And The Two ‘Headbangers’

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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]

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To Europe so.

Purcell says whistleblower arrangements not fit for purpose (RTE)

Previously: He’s The Brian Of The Operation

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

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[From left: Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, Brian Purcell, Secretary General at the Department of Justice Brian Purcell and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter]

Department of Justice Secretary General Brian Purcell is now to attend the Justice Committee next week to answer questions in relation to the Guerin Report.

But he has told the committee he will not answer questions about the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny sent Mr Purcell to Mr Callinan’s house on the eve of his resignation to express his disquiet over revelations that telephone calls at garda stations had been recorded [specifically telephone calls involving Marie Farrell, a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case.]

Fine Gael TD and junior finance spokesman Brian Hayes spoke to Ivan Yates on Newstalk Breakfast this morning about Mr Purcell’s refusal to speak about Mr Callinan’s resignation.

Brian Hayes: “I want to see the review completed, I want to see exactly what transpired within the Department of Justice, that’s what [newly appointed Justice Minister] Frances Fitzgerald said. In fairness to her she’s only in the job a wet week at this stage and I think it’s important that we review exactly what occurred. And I’m not going to say whether I’ve got confidence in person or another, until such a time as we know what happened, when and where. But I will say this: I don’t believe anybody, any senior official has the right to set the terms, upon which, he or she will go before a committee. I think it’s only appropriate and right that a senior civil servant would come before an Oireachtas committee and answer all questions surrounding their handling of an issue and their management of a department. And I don’t think anyone has the right to do that and I expect it to be the exact same in Mr Purcell’s case.”

Ivan Yates: “Fair enough. Did you read the Sean Querin report and what it said about the Department of Justice?”

Hayes: “I read the conclusions, I haven’t read the whole…”

Yates: “He didn’t put a tooth in it. He said that the minister was given no paper trail of advice, saying that he had a statutory responsibility to effectively second guess the gardai investigating the gardai, in the case of the McCabe allegations. I mean is that not enough to say that Mr Purcell’s position is untenable?”

Hayes: “Well I would have thought that not only would Mr Purcell have to come before the committee but, secondly, that this would have to be a section in the upcoming Commission of Investigation. I was on your programme six weeks ago, you might remember at the time, and I said, this was the day after Enda Kenny had obtained from Micheal Martin the information which ultimately led to the investigation by Mr Guerin. I said that if the recommendation of the initial investigation by Sean Guerin was that we needed a full-blooded Commission of Investigation that the Government would do that. I think at the time you poo-pooed it and said ‘oh no, that’s not gonna happen and that’s just political speak’. Well it has happened and I think this is going to have to be a module within the Commission of Investigation, surrounding all of the information. Because clearly information was not given to the minister. There is some dysfunctional nature within the department, there’s no doubt about that. If one looks at the whole legacy issues surrounding this and other problems, it goes back to a communications link. And maybe, we need to be much clearer, maybe? We need to be much clearer as to where the operations of the gardai stand, where the operations of the Department of Justice stand but I would have thought that this would have to be a module within the Commission of Investigation and, as such, we’ll have to get to the bottom of it.”

Yates: “Do you agree with Leo Varadkar that the Department of Justice is not fit for purpose?”

Hayes: “That’s evident.”

Minister slams top civil servant (Newstalk)

Previously: “In The Event Of Any Further Unexpected Disclosures”

Getting Their Story Straight

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Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Brian Purcell, centre, with former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, left, and former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter

Mr Purcell has been invited to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on Thursday to answer questions in relation to his department’s handling of allegations made by Sgt Maurice McCabe, which prompted the publication of the Guerin Report last week.

It’s being reported that chairman of the committee, Fine Gael TD David Stanton sent a letter of invitation to Mr Purcell last Friday.

RTE reports:

Members want to discuss the fallout from the Guerin Report, administration issues in the department and the resignation of the former garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

[Chairman of the Oireachtas Justice Committee David] Stanton said the committee had not yet received a reply from Mr Purcell.

Frances Fitzgerald to brief Cabinet on Guerin Report (RTE)

Department of Justice chief to be quizzed on Garda misconduct claims (Irish Examiner)

Previously: The Secretary General, You Say?

He’s The Brian Of The Operation

The Thin Blue Timeline Updated

Photocall Ireland

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[Brian Purcell, Secretary General at the Department of Justice]

You may recall the letter of March 10th that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan sent to the Secretary General of the Department of Justice, Brian Purcell, for the attention of Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

Mr Callinan’s letter said that, during the process of discovery in the Ian Bailey’s civil action case, it emerged that telephone calls in Bandon Garda Station had been recorded, between gardaí and key witness Marie Farrell – who claimed in 2012 that gardai forced her to perjure herself in order to incriminate Mr Bailey – and journalists.

It also explains how Mr Callinan ordered for the widespread recording of calls – bar 999 calls – to be stopped on November 27, 2013.

Minister Shatter told the Dáil he never received the letter until March 25 – hours after Mr Callinan stood down from his role.

It should also be noted that Taoiseach Enda Kenny Kenny had sent Mr Purcell to Mr Callinan’s home to convey Mr Kenny’s concerns about the phone recordings on the night before Callinan stepped down, March 24.

Finian McGrath, who is a member of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, wanted Mr Purcell to come before the committee to explain what happened.

But last night the committee decided to hold off on bringing Mr Purcell in until Judge Nial Fennelly’s Commission of Inquiry set up to study the garda station tapes has its terms of reference in order.

Mr McGrath spoke to Ivan Yates on Newstalk this morning.

Finian McGrath: “Well, I have to accept first of all that I was fully surprised myself. I went went into The Justice Committee yesterday with three objectives. First of all, to get Brian Purcell in, The Secretary General and his senior civil servant. Secondly, was to get the former Garda Commissioner in. And the third, I asked the question, was, ‘Would it be in order to invite The Attorney General in?’. So at the meeting, legal advice was given that we were not allowed to call The Attorney General – and I accepted that advice. But on the other two issues, the legal advice given at The Committee was that we could go ahead, that we had the power, we had the authority, and let’s get on with it. So I proposed that we bring in those two. But the vast majority – I was the only one – everyone in The Committee said, ‘No, we’re going to park this for a week and we’re going to try and make a few decisions on the terms of reference for The Commission of Inquiry and then maybe next week. But my position was, I just wanted simple answers, I didn’t want a commission of inquiry or a justice committee, I didn’t want any additional costs – all I wanted was simple questions answered by The Secretary General – and by the way, it’s not personalising the guy, or demonising him, and there’s still issues there – the bereavement in the family over a few days – but there’s Asssistant Secretary Generals, there are other senior civil servants – just answer the question, ‘What the Hell went on and why didn’t they deal with the letter on the 10th of March?’. These are simple questions that the public are asking me to ask – and I was just blown away with what happened yesterday with the kind of …. I suspect a rat, by the way, Ivan. I was a bit concerned that they were trying to drag it out over the terms of references. I hope that this discussion over terms of references doesn’t go on for another two weeks.”

Ivan Yates:  “Why was this meeting held in private?”

McGrath:  “It was held in private just to see what we’d do.  We wanted to make a collective decision on the way that we would approach the issue.  Because some people were saying that we should… that they should completely stand back and proceed with…{interrupted}

Yates:  “Finian, I don’t want to do this , but, a  few months ago when we were covering the Penalty Points issue with The Public Accounts Committee, there was an attempt by Government Back Benchers to stop that entire process…” Continue reading

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

Pat Leahy, political editor of the Sunday Business Post, spoke to Seán O’Rourke this morning about Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s claims that he wasn’t aware of  a letter sent by Martin Callinan to the Department of Justice on March 10 until two weeks later.

The letter sent to General Secretary Brian Purcell – which specifically stated that Minister Shatter be told of its contents – included details of recorded conversations between gardaí in Bandon Garda Station and Marie Farrell, a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case.

On Monday, March 24, a meeting was held between the Attorney General Máire Whelan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell.

Speaking to Seán O’Rourke, Mr Leahy said:

“That evening, that is to say the Monday evening, before he says he became aware of this letter, he was at a meeting discussing this matter with the Secretary General of the Department of Justice. [This is] The man who sent the letter, who forwarded the letter to him, having been sent it by the Garda Commissioner, discussing the fate of the Garda Commissioner, following which the Secretary General of the Department is sent by the Taosieach out to the home of the Garda Commissioner to express the grave disquiet of the Taoiseach about this issue.

“But, by Alan Shatter’s account, not having known about this letter until the following day, the Secretary General of the Department [of Justice] didn’t mention it at all at that meeting. He didn’t say ‘oh yeah I got this letter two weeks ago about this from the Garda Commissioner, the man we’re now consider…who’s future we are now considering’, it seems very strange to me.”

Listen back here

Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile, at a citizenship ceremony in the Convention Centre Dublin this morning:

image (18)

There’s always one, etc.

Thanks Jenny McCarthy