At least €2m required for garda phone taping inquiry

By Mary Regan, Political Editor, Irish Examiner
An inquiry into phone tapings at garda stations around the country will cost €2m but only if it finishes its work by the year-end deadline.

The Taoiseach has admitted that the final cost “are difficult to estimate at this stage” because it “may be deemed necessary” to extend the Commission's work beyond its December 31s deadline.

The terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry, to be chaired by Justice Nial Fennelly, are being debated in the Dáil this evening.

Fianna Fail is calling for the Commission to report on a modular basis, so that questions surrounding the resignation of the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, are dealt with sooner.

But Enda Kenny said this will be a matter for Justice Fennelly: “It's important to recognise the independence of the Judge and therefore the Government believes it is more appropriate to give the Commission full flexibility on the nature, timing and sequence of any part of the investigation,” he said.

Fianna Fail's Justice spokesperson, Niall Collins, said: “It is unacceptable that the public would have to wait to find out why the Garda Commissioner resigned or retired or was sacked prematurely.”

He also questioned why the garda investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan Du Plantier is the only specific case to come under the terms of reference for the inquiry.

“Why are we limiting it to that? There will be other families out there who are party to unsolved crimes, who will be seeking justice and will be wondering if there is any information in these 2500 tapes relevant to them.” Mr Collins said.

Sinn Fein's Justice spokesperson, Padraig Mac Lochlainn, said there was a need for a "dedicated Commission of Investigation" into the handling of the Toscan Du Plantier case.

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