From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine; former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan
Former Commissioner Martin Callinan will resume giving evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal.
The tribunal is examining claims by Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed in mid-2013 to negatively brief journalists about whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe and to let them know he was motivated by revenge as a consequence of an abuse allegation made by the daughter of a colleague.
This allegation was made in 2006 – but pertained to 1998 – and it was dismissed by the DPP in 2007 as having no foundation.
As part of that campaign, Supt Taylor has told the tribunal that, in addition to the abuse allegation matter, part of the briefing was to also spread the idea that Sgt McCabe didn’t engage with an internal Garda investigation into penalty points by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony.
This was a claim made by celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show on Sunday, January 26, 2014 – after then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan appeared before PAC on Thursday, January 23, 2014, and before Sgt Maurice McCabe appeared before the same on Tuesday, January 28.
Mr Kean had received a briefing from Mr Callinan before the show and has told the tribunal that Mr Callinan instructed him not to reveal him [Callinan] as his source of information – a claim Mr Callinan denies.
Mr Callinan has told the tribunal that he didn’t tell Mr Kean anything that wasn’t already in the public domain.
Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson sued over the comments.
Further to this…
Yesterday the tribunal heard that on January 9, 2013, Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne emailed Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony.
Since October 2012, Mr O’Mahony had been leading Operation Squeeze which was investigating the penalty points controversy internally for An Garda Siochana.
His report was eventually published in May 2013.
In the January 2013 email, Mr Byrne told Mr O’Mahony that he had received several telephone calls over the previous few days from a Bernard McCabe.
Mr Byrne identified him as the “uncle of the whistleblower“.
Mr Byrne further stated that Bernard McCabe alleged he had a lot of information about the whistleblower and wanted to meet a member of An Garda Siochana to discuss the matter.
Mr Byrne also wrote:
“I told him I was not the appropriate person to speak with as you had been appointed by the Commissioner [Martin Callinan] “to investigate issues raised by the whistleblower”.
Mr Byrne said he told Bernard McCabe that Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony would arrange contact with Mr McCabe.
The tribunal then saw an email dated January 10, 2013 from Asst Commissioner O’Mahony to Detective Chief Superintendent Padraig Kennedy of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation which, the tribunal was told, deals with serious crime.
In this email, Mr O’Mahony wrote that, further to their telephone conversation, “you [Det Chief Supt Kennedy] should make contact with Mr McCabe and listen to what he has to offer. Report in course”.
The tribunal then saw Detective Chief Supt Padraig Kennedy emailed Detective Superintendent George Kyne on May 17, 2013.
The two men subsequently visited Bernard McCabe’s house and spoke to him and his son Fintan.
At the time of the visit, the tribunal heard, Det Supt Kyne was involved in a very serious murder investigation in Dundalk.
Det Supt Kyne then directed a detective garda to prepare a report on this visit.
This report document, headlined “Operation Squeeze” detailed how Bernard and Fintan McCabe alleged that two people who had been arrested for drunk driving had got off, on account of an interference by Sgt McCabe.
Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, explained to the tribunal that the allegations were investigated and found to be “utterly bogus”.
It should be noted that, at the aforementioned meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on January 23, 2014 – in which the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan made his “disgusting” remark – Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald asked Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony why Sgt McCabe hadn’t been consulted when he was carrying out his investigation into the quashing of penalty points.
Mr O’Mahony told the committee:
“First and foremost the documentation provided to the Commissioner and subsequently to me was unsigned and unattributed. I proceeded with my examination on the basis I was dealing with anonymous allegations.”
The tribunal also saw another letter written by another Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, on December 15, 2016, in which he said he “was tasked with meeting Bernard McCabe”.
“On the 15th December 2016, I was tasked with meeting Mr Bernard McCabe, uncle of Sergeant McCabe, in relation to assertions he was making in relation to persons that he alleged had got off with various road traffic offences.”
“I was with Bernard McCabe for approximately two hours.”
“Bernard McCabe handed me copies of newspaper cuttings in relation to Maurice McCabe and Mr. Shatter. He did not wish to commit anything to writing. He made assertions that Sergeant McCabe was influential in letting people off with road traffic offences going back 15 years. I subsequently made a memo of my meeting with him. I was of the opinion that Bernard McCabe has issues with Sergeant McCabe.”
“And that he wanted An Garda Síochána to investigate Sergeant McCabe but had no material to support his assertions.
“I advised Bernard McCabe to contact me again if he had any more specific information or if he wanted to pursue a complaint. I also advised him that he could go to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
“I was satisfied that the information/material I received from Bernard McCabe wouldn’t merit proceeding with a formal investigation against Maurice McCabe and I made Bernard McCabe aware of that fact.”
Asst Commissioner John O’Mahony is scheduled to give evidence to the tribunal.
The tribunal has also heard that a document compiling matters pertaining to Sgt McCabe was created in June 2013 by Mr Callinan’s then private secretary Frank Walsh.
Mr Walsh went on to become the private secretary to Mr Callinan’s successor Noirin O’Sullivan.
Mr McMcDowell called it a “compendium of bad news about Sgt McCabe” as it stretches back many years.
Mr Callinan said he doesn’t know “the provenance of the document. I don’t know who commissioned it, I don’t know who compiled it, I don’t know anything about it”.
The tribunal continues.