Calls for Shatter to follow as Garda Commissioner resigns

Update: Callinan's statement in full below.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has resigned in the wake of the Garda Whistleblower controversy.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Callinan said: "In the best interests of An Garda Síochána and my family, I have decided to retire."

"I felt that recent developments were proving to be a distraction from the important work that is carried out by An Garda Síochána on a daily basis for the citizens of the State in an independent and impartial manner."

Callinan has been at the centre of the controversy in recent weeks after he said "Frankly, I find it quite disgusting" in reference to the activities of whistleblowers John Wilson and Maurice McCabe.

Wilson, who revealed the penalty points controversy, issued a statement this lunchtime, saying "I take no pleasure in the demise of any human being."

"Martin Callinan has done this country some great service throughout his career in An Garda Siochana, but his position had become untenable and his decision to resign is the correct one".

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson, Niall Collins, said Minister Alan Shatter should follow Callinan's example and offer his own resignation.

Collins said the Justice Minister has shown "no leadership" throughout the controversy, and must right the wrongs inflicted upon the garda whistleblowers.

The Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, said Callinan had consistently demonstrated "poor leadership" and called for an independent policing board and authority similar to the system used in the North.

And Sinn Féin's Aengus O'Snodaigh said he thinks Alan Shatter's resignation is likely.

However, presenter and Chairman of the Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne, said Callinan had done the country some service, and his reaction to the news was one of "terrible sorrow".

Callinan's resignation comes after renewed calls for an apology to the whistleblowers.

Last week, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar called for Callinan to withdraw his remarks, causing friction within the Government.

An "informal" meeting took place yesterday between Varadkar and Alan Shatter at the request of the Taoiseach, who also met Minister Varadkar himself.

It is expected the Assistant Commissioner, Noreen O'Sullivan, will take over Callinan's duties until a successor is appointed.


Full Text of Callinan's statement:

In the best interests of An Garda Síochána and my family, I have decided to retire. I felt that recent developments were proving to be a distraction from the important work that is carried out by An Garda Síochána on a daily basis for the citizens of the State in an independent and impartial manner.

Having joined An Garda Síochána in May of 1973, it has been a great honour and privilege to have spent nearly 41 years as a member of this tremendous organisation, serving the people of Ireland.

Those nearly 41 years, though at times challenging, have been enjoyable and fulfilling. This is due to the standard of people I have worked for, worked with, and led during this period of time. The work I carried out throughout my career could not have been done without the support of numerous men and women, and for this I would like to thank all who I have worked with during my service. It also could not have been achieved without the support of the many thousands of members of public who I have come in contact with and who I hope I have helped in some small way during my career.

Since becoming Commissioner in 2010 I have never failed to be impressed by the dedication of all serving members and civilian staff even when they faced significant professional and personal challenges.

The last four years have seen major changes in An Garda Síochána, which were always done in the best interest of the community for whom we do our job. Although some of these changes have not always been easy, statistics from the CSO have shown that they have resulted in a reduction in crime throughout the country. This change in delivery of a policing service has, I hope, provided communities and individuals with a sense of safety and security in their daily lives.

I would like to thank the members of An Garda Síochána who I worked with during my time as Commissioner for their support and willingness to adapt for the benefit of the citizens of the State.

I have great confidence that the delivery of an excellent policing service by excellent people will continue as it has done since An Garda Síochána’s foundation.

I wish my successor, current members of An Garda Síochána, and those due to join later this year my continuing best wishes and wholehearted support.

KEYWORDS: Martin Callinan
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