‘The Destruction Of Files Can Never Be Tolerated’


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Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and PULSE records showing his penalty points for speeding terminated

Readers may recall how Justice Nial Fennelly noted in his report how former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had asked a superintendent to dispose of 8 to 10 black bags of papers hours after he had stepped down, on March 25, 2014.

The papers were later shredded on April 14, 2014, according to evidence given to Fennelly.

As Callinan couldn’t locate his diary for 2013, the Fennelly Commission concluded it must also have been shredded.

Readers will also recall how Fennelly found that when they asked Callinan about his official phone, he said he didn’t know where it was. The Fennelly Commission made further enquiries and Fennelly was told by Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan that the phone had been given to the gardaí, that the SIM had been removed and the phone had been returned to Callinan. Nolan told Fennelly it was his understanding the SIM had been destroyed.

Later Fennelly asked Callinan to look for the phone. In turn, Callinan looked for the phone, found it and gave it to the Commission. It had no SIM card. Subsequent to this, Nolan told the Commission that the SIM card actually hadn’t been returned by Callinan and that it had been cancelled remotely on May 30, 2014 as it hadn’t been used since April 16, 2014.

Further to this, John Mooney, in yesterday’s Sunday Times, made reference to Callinan and the shredding of his papers and diary.

He wrote:

“Fennelly made no adverse finding against Callinan, and did not accuse him or Garda Headquarters of destroying evidence, but it did make references to the various controversies which had beset the commissioner between late 2012 and early 2014. Callinan is likely to have sent texts and made entries into his 2013 diary about these events.”

In 2013, for example, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) sent a file to the Department of Justice on Operation Castle, an investigation into collusion between the international drugs trafficker Kieran Boylan and gardai. It outlined how young criminals were set up for arrest in legally dubious circumstances while Boylan was permitted to import huge quantities of drugs. Callinan was among the senior officers implicated in the scandal, and was accused of blocking the Gsoc investigation for years.”

“In 2013 also, Callinan told Simon O’Brien, the Gsoc chairman, he was concerned about the information that The Sunday Times was publishing about sensitive investigations. This remark and other issues prompted the garda watchdog to hire Verrimus, a British firm, to advise on internal security in late 2013. The company advised Gsoc of “technical and electronic anomalies” that could not be explained, and raised concerns about the integrity of its communications system. The cancellation of penalty points also became a big issue during 2013.”


It was on April 19, 2013, that the Irish Independent published Gemma O’Doherty’s story that Callinan himself had penalty points wiped.

In addition, Gavin Sheridan, in yesterday Sunday Business Post, wrote:

‘Eleven years ago, in 2004, when the first report of the Morris Tribunal was published a specific criticism was made. “The destruction by a member of any official files after retirement…can never be tolerated…It should be made clear to all gardaí that such documentation is the property of An Garda Síochána. It does not belong to the member concerned,” Judge Morris wrote.’

Read the Fennelly report here

Previously: ‘These Things Haven’t Happened’

Fennelly Report: The Digested Read

Going To Work

Not So Fast

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19 thoughts on “‘The Destruction Of Files Can Never Be Tolerated’

  1. Bellweather

    You might want to check the dates in the above piece. Callinan stepped down in March 2014 not 2015

  2. Avon Barksdale

    The destruction of files can indeed be tolerated after you’ve borrowed a mates laptop for a quiet weekend in

  3. donkey_kong


    Surely his phone going AWOL is a red herring. the number would have been known and teh network provider could have furnished the relevant details of calls and text and the text content which I believe is kept for a few years under EU law. Maybe Fennelly didn’t look hard enough.

    I hate to be all Paul Murphy on it but it’s a conspiracy of the elite!

      1. John

        All SMSs and all metadata is stored. It costs almost nothing to do so. Even phone calls are routinely converted to searchable text. Doesn’t matter if it’s Chinese or Arabic or whatever. Anyone with so much as a whiff of dissent has their traffic funneled. It’s an incredibly powerful tool to have.

  4. classter

    Are there no official guidelines / laws relating to official record keeping by senior Guards?

    Like if you miss a doping drugs test, you are assumed guilty.

  5. Mr. T.

    There is no way that the level of drugs trade in this country is sustained without partnership with members of the civil service, including police and customs. People are either being blackmailed or threatened or fully partnered with the criminals.

    1. Charley

      In the late 90’s there was a large car and van theft ring uncovered North and South of the border, All the vehicles had genuine log books from UK and IRL customs, no one was ever charged this side although arrests were made of RUC officers in the North
      , the vehicles were seized and sold on by the Gardaí after a period of time. When the people who bought the vehicles in good faith claimed that the official paperwork was correct it was ignored by the state

    2. Anomanomanom

      100% correct. The garda are rotten to the core. You simply can not explain how so many people get away with crimes. It’s like the old trick they do when they catch someone with drugs, they let them go on the basis the criminal with set them up with a few guys lower down to catch. Making the garda look good for catching a few people instead of just 1.

  6. Ronan

    According to those images, the incident occurred after his insurance had lapsed. Incident date in 2007, insurance expiry in 2006.

  7. Truth in the News

    Did Fennelly examine the records of Mobile Phone service operators that provided
    services to the leading parties of the affair, in particular, Callinan, Shatter, Kenny
    and Dept of Justice Officals, is there not a 3 year retention rule that was introduced
    by McDowell when he was Minister for Justice….or is it another case of do as I say
    but not as I do.

    1. Anne

      “Martin Callinan had asked a superintendent to dispose of 8 to 10 black bags of papers hours after he had stepped down”

      8 to 10 bags is some amount of paper to be getting rid of and no one saying anything.

      But seriously, what is the point of carrying out a report, when the information can’t be gathered, due to the paperwork and diaries and simcards and whatnot being destroyed?

      The next report will say the same thing.. The information can’t be determined because the paperwork was destroyed.

      It shouldn’t be allowed and there has to be consequences.

      Corrupt to bits. Not fit for purpose.

  8. manolo

    Lets face it, the system is not designed to, is unable, or just isn’t bothered to deal with the constant abuses of power, the convenient memory lapses, the back scratching, the conflicts of interest. This is the country where nobody is responsible for handling insider trading, where IT multinationals want to handle people’s personal data, where not having a f***ing kitchen exempts one from paying taxes.

    When the next elections come we will have the same or another boys clubs running the circus, nothing will really change, business as usual. They have it figured out, really. Democracy? On paper, maybe…

  9. Parochial Central

    Can there be anything more embarrassing than admitting you are a member of the Gardai these days? Even the Catholic Church has a higher credibility rating with normal people. “The Farce”. Indeed.

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