And the Department of Justice Secretary-General “retires” with immediate effect…

Statement from Noel Waters, the Secretary-General at the Department of Justice, to his departmental staff who has taken the extraordinary step of retiring with immediate effect…

“This is a particularly difficult time for the Department of Justice and Equality and I have no doubt that you are trying to understand and make sense of the issues that are the subject of public discourse.

“The Department has been subject to a barrage of unwarranted criticism in recent days and most particularly today.

“Many of the claims about how the Department has acted that have been made in the media and in the Dáil are not true, and I am confident that the processes that the Taoiseach has announced will show that to be the case.

“As you will all recall I indicated earlier this month that I would be retiring in February of next year. I have now decided to bring forward my departure to today.

“I am doing this entirely of my own volition.”

On the face of it, it appears to be an indirect response to the Taoiseach’s earlier reference to the Justice Department as “dysfunctional”… But it’s interesting that he first announced his intention to retire was about the time Alan Kelly put his first inquiry.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty