Department of Justice: Shatter only found out about illegal taping claims yesterday

The Department of Justice is insisting tonight that Alan Shatter only became aware of claims of illegal taping of Garda phone calls yesterday evening.

It follows the release to RTÉ News of a letter sent by the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to the Department of Justice a fortnight ago about the recordings.

A spokeswoman for the minister acknowledged that the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who retired this morning, did write to the Department of Justice two weeks ago to outline the extent of recordings of phone calls to and from Garda stations.

It’s reported that the letter confirmed the existence of 2,400 tapes of recordings from non-999 calls to Garda stations.

The spokeswoman also added that the minister was not informed of illegal taping of calls at Waterford Garda Station in 2010, despite a Garda Ombudsman report last June.

However, that explanation appears to clash with the Garda Síochána Act, which explicitly requires GSOC to keep the minister up to date on investigations.

That would suggest the Alan Shatter was directly informed by GSOC last June that illegal recordings were being taken in at least one station.

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