Tag Archives: Disclosures Tribunal

Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton

Today.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

It heard from three witnesses – Tom Brady, former security editor of the Irish Independent; Fergus O’Shea, former deputy news editor of the Irish Sun; and Robert Cox, deputy editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

It’s understood, as things stand, these were the tribunal’s final witnesses.

However, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, did say the tribunal’s legal counsel will have to review things and see if there is any other evidence they feel should be put before Judge Charleton and if there is any possible need to recall any witnesses to give further evidence.

The tribunal heard that, as of this afternoon, there has been no call by any legal team for anyone to be recalled.

Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton also heard submissions from various legal parties in relation to journalistic privilege (see more below).

Before finishing today’s hearing, Judge Charleton listed 20 questions that he said the legal teams may wish to consider ahead of making submissions in relation to the final module.

Judge Charleton said he will meet with the tribunal’s legal team in the Four Courts on Monday morning and then may hear these submissions on Wednesday.

Judge Charleton’s questions were…

1. What kind of talk, communication or innuendo can fairly be said to come within the terms of reference? What is the full extent of any calumny or detraction against Maurice McCabe that should be regarded as proven as a matter of probability?

2. To what extent are political, journalistic and Garda rumours or talk necessarily to be considered?

3. Is there any truth in the protected disclosure of Superintendent Taylor? Is he a witness whose evidence in any respect can be accepted? Should it, as a matter of prudence, be subject to a corroboration/caution warning?

4. Is it possible to tell from a false denial, for instance, but not limited to Superintendent Taylor or to any journalist, that the opposite to an assertion is in fact the truth?

5. Is what Superintendent Taylor claims to have been done on behalf of Commissioner Callinan an understatement of the reality of what he in fact did? Did he do whatever he did at the behest of Commissioner Callinan or did he do it with the acquiescence or any knowledge by Deputy Commissioner O’Sullivan?

6. To what extent, if at all, is the account of Maurice McCabe as to what he was told by Superintendent Taylor reliable and accurate despite any contradiction by Michelle Taylor and Superintendent Taylor?

7. To what extent do Maurice McCabe’s reports of Superintendent Taylor in relation to phones or electronic devices influence Superintendent Taylor’s creditworthiness? Should a preference be made or what might be the effect of making a preference for Maurice McCabe’s protected disclosure?

8. Of what relevance are the allegations of Superintendent Taylor as to his phones and the seizures thereof? That includes all electronic devices.

9. Of what relevance are the allegations of Superintendent Taylor as to Commissioner O’Sullivan, Detective Superintendent McGowan, Chief Superintendent Clerkin and his false High Court application?

10. Why were the disciplinary proceedings against Superintendent Taylor withdrawn and what are the terms of that withdrawal and the termination of the High Court proceedings?

11. Is there any inference to be drawn from changes of phones, loss of computers or phones, or failures to remember pin numbers by Commissioner Callinan, Commissioner O’Sullivan or Superintendent Taylor? Is there any other phone or computer evidence of relevance?

12. To what extent, if any, can the allegations of John McGuinness TD, Philip Boucher-Hayes, Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General, and John Deasy TD be relied on, and even though merely guided by the rules of evidence and not bound by them, is this Tribunal in a position to say that they corroborate or support each other?

13. If these are to be believed or accepted as probable, what is the full extent of the allegation of calumny against Maurice McCabe? Is Superintendent Taylor reducing his role and if so, does this factor lessen or completely dissolve his credibility?

14. What led to the visits of Debbie McCann, Eavan Murray and Paul Williams to the home of Ms. D? In that regard, has journalistic privilege been properly and honestly relied on and is there any evidence proffered by these parties that is reliable? What in truth happened? Did the visits have any Garda inspiration?

15. To what extent, if any, does the evidence of the D family members remain relevant?

16. To what extent is any incorrect invocation of journalistic privilege such as to give rise to any inference, and if so, what inference does any incorrect invocation of journalistic privilege give rise to?

17. What is the relevance of question 5 as to any incorrect or dishonest invocation of journalistic privilege?

18. To what extent do journalistic clashes, seven of them now today, apart from that between Alison O’Reilly and Debbie McCann, require to be resolved or even recorded in a report to the Houses of the Oireachtas? And if so, Why?

19. To what extent does the Tribunal have to report on or comment on political involvement or the actions of any individual public representative?

20. Going through the terms of reference, the parties might be so kind as to precisely and concisely give an answer to what each party regards as having been supported by probable evidence.

After reading out his questions, Judge Charleton said:

“So, that is just an indication of thinking, it is no more than that. It may help, it may not.”

From today’s hearing…

UPDATE:

The George Bernard Shaw line, quoted by Judge Charleton was that “the alter upon which Irish martyrs are consecrated is the gallows“.

Judge Charleton also included RTÉ’s crime correspondent Paul Reynolds and Tim Vaughan, former editor of the Irish Examiner, in respect of this point about martyrdom.

From top: RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds covering the Jastine Valdez search in May; with Ray Burke, RTÉ producer; leaving the tribunal last week

Paul Reynolds has been employed by RTÉ for the past 27 years and has been the State broadcaster’s crime correspondent since Veronica Guerin’s death in 1996.

He gave evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal over three days last week.

The tribunal is examining allegations by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed, in mid-2013, by the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan – with the knowledge of Mr Callinan’s successor Nóirín O’Sullivan – to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe was driven by maliciousness and motivated by revenge due to an allegation of sexual assault made against him in 2006.

This was the allegation made by a Ms D – the daughter of a former Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe who was sanctioned after Sgt McCabe made a complaint on foot of the colleague attending the scene of a suicide after drinking alcohol.

In April 2007, the DPP found Ms D’s allegation had no foundation.

Supt Taylor alleges that he was instructed to tell journalists about this allegation and to tell them that the DPP ruled against a prosecution, but that he was to convey that it was the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

Following on from this, the reasons Mr Reynolds was giving evidence to the tribunal were three-fold:

– The former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor claims Mr Reynolds is one of the 11 journalists he claims to have negatively briefed against Sgt McCabe in 2013/2014. Mr Reynolds denies this.

– Dublin City University professor and journalist Colm Kenny claims Mr Reynolds was one of two security correspondents – the other being Tom Brady, of the Irish Independent – who told him in early 2014 that Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse at the time. Mr Reynolds also denies this and the tribunal has heard Mr Brady denies the allegation too.

– The tribunal was tasked with looking at reports by Mr Reynolds on a leaked report of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation on May 9, 2016 – ahead of the report’s official publication – in which he reported Sgt McCabe “lied”. The report said Sgt McCabe told an “untruth”.

In relation to the allegation that Supt Taylor briefed Mr Reynolds about Sgt McCabe, Supt Taylor claimed he would have done this at crime scenes or press conferences.

Mr Reynolds – who said he became aware of a child sex abuse allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2013 in the context of the penalty points controversy – gave a lengthy, and somewhat breathless, account as to why this would never happen.

He said:

“Well, that didn’t happen. And anybody who knows how reporters work in the field, knows that that, you know, couldn’t happen the way it is explained there. If I can give you an example, Chairman.

“For example, I go to a lot of murder scenes. They’re busy places. I arrive with a camera crew or a satellite van. I get at the scene. I have to find out what is going on, what happened, what are the details. I’m moving around, I’m trying to identify if there are any eyewitnesss. I’m trying to — we’re trying to, you know, for everything, to try and find parking for the satellite van and trying to find location for a live view.

“You’re trying to find out what happened, who the victim is, what the situation is, what the circumstances are. You’re waiting for the guards to arrive, you’re waiting for, is there going to be a press briefing, there may be a press briefing and whether it’s at the scene or whether it’s at the Garda station, and the senior officer will arrive and that is usually when the press officer will arrive.

“So the press officer will be in the company of the senior investigating officer. But when Dave Taylor was the Press Officer, more often than not he would do it himself. I would be just one of a number of journalists there. There’s a thing called the huddle, where the microphones are set up, we’re in a group, and in many cases I tend to be asking all the questions because I have responsibility both to television and radio, so we tend to try and put an elongated interview on the radio, and you’re asking questions about the murder and the circumstances, you’re getting as much information as you can so you can broadcast it.

“Once you have that information, you’re gone to the satellite van, you’re trying to get the stuff together. The idea that someone would come in, or, you know, that a press officer would sidle over to you and — in the middle of a particular story and try and talk to you about something completely innocuous, completely different, you know, it doesn’t make sense, really, and it’s not — it wouldn’t happen.

“And how was I separated, you know, the goat, how was I separated from the sheep within the huddle, that we’re all there, we’re all trying to work on this story, so how was I separated
for this particular negative briefing, how were journalists separated, how were other journalists not separated? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t see how it is possible.”

Supt Taylor’s counsel John Ferry BL later put it to Mr Reynolds that he is the “newsman in this country” and suggested it was “completely unrealistic” that he would learn about the past allegation against Sgt McCabe and simply dismiss it.

Mr Ferry said:

“So you have a situation where the journalist that is normally in front of Garda Headquarters, normally in front of the Department of Justice or normally standing in front of a murder scene tent on the six o’clock news, he is told that the actual sergeant who is raising the penalty points issue that the Garda Commissioner is held answerable to has been accused of child sexual abuse in the past… and the journalist says that is the end, no further inquiries?”

It’s a bit like, I don’t know if you ever saw the Naked Gun movies and Lieutenant Drebin is standing in front of the fireworks factory that has just gone on fire and he is giving a press conference to the media and saying move along folks, nothing to see here while the entire fireworks factory is exploding in the sky behind them.”

Mr Reynolds, after saying he knew Sgt McCabe had been exonerated, told Mr Ferry he should work in television.

In relation to Mr Kenny’s claim, Mr Reynolds said this conversation never took place.

When giving evidence Mr Kenny told the tribunal that in early 2014, two security correspondents – whom he didn’t name but whose names he gave to the tribunal – told him Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child sex abuse.

He didn’t appear to be sure of the date during which this alleged conversation took place.

But he said he felt the two journalists were telling him to “cop himself on” and to “not take Sgt McCabe at face value”.

He also said they encouraged him to go and talk to gardai “up there” – which Mr Kenny took to mean gardai in Cavan/Monaghan.

Mr Kenny said they didn’t name any specific people with whom he should discuss the matter.

Mr Kenny said he subsequently went to Sgt McCabe and learned of the DPP’s directions.

He mentioned Sgt McCabe and the DPP’s directions in an article on March 2, 2014 in the Sunday Independentalmost a week before the Irish Independent’s Paul Williams, who was the only journalist to write an article about Ms D in 2014, interviewed Ms D on March 8, 2014. [Mr Williams has since told the tribunal that he doesn’t believe he saw Mr Kenny’s article at the time].

Mr Kenny said the two journalists – whom he said he took very seriously – definitely did not indicate that the child sex abuse allegation was something from the past which had been dismissed by the DPP.

Mr Reynolds categorically denied Mr Kenny’s claim and the tribunal has heard Mr Brady also disputes the claim.

It was put to Mr Reynolds that Mr Kenny believed the conversation may have taken place sometime around a Dáil committee meeting in February 2014 and, in particular, one on February 19, 2014.

Mr Reynolds said he wasn’t at that committee meeting that day, he wasn’t working that day and he was ill that afternoon.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal:

“The conversation that he alleges didn’t happen…I never spoke to him about Sgt McCabe…The man is mistaken…For the last five years, Mr Kenny has been writing disparagingly and factually incorrectly about me.”

Separate to his reports on the leaked O’Higgins Commission of Investigation report in May 2016, Mr Reynolds was also asked about reports he did two years before that – on February 24, 2014 – in relation to the internal penalty points investigation by Asst Commissioner John O’Mahoney.

Apart from allegedly telling journalists about the Ms D allegation, Supt Taylor claims, in his protected disclosure, that he was also to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe didn’t cooperate with an internal Garda investigation called Operation Squeeze into the quashing of penalty points led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony – which began in October 2012 and reported in May 2013.

Specifically, Supt Taylor said:

I was instructed by the Commissioner to brief the media that Sergeant McCabe had refused to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony. I later found out that this was untrue.”

[It should be noted that this was a claim made by celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show on Sunday, January 26, 2014 – after Mr Callinan appeared before the Public Accounts Committee 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.

In addition, Supt Taylor told the tribunal that the only journalist who pushed back at him in relation to this was Conor Lally, of The Irish Times and that Mr Lally told Supt Taylor he didn’t believe the claim.

When Mr Lally gave evidence, he initially said he couldn’t recall ever having such a conversation with Supt Taylor but then said: “I really can’t get into, for reasons of source protection I really can’t get into specific conversations that I had with individual Garda members.”

He then said: “I don’t remember any conversation with him about that issue, and I’m not sure that conversation took place, actually.”]

Mr Reynolds reported on the O’Mahony investigation on February 24, 2014 – about a month after the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan made his “disgusting” remark at the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Reynolds reported:

The Garda Commissioner wrote to the whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, 14 months ago and told him to cooperate with the investigation into allegations that penalty points had been cancelled.

Martin Callinan issued a direction to the sergeant on the 14th December 2012 to cooperate with the investigation being carried out by the Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony and directing him to bring any information or concerns he had to the inquiry.

The Garda Síochána is a disciplined force and members are required to comply with directions issued by the Commissioner. It is understood that Sergeant McCabe may have been on sick leave for a number of months from December 2012 and did not contact the assistant commissioner until April 2013, by which time the investigation had been completed.”

Mr Reynolds explained to the the tribunal how he came to write this report.

His first report about the matter went on the RTE website at 14.28pm – after he got sight of a letter which was read out to Sgt McCabe in December 2014 by Chief Supt Mark Curran. This letter can be read here.

Mr Reynolds said he didn’t get it from Supt Taylor and that he got it from someone else.

Mr Reynolds said after this story went up online, he sought an on-the-record response from Garda Headquarters and Sgt McCabe.

He said, within about 90 minutes, he received an on-the-record response from Supt Taylor which stated that the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told Sgt McCabe to cooperate with the O’Mahony investigation.

Mr Reynolds then updated his story at around 4pm.

Later that day, Sgt McCabe gave a response to Katie Hannon of RTÉ’s Prime Time and Mr Reynolds said he then incorporated Sgt McCabe’s response into his reports later that evening and the following morning.

The tribunal saw that, a few days after Mr Reynolds’ report on the O’Mahony investigation, John Burke, of RTÉs This Week radio show, wrote to the Garda Press Office:

“In light of statements given in the Dáil during the week and the statement by Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe with regard to whether Sergeant McCabe cooperated with the O’Mahony inquiry into penalty points, can you please inform RTÉ’s This Week programme whether the Garda Commissioner wishes to add or amend any remarks he has put into the public domain or which have been attributed to him with regard to this matter.”

In response, Tony Connaughton, of the Garda Press Office, wrote back to Mr Burke saying:

The Garda Commissioner wishes to confirm that he did not put any remarks into the public domain. Any comments that the Garda Commissioner wishes to put on the public record will be by way of official statement issued by the Garda Press Office or face-to-face
interviews quoting what the Garda Commissioner wishes to convey.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission have been appointed to investigate this matter, and therefore it is inappropriate to comment.”

To recap.

Mr Reynolds says he did a report for RTE based on an on-the-record statement from Garda HQ – via Supt Taylor – but Mr Callinan, via the Garda Press Office, later told a separate RTE reporter that he did not put any remarks into the public domain and that the matter was being investigated by GSOC.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal he only saw Mr Burke’s email exchange while sitting in the witness box.

He also told the tribunal:

“Well, I mean, I spoke to the Garda Press Officer, I wrote up the story, it went on-line at four o’clock, there were no complaints from the Garda Press Officer, and I had spoken to him a number of times later on that evening and there were no complaints from the Garda Commissioner or the Garda Press Office in relation to the inaccuracy of the story.”

He added:

“I know I got an official statement from the Garda Press Office. I put it on the record and I attributed it…So if there was any problems with it, I would have heard.”

Kathleen Leader then had this exchange with Mr Reynolds:

Leader: “…what I am suggesting to you is, it would seem to be that at least Superintendent Taylor was making it clear to you, as I understand it, that Sergeant McCabe had not cooperated with the O’Mahony inquiry.”

Reynolds: “First of all, I was never briefed by Superintendent Taylor that Sergeant McCabe refused to cooperate.”

Leader: “Yes.”

Reynolds: “I never reported that he refused to cooperate. I was given a statement from Garda Headquarters that said the Garda Commissioner said he didn’t cooperate.”

Leader: “Okay.”

Reynolds: “And that is what I published.”

It should be noted that Asst Commissioner John O’Mahony – when he gave evidence on June 6 last – was shown Mr Reynolds’ report and said he was not Mr Reynolds’ source and never spoke to Mr Reynolds about it.

He also says that what Mr Reynolds reported “wouldn’t be my view either in relation to what
had actually happened”.

Asst Comm O’Mahony – when he gave his evidence – also made it known publicly for the first time that he purposefully didn’t engage with Sgt McCabe when he was carrying out his investigation as he felt “precluded” from doing so, due to regulations.

He also said Mr Callinan would “been aware of the process” he was undertaking.

Meanwhile, in regards to Mr Reynolds’ reports on the leaked O’Higgins Commission of Investigation report on May 9, 2016…

In Sgt McCabe’s protected disclosure of September 2016, Sgt McCabe said he was on work-related stress and:

“One of the reasons for this is to a disgraceful series of broadcasts on RTÉ on 9th May 2016 purporting to leak an account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission report in which I was branded a liar and irresponsible.

“I am now satisfied on impeccable authority that those RTÉ broadcasts were planned and orchestrated by the Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan personally using briefing material prepared at Garda Headquarters.”

The tribunal has already heard that Sgt McCabe’s “impeccable authority” for this claim is John Barrett, the head of HR at An Garda Síochána. Sgt McCabe told the tribunal that Mr Barrett told Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine during a visit to their home.

But Mr Barrett, the tribunal has heard, says this conversation did not take place.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, told the tribunal last Friday that Sgt McCabe would not be withdrawing the allegation. He said:

“Sergeant McCabe isn’t in a position to withdraw anything; he has faithfully reported to the Tribunal what he was told by Mr Barrett and it’s up to this Tribunal to ascertain whether his account of what Mr Barrett told him is correct or whether it’s not, but he is not withdrawing his testimony as to what he was told by Mr Barrett.”

Mr Barrett will resume giving evidence on this on Thursday.

Mr Reynolds, who told the tribunal he would have risen “through the ranks” with Ms O’Sullivan, said he only became aware of Sgt McCabe in 2013 due to the penalty point controversies that arose that year.

In December 2012, People Before Profit TD Joan Collins named Irish Independentjournalist Paul Williams as having had points quashed while, in April 2013, Gemma O’Doherty, in the Irish Independent, reported that points pertaining to the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had been quashed.

[The tribunal has repeatedly heard Sgt McCabe wasn’t the source of Ms O’Doherty’s story].

Mr Reynolds said, also in 2013 and in the context of the penalty points controversies, he became aware of a child sex abuse allegation which had been made in the past about Sgt McCabe.

Similar to other journalists – such as Conor Lally, of The Irish Times, Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star, and John Mooney, of The Sunday Times – Mr Reynolds said the matter never concerned him because of his knowledge of the DPP’s directions in relation to it.

He said:

“I think I first heard that there had been an allegation some time around 2013, but I heard it all together, if you know what I mean, I heard there had been an allegation but that there was nothing to do it, and then I heard four facts in relation to it: I heard the fact that there was an allegation, I heard the fact that there was an investigation, I heard the fact that a file had been sent to the DPP and I heard the fact that there was no prosecution. And that’s it…once I heard that the DPP had decided there was no prosecution, it was… as far as I was concerned, it was nothing to do with me as a reporter.”

In his statement to the tribunal, Mr Reynolds said: “I do know that the allegation was circulating for a time in media, Garda and political circles.”

He also told the tribunal:

“I knew politicians knew about it, I knew journalists knew about it, I knew Gardaí knew about it, but I also knew myself about it and I knew there was nothing in it.”

Mr Reynolds was asked if he ever thought that when he heard about the allegation, did he feel it was being linked to Sgt McCabe’s motivation for making complaints about poor policing in Cavan/Monaghan.

Mr Reynolds was categorical that this wasn’t the case.

He said:

“No, I’ve never heard that, and that didn’t make sense to me…Because he was exonerated.”

And yet, reference to the Ms D allegation came up twice in notes that Mr Reynolds took in April and May of 2016 – ahead of his reports on his leaked copies of the O’Higgins report.

Mr Reynolds referred to his notes as “bits and bobs”, he said some things he jotted down were his own reflections while others were notes of conversations he had with others.

In his April notes, Mr Reynolds wrote down:

Sgt in charge
– Complain against him
– Investigation locally (mistake)
(Wrong) – Supt Clancy

Mr Reynolds said that this note was born out of a conversation he had with a person who was talking to him about the 2006 Ms D allegation.

He said:

“The person I was talking to told me that the — in the — the allegation in 2006 was investigated locally and that was a mistake, it shouldn’t have been investigated by the local inspector. It was kept in that division, it should have been — an officer from outside the district or the division should have been appointed to look after that. That was what the person told me.”

When asked by Kathleen Leader what the D allegation had to do with the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, Mr Reynolds said:

“Well, nothing really, yeah. This is the sort of thing that comes up in conversation, when you are talking about policing in Bailieboro, the problems of the division, you know, and it would have been a conversation like that, you know, that would have been wide-ranging, where I would have heard, first of all, about — the allegation would have come up and somebody would have said, oh, there was a complaint made in 2006 but sure there was nothing in it. And I’d say, oh, what do you mean a complaint? Well, there was a complaint made, it was abuse of a minor, it was investigated, there was a file sent to the DPP and there was no prosecution. Oh, right, okay.”

Asked if he believed this information was being relayed to him by means of explaining Sgt McCabe’s complaints thereafter, Mr Reynolds said:

“No I don’t believe so.”

Asked if that information came from Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Reynolds said: No.

Ms Leader later referred to the second time the Ms D allegation cropped up in his notes -this time in May 2016.

The note said:

“Initial complaint, 2 [guards] working in the same station. Boss down the corridor asked to investigate it.”

Again, Ms Leader asked Mr Reynolds what the Ms D allegation had to do with the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Mr Reynolds said:

I don’t know where it came from. It could have come from a conversation.

Mr Reynolds repeated that he never believed that the Ms D allegation was the source of Sgt McCabe’s complaints.

He then had this exchange with Ms Leader:

Leader: “Why did you think you were being told about it?”

Reynolds: “I didn’t think about that.”

Leader:You’re a journalist; surely, Mr Reynolds, you would put — ask a question, why am I being told about this?”

Reynolds:No, well, you see, I already knew at that stage that there was no prosecution.”

Leader: “Well, that is exactly the point.”

Reynolds: “Yeah.”

Leader: “So why are you being told about it? Did you ever ask yourself that?”

Reynolds:No.

Tomorrow we will publish a comprehensive report on Mr Reynolds’s RTE reports of May 9, 2014.

The tribunal resumes on Thursday.

Yesterday: A New Disclosure

Rollingnews

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton

The Disclosures Tribunal will resume on Thursday.

It’s examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe, as alleged by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.

The tribunal will sit from 10am to 4pm on Thursday with the following witnesses scheduled:

John Barrett, head of human resources at An Garda Síochána; Niamh O’Connor, RTE; Tom Donnelly, RTE; editor of the Irish Mirror, John Kierans; retired superintendent John McCann; Fergus O’Shea, formerly of the Irish Sun; Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly; Independents 4 Change TD; Mick Wallace, Cathal McMahon, formerly of the Irish Mirror; and Tom Brady, of security correspondent at the Irish Independent.

On Friday, the tribunal will sit from 9am until 12.45pm when it is scheduled to hear from witnesses not heard on Thursday and Robert Cox, news editor at the Irish Mail on Sunday.

According to the tribunal’s website, Judge Peter Charleton will hear submissions on journalistic privilege after the aforementioned witnesses give evidence so they will be heard on Friday and Saturday, from 10am.

The website states:

Submissions on journalistic privilege will commence directly after the completion of evidence. The Sole member in exercising his powers of case management as a High Court judge, has directed that no oral submission is to exceed 30 minutes. No written submissions are sought, but a short speaking note, not exceeding 5,000 words, that may be used or handed in on the day.

The website adds that any remaining witnesses may be heard next Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 10am and 4pm.

It says:

If a referral to the High Court is made, the tribunal will adjourn appropriately with no known recommencement date. If a referral is not made, final submissions will be taken during this week in accordance with the time sought by parties, with flexibility allowed as reasonable. Submissions if desired are to the tribunal and can be a speaking note used or handed in on the day, as in the taking of submissions previously.”

Previously: A New Disclosure

Disclosures Tribunal

Rollingnews

INM’s Paul Williams and Dearbhail McDonald at the Dublin Castle this week

Independent News and Media Group Business Editor Dearbhail McDonald gave evidence on Tuesday at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Ms McDonald was asked about her involvement in the editorial process ahead of the publication of Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams’s first article about Ms D and Sgt Maurice McCabe which was published on April 12, 2014.

Ms McDonald, who would have been Legal Editor at INM at the time, was tasked with “stress-testing” and “fact-checking” Mr Williams’ first article about Sgt McCabe and Ms D.

Ultimately, she told the tribunal, she advised against Mr Williams’ first draft being published.

She also told Micheál Ó Higgins SC, for An Garda Síochána, that her advice led to Sgt McCabe’s reputation being “protected”, saying:

“I believe that the advices that I gave and the role that I played actually went to ensure that Mr McCabe’s reputation was protected. I gave advices, I’m not going to go into the specific advices that I gave. But the ultimate decision of an editor is final. And perhaps I wouldn’t — well, I know I advised against publication.”

Ms McDonald told Judge Peter Charleton:

“For reasons of confidentiality and privilege, I don’t want to go into the specific advices that I gave, but certainly there were material changes between the draft I saw and the article that was ultimately published.”

The tribunal has since asked Mr Williams if he can furnish the tribunal with the first draft of his first story on Ms D.

Both Ms McDonald and Mr Williams have both told the tribunal that they never spoke to each other about her “stress-testing” of his article – with Mr Williams saying he only learned last month of what she did through statements given to the tribunal.

The tribunal is examining a claim by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan – with the knowledge of Mr Callinan’s successor Nóirín O’Sullivan – to negatively brief journalists about Sgt McCabe by telling them about the Ms D allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006.

In December 2006, the daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s, referred to as Ms D, made an allegation of ‘dry humping’ against Sgt McCabe to gardai.

The matter was investigated by then Inspector Noel Cunningham, his investigation went to the DPP and, in April 2007, the DPP unequivocally ruled there was no basis for a prosecution.

Supt Taylor alleges that he was instructed to tell journalists about Ms D’s 2006 allegation and to tell them that, while the DPP ruled against a prosecution, the investigation was still the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

The tribunal has already heard that three journalists called to the D family home in early 2014 – Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun; and Mr Williams.

However, only Mr Williams – who interviewed Ms D and part-videoed an interview with Ms D on March 8, 2014 – wrote about Ms D in 2014.

He wrote four articles about Ms D which were published April and May 2014.

Mr Williams has told the tribunal he was not negatively briefed by either Supt Taylor, Ms O’Sullivan or Mr Callinan.

Ms O’Sullivan and Mr Callinan both deny Supt Taylor’s claims.

Ms McDonald explained to the tribunal that in March 2014 – at a time when she was covering the Anglo trial of Pat Whelan, Willie McAteer and Sean FitzPatrick in the Criminal Courts of Justice – she was asked by then INM Group Editor Stephen Rae to “stress-test” Mr Williams’ first article about Ms D.

Ms McDonald said she was asked to:

“…essentially stress-test a story that had been written by a colleague that they were considering for a publication, and I was tasked with that by my editor and asked to go off and make my own inquiries and to come back and see was it fit for publication, in my view, in terms of both being legally and factually robust…”

She further explained that she did know the article was about Sgt McCabe, saying:

“Yeah, at that stage it was fairly evident that it was, and I undertook my own inquiries and
reported back to my editor, Stephen Rae, to our group head of news, Ian Mallon, and, as the Tribunal is aware from my statement, I did compose a memo over which I’ve raised confidentiality and privilege, outlining some of my observations, concerns and the risks as I perceived them, and that was the end of the matter for me.”

Ms McDonald told the tribunal that she was given both the article and the video interview to consider before she made her own “inquiries”.

She also said that in/or around March 14 she would have watched the video in the company of Mr Rae and Mr Mallon.

[Mr Mallon can’t recall any meeting about the article or seeing the video]

Ms McDonald said she wrote up a memo, with her notes, as part of her inquiries and:

“It was quite a discrete function, task that I had been assigned. I did that. I had no — I wasn’t apprised of anything that happened before that, or how it came about, and I had no interaction thereafter with it. I went back to the CCJ [Criminal Courts of Justice] after that.”

Ms McDonald was asked by the counsel for An Garda Síochána if she was aware of the criticism that has been levelled against Mr Williams for him not contacting Sgt McCabe ahead of the publication of his series of articles.

[Mr Williams has already told the tribunal that he didn’t feel he needed to contact Sgt McCabe because Sgt McCabe wasn’t identified in the articles – though Sgt McCabe, and many witnesses have already told the tribunal they believed the articles were about him when they read them]

In response to this, Ms McDonald said:

“I have no knowledge of that because I was brought in specifically to assess or give my views or opinions, I have no absolutely no carriage or knowledge of what the company otherwise did in terms of liaising with Mr. McCabe or any of the relevant parties.”

However.

Yesterday, Mr Ó Higgins SC, for An Garda Síochána, asked Mr Williams if he was aware that Ms McDonald, as part of her fact-checking exercise, contacted Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, in March 2014.

Mr Williams said he wasn’t aware of this until April of this year – via the tirbunal.

Judge Charleton said there was nothing wrong with this contact between Ms McDonald and Mr McDowell, saying it was “a perfectly legitimate exercise as opposed to taking sides” while Mr Ó Higgins SC, for the gardaí, saying he wasn’t suggesting otherwise.

Separately.

The tribunal has heard intermittently about a ‘poison pen’ letter, dated February 26, 2014, about Sgt McCabe which was sent to RTÉ and INM.

On Tuesday, Ms McDonald was asked about this letter and her knowledge, if any, of it.

She told Kathleen Leader SC, for the tribunal:

“It was the Tribunal through — or my lawyer, our lawyers, through the Tribunal, that brought attention to it, and I have no knowledge of it, no receipt of it, haven’t had it in my possession, did not see it until it was provided by the Tribunal.

And just even in terms of my own general practice, I do maintain a readers’ correspondence file where it’s suitable to hold on to material, and, if I had received that, I would have brought it to the attention of the relevant news editor or person that was working on it.

But I certainly, if it had been in possession, would not have given it away. I have a practice of retaining important correspondence when I receive it, including unsolicited and anonymous correspondence.”

Later, it was put to Ms McDonald by Mr Ó Higgins SC, for the gardaí, that, according to a statement of Sgt McCabe, Ms McDonald had “a role in relation to the issuance or the production of that letter and it coming to the attention of Sergeant McCabe’s side of the house?

Ms McDonald said this was incorrect.

She said:

“And I just have to take issue and disagree with that because I am quite emphatic about my knowledge. The first time I saw or received the letter, had knowledge of the so-called foxtrot bravo letter, when it was brought to my attention courtesy of the Tribunal.”

She added:

He [Sgt McCabe] says, “it was my understanding”, namely Mr McCabe’s understanding at the time, that the document had been given to a person. That was — that is not the case.”

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, yesterday asked Mr Williams about this letter.

They had the following exchange:

McGuinness: “…just one final matter. The investigators asked you about this and you were shown a document… This is a letter dated — purported to be dated the 26th February of 2014, and Sergeant McCabe, when being interviewed by Mr [Sean] Guerin, read a fragment of it to Mr Guerin in connection with an allegation of sexual assault of a minor.”

Williams: “I’m aware of this, yeah.”

McGuinness: “So that was on the 1st April. And he told Mr. Guerin that his counsel had got it from the Irish Independent…”

Williams: “I read the statement…”

McGuinness: “…a couple of weeks earlier than that?”

Williams:He told Mr Guerin that he got it — that his counsel, Mr McDowell, got it from Dearbhail McDonald in the Irish Independent. I read that. In 2014, this was?”

McGuinness:Yes.”

Williams: “I saw that, yeah.”

McGuinness: “And Sergeant McCabe then made a statement explaining his understanding of it…We’ve also been informed that Prime Time received this at the end of February. And we belatedly received a copy of that, a version of that letter from them since.”

Williams: “Prime Time received it when?”

McGuinness: “In February 2014.”

Williams: “Is this the same document?”

McGuinness: “Yes.”

Williams: “Oh, right, okay.”

McGuinness: “But just in the context of this issue as to whether it came to the Independent, did you ever see this letter before?”

Williams: “The first time I ever heard about this document was in April when the Tribunal contacted my solicitor, and I saw it then the next day. I had no knowledge of it, never saw it before in my life.”

McGuinness: “And you heard no talk of it, about having been received or…”

Williams: “Never heard of it.”

McGuinness: “…going the rounds…”

Williams: “No.”

McGuinness: “… or going to any other news organisations…”

Williams: “No.”

McGuinness: “… or chitchat. Ms [Katie] Hannon referred to it in a broadcast in July 2016 on a Prime Time programme.”

Williams: “No.”

McGuinness: “Did you pick up the reference from that at any stage?”

Williams: “No.”

McGuinness: “In any event, this played no part in your knowledge or
information or decision-making?”

Williams: “No, and I also am very cognisant that my colleague Dearbhail McDonald made a very unambiguous statement stating that she never saw this document and never gave it to Mr McDowell.”

McGuinness: “No, I understand that, but I am just…”

Williams: “So I don’t know the provenance of it, I don’t know where it came from.”

McGuinness: “I’m just anxious to get your evidence on the matter to advance matters. Thank you very much, Mr Williams.”

Sgt McCabe’s legal team didn’t ask any questions of either Ms McDonald or Mr Williams – who gave evidence about his articles last summer.

The tribunal resumes.

Rollingnews

From top: Eavan Murray ; Daniel McConnell; Juno McEnroe (left) and Cormac O’Keefe at Dublin Castle today

This morning/afternoon

At the Disclosures Tribunal, in Dublin Castle.

John Mooney, of The Sunday Times and Eavan Murray, of the Irish Sun, have given evidence today into the alleged smearing of Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Olga Cronin is live tweeting from the castle and can be followed here.

Also scheduled today are Cormac O’Keeffe, of the Irish Examiner, Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner, Juno McEnroe, of the Irish Examiner and Eavan Murray, of the Irish Sun.

The tribunal has already heard that these four journalists are claiming journalistic privilege.

Mr Mooney was the first journalist to name Sgt Maurice McCabe in relation to his complaints about policing in Cavan/Monaghan back in November 2010.

His article was headlined ‘Internal inquiry clears gardai’ – and it was about an inquiry carried out by the then assistant Garda Commissioner Derek Byrne.

The tribunal is examining allegations by former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he negatively briefed journalists against Sgt McCabe – by telling journalists that the “root cause” of his complaints about policing was an allegation made by the daughter (Ms D) of a Garda colleague in 2006.

Supt Taylor alleges he did this between mid-2013 and March 2014 – on the instruction of the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and with the knowledge of the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

The allegation made by Ms D was that, during a game of hide and seek in 1998, when she was about six, Sgt McCabe pressed against her.

Ms D used the word “humping” in her Garda statement.

Ms D made the allegation in a statement to gardai about 11 months after her father, Mr D, lost his position as sergeant in charge of the crime unit and was reverted to regular sergeant, following a report made by Sgt McCabe against Mr D for attending the scene of a suicide after drinking alcohol.

Ms D’s allegation was investigated by Supt Noel Cunningham and the DPP ordered that no prosecution take place.

Ms Murray, of the Irish Sun, the tribunal has already heard, was the second journalist to call to the home of Ms D in February/March 2014, after Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

It’s been the evidence of Ms McCann and the D family that Ms McCann was turned away from the door when she called.

In contrast, Mrs D said when Ms Murray called to the house, she was brought into the house and Ms Murray, Mrs D and Mr D had a cup of tea and a chat. Ms D wasn’t at the house at this time.

Mrs D told the tribunal last summer:

I suppose, we probably would have said that our daughter was after going through a couple of years of a very, very hard time and that all this Maurice McCabe stuff back in the papers again wasn’t helping her. Probably something along those lines.

Neither Ms Murray nor Ms McCann wrote articles about Ms D at the time.

The only journalist to write about Ms D in early 2014 – when the penalty points controversy was at its most intense after the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan called the actions of Sgt Maurice McCabe and Garda John Wilson “disgusting” at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in January 2014 – was Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent.

Mr Williams was the third journalist who called to the D house, on March 8, 2014, with Mr Williams writing four articles based on this interview in April and May 2014 – with the first published on April 12, 2014. Mr Williams is scheduled to give evidence this week.

Mr D also told the tribunal last summer that, around the time Ms McCann and Ms Murray called to the D home, Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star, also contacted him via Facebook.

When Mr O’Toole gave evidence last week, he wasn’t asked about this alleged attempt to contact Mr D but he said that the allegation pertaining to Ms D was “dead” to him after he first heard about the DPP’s unequivocal directions in respect of the allegation back in 2010/2011.

Mr O’Toole said no journalist “in their right mind” would have sought to write about Ms D once they knew the DPP directions.

Indeed.

The DPP’s directions included the following:

Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault. Further, the account given to her cousin [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards. There is no basis for a prosecution.

Despite this, last summer – just four days before Ms D, Mr D and Mrs D gave evidence to the tribunal – Mr O’Toole tweeted: “Hacks saying the DPP “dismissed” allegations. Really? I thought it either said enough evidence for a charge or not”. This tweet was ‘liked’ by Ms McCann.

Earlier: ‘An Awful Lot Of People Haven’t Told Me The Truth’

Non-Fiction Book Corner

Rollingnews

UPDATE:

From top: Judge Peter Charleton; From left: Conor O’Donnell, editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Debbie McCann, crime correspondent of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Sebastian Hamilton, group editor at the Irish Daily Mail

Last week.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard evidence from four Mail journalists.

The tribunal is examining allegations made by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed by the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, in the knowledge of the then Deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, to tell journalists – between mid-2013 and March 2014 – about a 2006 allegation made by a Ms D against Sgt McCabe.

This allegation was categorically dismissed by the DPP in 2007 but Supt Taylor claims he was told to convey to journalists that this 2006 allegation was the “root cause” of his complaints in relation to the gardaí and that Sgt McCabe was driven by “maliciousness”.

The Mail journalists who have given evidence are Conor O’Donnell, editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Sebastian Hamilton, group editor at the Irish Daily Mail; and Debbie McCann, crime correspondent at the Irish Mail on Sunday; and Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail and formerly of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Mr Hamilton, the tribunal heard, has managerial and strategic responsibility for both the Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday while he is also a director the publishing company DMG Media Ireland.

He specifically told the tribunal he does not have editorial responsibility for the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Similarly, Mr O’Donnell told the tribunal:

“I have full responsibility for the editorial output in The Mail on Sunday, so I don’t really have discussions, I don’t have many discussions with Sebastian Hamilton regarding what goes into the Sunday paper.”

In June 2017, Ms O’Reilly made a statement to the tribunal.

Part of this statement can be read here.

Ms O’Reilly went on to allege to the tribunal’s investigators that:

“I was told by my former colleague in the Irish Mail on Sunday, Debbie McCann, between 2013 and 2014 that Superintendent Dave Taylor and then acting Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, told her Maurice McCabe abused a girl when she was a child.”

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal about several conversations she claims to have had with Ms McCann.

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her she was worried her name was going to be printed – as she had penalty points quashed.

[Ms McCann told the tribunal she did have points quashed after she wrote to a superintendent and used a legitimate process to request they use discretion. She said: “I don’t remember having this conversation with her, but obviously I wouldn’t like to have my name printed in a newspaper in relation to this.]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her she was going to go up to Ms D’s house and “get the girl to talk”.

[Ms McCann told the tribunal: “I didn’t say that. We don’t generally go on doorsteps with a view of getting somebody to talk”.]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann called Sgt McCabe a paedo, child abuser and a dirty fucking bastard.

[Ms McCann claims this is language she wouldn’t use].

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann later told her she spent an hour with Ms D and went so far as to describe how she was sitting and holding herself as she spoke to Ms McCann.

[Ms McCann says she has never met Ms D].

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal that Ms McCann told her she’d heard about Ms D from Supt Dave Taylor and she seemed to have been very moved emotionally by Ms D’s story.

[Ms McCann refused to be drawn on what conversations she did or didn’t have with Supt Taylor]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann said Sgt McCabe was hated with the gardaí.

[Ms McCann has told the tribunal: “That’s not true, in the sense that there were plenty of Gardaí who were very much on his side on this.”]

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal that Ms McCann told her how she was upset when a story on Ms D wasn’t published. Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal:

“She [McCann] said that Conor O’Donnell wanted to put it in as an anonymous story but that editor-in-chief, Sebastian Hamilton, did not want the story in the paper. She said Sebastian was too cautious about the scandal and didn’t want to run it.”

But the tribunal has been told by Ms McCann, Mr O’Donnell and Mr Hamilton that no story was ever written.

The tribunal has heard that Ms McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, was the first journalist to call to Ms D’s home in February/March 2014.

The Irish Mail on Sunday never published a story about Ms D, while it’s been the evidence of Ms D and Ms McCann that they’ve never met or spoken over the phone.

However, the tribunal has been told that it took the Mail five months to tell the tribunal about the fact that Ms McCann did visit the home of Ms D.

And this disclosure only came after the tribunal was told about it by someone else.

The tribunal has also heard of specific correspondence between the Mail’s solicitor Michael Kealey and the tribunal.

On March 13, 2017 – after Judge Peter Charleton made his opening statement – Mr Kealey wrote to the tribunal and said, in one part of the letter:

“Journalists employed by my clients and for whom I also act may have information which falls within the terms of reference of the Tribunal.”

Asked if he was aware of this letter, Mr Hamilton said:

“I probably must have been. I don’t have any particular recollection of it.

The tribunal heard that, on March 15 2017, the tribunal also wrote separately to four journalists at the Mail – Alison O’Reilly, Debbie McCann, Jennifer Bray and Ali Bracken.

Asked about this, Mr Hamilton said: “Again, I don’t have a detailed recollection…” before asking if Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, could provide him with those names.

After he was told those names, Mr Hamilton said he must have been aware of that. But he added:

“I mean, again, I have no recollection whatsoever of it, but I must have been aware that that was happening…”

The March 15, 2017 letters were followed by further letters on April 21, 2017 in which detailed questions were sent to the four journalists.

Asked if he’s aware of this, Mr Hamilton said:

“Again, not specifically, but I’ve no doubt there is an email somewhere that informs me of that.”

Ms Leader told the tribunal there was no response to those letters and so a reminder letter was sent to the four journalists on May 2, 2017.

On May 5, 2017, a reply was sent to the May 2 reminder and the letter of April 21 which stated that the four journalists were unable to answer the questions as set out in the tribunal’s correspondence.

Ms Leader said the May 5, 2017 letter stated:

“My clients… are unable to answer the questions in your letters of the 21st April. They are concerned that, if they did so, they would breach their obligations of confidence towards sources of information or, at the very least, allow for the opening of lines of inquiry that would lead to the identification of those sources. They note the waivers [of Supt Taylor, Noirin O’Sullivan and Martin Callinan] and they say they do not release my clients from their obligations or weaken their legally-established privilege against revealing sources, either directly or indirectly.”

“…That said, as indicated by Mr. Justice Charleton at the hearing on the 30th March, I can confirm that none of the open communications that the journalists in question had with detective Superintendent Taylor relate to matters falling within the terms of reference of the Tribunal.”

Asked if there were discussions around this, Mr Hamilton said:

“I think we would have had general discussions from the beginning and I would have expressed my view, you know, which I think is clear, on my interpretation of privilege, and, you know, but the — the detailed responses would have been handled by Mr Kealey…”

Mr Hamilton did tell Ms Leader the response was in line with his approach to privilege.

On May 24, 2017, a letter was sent to Debbie McCann which outlined what Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the tribunal which included the following:

“[Alison O’Reilly] informed me that The Mail on Sunday crime correspondent, Debbie McCann, had ongoing communications with Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan during 2013 and ’14. Ms. O’Reilly said that Ms. McCann told her that the Commissioner had given information to her claiming serious sexual misconduct on the part of Sergeant McCabe. It involved a girl in Cavan whom it was alleged had been abused by Sergeant McCabe.”

Mr Kealey, the tribunal heard, then wrote back to the tribunal saying:

“Your letter and the enclosed material from Mr. Howlin gave rise to a number of matters of significance upon which I need to take detailed instructions before a response can be finalised. I will be unable to do so within the time frame.”

Then on June 2, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Ms McCann again, saying:

The Tribunal has been informed that you attended at the house of a young lady in County Cavan, who is being referred to in the Tribunal as Ms. D and who originally made an allegation of assault against Sergeant McCabe. The Tribunal would be grateful if you could furnish it with a statement relevant to the circumstances which led you to making the said approach and particularly whether this was at the suggestion or direction of any person and, in particular, and also, whether it involved in any way of any persons named in the Tribunal’s terms of reference.”

Mr Hamilton said he didn’t have a particular recollection of this letter.

He said:

“…it’s just in terms of asking me questions about my knowledge of particular letters, you know, there will be things like holidays and being away, where, you know, not having had a chance to look back at any of this, I’m kind of only going to be able to say, yes, I’m sure an email went around, but I certainly don’t recall a particular discussion of that letter, but that is not to say there wasn’t one. It’s just that kind of — with this coming slightly from left field for me, I genuinely can’t recall. You know, I am happy to go away and see if I can shed any more light on it, but I don’t remember that particular letter and the discussion around it.”

Ms Leader explained that, in July 2017, Ms McCann told the tribunal’s investigators, during an interview, about her trip to the D house.

Ms Leader put it to Mr Hamilton:

The Tribunal got information from Mr. Howlin, from the Ds, in relation to Ms. McCann’s involvement in the story… and then asked Ms McCann about it, and she told us about it. But does that in any way — is that consistent with cooperating with the Tribunal and being, once people are asked about, do you have any information?, not putting it forward but simply leaving the Tribunal find it out in another way and then dealing with it?”

Mr Hamilton said:

“My slight difficulty with that is that because I wasn’t, and never kind of had been, involved with, and wasn’t aware of at the time the approaches to — or the approach that was made to Ms. D, and I’m not certain — I’m not certain at what point I ever became aware that Debbie McCann had made an approach to Ms. D, and I can’t remember at this remove, you know, certainly without going back, whether that formed any part of any of the discussions I had been involved in, I don’t know whether — to be honest, I am not — I genuinely don’t feel I could say that I was — that I can recall being privy to the thinking behind that approach. “

Ms Leader asked Mr Hamilton if there had been a decision made at the Mail “to say, okay, we are going to claim journalistic privilege, we are not going to tell the Tribunal anything about any of our journalists knowing anything about the D story until such time as we see what other information the Tribunal gets?”

Mr Hamilton said: “I’m certainly not aware of any decision in those terms having been taken at all.”

Mr Hamilton, when giving evidence, repeatedly said that Ms O’Reilly had a grievance with the Mail.

During his evidence, which was just over an hour long, Mr Hamilton said it five times – once he said it was a “substantial” grievance and twice he said it was a “clear” grievance.

At one point the judge told him: “You know, Mr. Hamilton, you can have a grievance with somebody and still tell the truth.”

In addition, the judge outlined facts which weren’t immediately disclosed to the tribunal – which have nothing to do with Ms O’Reilly.

He said:

The fact that someone goes and knocks at somebody’s door, is a fact; the fact that they speak to somebody’s mother, is a fact; the fact that you know that, your newspaper knows that, is a fact; the fact that that is nothing to do with journalistic privilege, the fact of being at the door, but nonetheless you choose not to tell us and it takes you five months to get to the point, when we already know the information, I have to put it to you. So, I mean, it’s all very well to say journalistic privilege to journalistic privilege any number of times you wish, but at the moment that doesn’t look very impressive to me.”

The alleged grievance which Mr Hamilton was referring to is the ongoing legal action Ms O’Reilly is taking against the Mail – following the fallout of a story by Ms O’Reilly which was published in the Irish Mail on Sunday on March 27, 2016, about the Buncrana pier tragedy in which Louise James lost five family members after the Audi jeep they were in slipped off the pier and into Lough Swilly in Co Donegal.

After the story was published, Ms James complained to the newspaper and the newspaper subsequently apologised – stating Ms James had not consented to being interviewed.

Ms O’Reilly, who recorded her conversation with Ms James, has told the tribunal: “I am challenging how Mr Kealey got his apology from me and how I was treated by the company.”

She also told the tribunal: “I’m telling the Tribunal everything I know in relation to Maurice McCabe, and I have considered all of these things before I made my statement.”

On April 13, 2018, the tribunal heard that the Mail sent a letter to the tribunal outlining the matters pertaining to the Buncrana story – and alleging that Ms O’Reilly’s issues with the fallout of that are behind her claims about Ms McCann to the tirbunal.

The letter stated:

“My client believe that the state of Ms. O’Reilly’s relations with them at the time she spoke with Mr. Howlin is relevant issue and was a strong motivating factor in her actions and also, in their view, cast considerable doubt on the credibility of the witness.”

After several questions about this from Ms O’Reilly’s counsel Fíonán Ó Muircheartaigh, Judge Charleton stepped in an put to Mr Hamilton:

“…There is A and there is B and they are working for your newspaper; A says one thing, B says the other, and you choose… this is the question put to you, to write a formal legal letter to the Tribunal rubbishing B and supporting A, and I am using the word ‘rubbishing’ because effectively you are saying that she is lying, and the reason why, is the question you are being asked.”

Mr Hamilton outlined several reasons for his position.

He said no article was ever prepared for publication by Ms McCann, let alone published.

He said the Mail papers were “extremely supportive” of the whistleblowers – Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson.

He said Ms O’Reilly had previously gone to him with grievances/concerns but, on this occasion, didn’t.

He said it doesn’t make “logical sense” to him that Ms McCann would have said the things to Ms O’Reilly which she alleges were said.

He said there is no evidence to support her claims.

And he said there was no interview with Ms D.

He said while he doesn’t have direct evidence as to the truth or otherwise of Ms O’Reilly’s allegations, he said those with direct evidence say they’re untrue.

Mr O’Hamilton who a two-page article in the Irish Daily Mail on Saturday, February 11, 2017 – six days before the tribunal was set up – stating:

“The public good was served by having all of the evidence out in the open….And it is within the Government’s power to insist that [our poor] Chairman holds the inquiry in public. The Taoiseach and the Justice Minister must do so or risk damaging the reputation of our already tarnished justice system even further.”

The editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday Conor O’Donnell told the tribunal about the day he was asked by the news editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday Robert Cox – to give permission to Ms McCann to travel to the D house.

Mr Cox hasn’t given a statement to the tribunal but Mr O’Donnell said he is available to give evidence if required.

He said:

“Robert Cox, the news editor of the paper, came into my office early 2014 to inform me that Debbie McCann had some information on Maurice McCabe, an allegation of a sexual nature, sexual impropriety involving a young girl, and he wanted to know and Debbie wanted to know if she could go to see if we could get an interview with the young woman involved, I agreed to that.”

“And she then went to interview the woman. She called to the house, she spoke to the mother, they were not willing to discuss the matter. Debbie left the house, drove to a petrol station shortly after, as is our standard procedure, if we send to the door, the reporter is always required to ring the news editor immediately after, she rang Robert Cox to say that she had spoken to the mother and they are not willing to do anything. He told me this, and I said, fine. And Robert Cox had understood that to mean we will do no more on this and we never did. And shortly after that Debbie McCann went on maternity leave.”

“…What happened is we sent. Nothing came of it. We did nothing more on it and we never discussed it again.”

Mr O’Donnell said he never spoke to Ms McCann about the potential story.

He said when Mr Cox relayed Ms McCann’s information to him, he was aware it concerned Sgt McCabe and a young girl but he didn’t know the name of Ms D.

He said he knew, at that point, that the DPP ruled there was no case to answer.

He did concede Ms McCann’s source – given her job – was likely to come from a Garda source.

Asked if he had seen Paul Williams’ articles from April 2014, Mr O’Donnell said he did.

Asked if he regretted that Mr Williams got the story and the Irish Mail on Sunday didn’t, Mr O’Donnell said:

“No, because we made an effort to get the story, we made an effort to interview the girl, and they weren’t willing to do so, so that was it.”

Mr O’Donnell wasn’t asked about the correspondence between the Mail and the tribunal or the delay in telling the tribunal about Ms McCann’s visit to the D house.

When Ms McCann gave evidence, her version of what happened on the day she went to the D house matched that of Mr O’Donnell.

She said the information she had going up to Ms D is that she understood an allegation had been made, it was of a historic nature, the allegation was of inappropriate touching, and the DPP ruled not to prosecute.

She said she had a variety of sources on the matter and she rejected the claim that she told Ms O’Reilly that her father John McCann, a retired senior guard and former senior member of the Garda Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit, had confirmed the story.

In relation to the claim by Ms O’Reilly that Ms McCann told her she was getting information from Noirin O’Sullivan, Ms McCann said:

“That didn’t happen. First of all, because I have told the Tribunal that there was no communication between myself and Nóirín during that period, and also, secondly, because I’m not in a habit again of revealing any sources.”

She said she’s also pretty sure she knew Ms D was the daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s.

She later said: “I had that it was an allegation of inappropriate touching. I think I knew at the time that there may have been tickling involved, but I think that’s all I knew.”

Ms McCann repeatedly refused to tell the tribunal any detail of any off-the-record conversation she had with Supt Taylor – despite Supt Taylor signing a waiver to this privilege.

Supt Taylor has told the tribunal he did negatively brief about Sgt McCabe to Ms McCann and that she phoned him before travelling to Ms D’s home.

Ms McCann refused to confirm whether she told Supt Taylor that she was going to call to the D house, ahead of her visit.

Following on from this, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, put it to Ms McCann that she had no problem telling the tribunal of her communications with her father and Ms O’Sullivan in relation to Sgt McCabe.

They had this exchange:

Marrinan:” Well, I mean, you had no difficulty telling us about your father and your conversation with your father?”

McCann: “He is my father.”

Marrinan: “I know. But there’s no difficulty telling us about that. And you had no difficulty telling us about your conversations with Nóirín O’Sullivan and the content of them and the fact that Sergeant McCabe wasn’t mentioned, isn’t that right?”

McCann: “That was a very specific allegation –”

Marrinan: “Yes.”

McCann: -“.. in relation to Nóirín O’Sullivan. And we assisted the Tribunal in pointing out that the allegation had been that I was in contact with her over the phone, and we pointed out that if you were to go back over her telephone records, that it would back up my assertion that there was no communication between us. I was trying to help the Tribunal in the best way that I could.”

When Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt Maurice McCabe, questioned Ms McCann, she agreed that it would be “absurd” to claim privilege in relation to on-the-record conversations with Supt Taylor.

But she still refused to confirm whether Supt Taylor gave her any factual details pertaining to Sgt McCabe and Ms D – i.e. that there was a complaint, that there was an investigation, that the DPP categorically ruled that there be no prosecution.

Ms McCann repeated she needs to consider her future career as a journalist and used the expression “going forward” six times – three times in less than a minute.

Ms McCann also repeatedly told the tribunal she has “no evidence of any orchestrated campaign” against Sgt McCabe.

At one point Judge Charleton suggested to Ms McCann she was giving him “pre-prepared” answers.

He also pointed out that Ms McCann’s claims to the tribunal on Friday were the first time he heard from her that no member of An Garda Síochána ever briefed her negatively in relation to Sgt McCabe and it was the first time he heard her say no senior management in An Garda Síochána ever attempted to malign Sgt McCabe to her.

Mr Kealey, for Ms McCann, interrupted to say that Ms McCann did say what she told the tribunal on Friday in her original statement to the tribunal “namely, that she was not negatively briefed by the Gardaí and was unaware of any orchestrated campaign”.

But Judge Charleton told Mr Kealey his objection was “completely wrong”.

The judge said:

“This is the first time I have heard, and believe me I do follow these things, from Ms. McCann that no member of An Garda Síochána ever briefed her negatively in relation to Sergeant McCabe. This is the first time I’ve heard that no senior management in An Garda Síochána ever attempted to malign Sergeant McCabe to her. That is the first time I have heard it. So your objection is wrong. It’s totally wrong.”

Under repeated questioning from Mr McDowell, Ms McCann finally said that she didn’t believe that being told a fact that an allegation had been made is maligning somebody.
Mr McDowell then had the following exchange with Ms McCann:

McDowell: “So when you tell this Tribunal, on your oath, that you were never aware of any Garda smear campaign…”

McCann: “Mm-hmm.”

McDowell: “…you aren’t saying that the telling of a truthful answer to a question about Sergeant McCabe could be part of a smear campaign?”

McCann:I am not saying that David Taylor was a source on this or not.

McDowell: “No, I am not asking you that. I am just asking you to face up to what your evidence actually means, because words have meaning on occasion. And I am putting it to you that you are very carefully distinguishing between factual statements about Sergeant McCabe made by any Garda source and a smear, on the basis that they are true or untrue or whether they were asked for by a journalist or volunteered, is that your frame of mind?”

McCann: “Yes. Well, that would suggest that I — if I were to go out and ask questions of any individual in the course of my work, that I would be maligning the person who is responding to me as maligning and smearing people across the board. That is not how it works.”

McDowell: “So that if any member of An Garda Síochána said to you Ms. D has made an allegation many years ago against Sergeant McCabe and a file was sent to the DPP after an investigation and it was — the DPP directed no prosecution, that is not a smear?”

McCann: “I had — no, I had a variety of sources on this matter, some were Gardaí and some were not.”

McDowell: “Yes.”

McCann: “And by me asking them that question and getting back a factual answer, I don’t believe that they were smearing him.

McDowell: “You see, that is the whole point… But I want to put it to you that you have come here, using formulaic evidence, to effectively mislead this Tribunal as to the source of your information?”

McCann: “I absolutely have not. I have been answering the questions to the best of my ability in this matter.”

Previously, the tribunal heard of a series of text messages which were sent between Ms McCann and Ms O’Reilly in May 2014.

When Ms O’Reilly gave evidence, the tribunal heard the following sequence:

O’Reilly to McCann:

“A highly respected officer held in ‘high regard’ is how judge Guerin describes McCabe.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“I am fully aware and, to be honest, I think it’s gross. There is a very messed up girl at the heart of it and no one gives a fuck.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“It’s a farce. Everyone knows, from politicians to cops to journos. It’s an fucking pantomime.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“Sorry for Shatter? It’s just like a house of cards. Self-preservation is the name of the game. It’s one big sordid game. Nóirín should get the job, she’d be fab, and it’ll be the ultimate knee-jerk reaction if they go down the civilian route. I also feel for Callinan. What a way for his career to end. The tape thing is one big f-ing smokescreen designed to save political face, and at what cost? Justice will be the biggest loser if the government continues the way it’s going. It’s disgusting.”

On Friday, Ms McCann told the tribunal that the sequence above was missing a text.

She told the tribunal: “Can I just point out that there is a text message in between that deleted… That I have here in front of me.”

Ms McCann then read the text:

“‘Paul Williams and the Indo have an agenda against McCabe,’ says Micheál Martin to pals.”

Ms McCann told the tribunal she believes that changes the whole context of the exchange.

She said: “…that “to be honest, I think it’s gross”, if you read the full context, that would suggest what I’m calling gross is the game-playing that’s happening in relation to it and not Sergeant McCabe.

Broadsheet understands more evidence pertaining to these texts has been given to the tribunal.

Meanwhile, in relation to Ms McCann’s mention of “tickling” being part of her understanding of the allegation against Sgt McCabe, it was put to Ms McCann that the only place this word is used is in Supt Noel Cunningham’s investigation of Ms D’s original allegation.

In his investigation file, it states: “It’s of interest to note that Ms D recalls being tickled by Maurice McCabe. A natural reaction to a child being tickle is to squirm…”

Declan Doyle SC, for Ms O’Reilly, said to Ms McCann: “As far as we know that [Supt Cunningham’s invesigation file] is the only place that there was reference to tickling, it’s the first time it came into the public domain. So, I’m suggesting to you that you had the Garda file, is that right?”

Ms McCann said: “No, I don’t. And I have never had sight of any Garda file.”

Asked where she got it from, she said she got it from a source.

[Supt Taylor has told the tribunal that while he requested the file on the Ms D allegation from Mr Callinan, Mr Callinan never gave it to him]

At one point on Friday, after a lengthy debate about privilege, Judge Charleton told Ms McCann:

“You apparently phoned him [Supt Taylor] to tell him what you’d done, that is what he tells me, and then every time you are asked any question about that, you say journalistic privilege, journalistic privilege, journalistic privilege.

“Well, for a start, I have to know the facts and circumstances on which you are basing that, and then, secondly, I actually need to know that you are actually telling me the truth, because I can tell you, I’m not an idiot, and I have sat here for very close to 90 days, and I know, subject, of course, to hearing submissions in accordance with in re Haughey, that an awful lot of people haven’t told me the truth.”

Ms McCann replied: “I’m telling you the truth to the best of my ability.”

The judge also said: “I think the truth is the most important value that actually exists in life..”

And Ms McCann replied: “And so do I.”

Judge Charleton told Ms McCann she may have to return to give further evidence to the tribunal.

The tribunal continues.

Rollingnews

Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star, above and top left, arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal yesterday

This morning.

In Dublin Castle.

The Disclosures Tribunal is scheduled to hear evidence from the editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday Conor O’Donnell, Group Editor at Associated Newspapers (Mail) Sebastian Hamilton, Conor Lally, of The Irish Times, and Paul Reynolds of RTÉ.

Yesterday afternoon, the tribunal – which is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe as alleged by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor – heard from Michael O’Toole, assistant editor and crime correspondent of the Irish Daily Star, gave evidence.

While claiming privilege, Mr O’Toole has categorically told the tribunal that no guard ever smeared Sgt Maurice McCabe to him.

He said he did hear a rumour about Sgt McCabe in 2010/2011 – before Supt Dave Taylor started working in the Garda Press Office in the summer of 2012.

Mr O’Toole said:

“A very experienced journalist with significant access to the political world first raised this with me…He raised it with me and I said ‘I don’t think there’s anything to this’.”

Mr O’Toole said he then went and checked the matter with a contact who is not someone who works in Garda HQ.

He said:

“I was lucky enough to have a contact who knows Sergeant McCabe – I can’t say who it is, but he spoke very highly of him, he called him Maurice, he said he had worked with him, said he was a very competent Sergeant, he had done files with him and he explained the background of the investigation and the outcome of the DPP’s file.

So once I heard that, the matter was dead for me, because there was absolutely no story for me in this. I don’t think any journalist in their right mind, once they hear that the DPP has not only directed no charges, but said it’s – whatever the phrase is – it was very unlikely that any offence was disclosed, I don’t think any journalist in their right mind would consider writing anything about this. The issue was dead for me.”

Mr O’Toole added that this took place at some point after an article appeared in The Sunday Times, by John Mooney, in November 2010, in which Sgt McCabe was named as having made complaints about policing in Cavan/Monaghan.

Mr O’Toole said:

“I know that Sergeant McCabe was named for the first time by the Sunday Times, I think it was 2010. So it would’ve been after that, because this other journalist came to me with this rumour….I think the Sunday Times named him in 2010. It was John Mooney wrote the story.”

The tribunal thanked him for bringing this to their attention.

He’s also told the tribunal that, as far as he can recollect, no journalist ever went to him with any rumours about Sgt McCabe in 2012, 2013 or 2014.

And he said – in relation to the 11 journalists named by Supt Dave Taylor as having been negatively briefed by him, which includes Mr Mooney – Mr O’Toole said:

“I can say the journalists that I would be close to, other journalists, you know, there are active crime correspondents that I would be particularly friendly with and we never, this never came up…I would be closer to some and not others. But yes, I would know them all….No, never [the matter never came up with these journalists] The issue was dead for me…”

It was put to Mr O’Toole, by Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, that Mr O’Toole had recently come into “possession of some information that the tribunal is looking into” and that Mr O’Toole is to make a short statement to that effect.

The tribunal didn’t hear any further details on this.

The tribunal heard that, from Supt Taylor’s billings records, it would seem that Mr O’Toole had approximately 240 telephone contacts with Supt Taylor between August 2013 and when the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan stood down, in March 2014.

Mr O’Toole wouldn’t confirm his phone number to the tribunal – saying that to do so might lead to the identification of sources:

“I refuse to engage with anybody in any State or official aspect about my mobile phone.”

As he wouldn’t confirm his phone number, Mr O’Toole also wouldn’t confirm to Judge Peter Charleton that he had around 10 telephone conversations with Supt Taylor every month during that timeframe.

John Ferry BL, for Supt Taylor, put to Mr O’Toole that, while he’s claimed the Ms D issue was “dead” for him – once he learned of the DPP’s directions – that that’s separate to the idea that the Ms D matter was the motivation for Sgt McCabe making complaints about policing, which Supt Taylor claims he was telling journalists.

Mr O’Toole said:

“I’m going to claim privilege in that. But again to stress, I have no interest in anybody’s motivation in telling me anything. People tell me things. I talk to people who perhaps shouldn’t be talking to me and are afraid to talk to me. So I never question why, I question the accuracy of what they say.”

Mr O’Toole repeatedly told the tribunal that nobody smeared Sgt McCabe to him and said Supt Taylor’s claim that he could have done so while they were at a crime scene was “preposterous” as such scenes are “chaotic”.

And he confirmed:

“Nobody in the Press Office maligned, smeared, negatively briefed, mentioned Maurice McCabe to me.”

Mr O’Toole also told the tribunal that he has been “vexed” by some media coverage about crime reporters concerning Sgt McCabe.

He said:

I have to admit I was vexed by the suggestion that crime reporters, including myself, were used in this smear. I was very disappointed by some of the reportage. I know, look, I’m sure they’re all lovely people, but I know there was evidence last week about the Sunday Times piece saying that crime reporters were at the centre of this briefing. That story rankled with me at the time and it has rankled with me ever since. All she had to do was ring me and ask me or ring any other journalist and we would say ‘I wasn’t part of any campaign’. I was very, very disappointed, because that came into the public commentariat.”

It’s understood Mr O’Toole is referring to this piece in The Sunday Times by Justine McCarthy from February 2017.

Later, when Noel Whelan BL, for An Garda Siochana, asked Mr O’Toole questions about the person who set him straight in terms of the DPP’s directions, Mr O’Toole said:

“I had someone with a knowledge of it, I’m not going to say if he was a Garda or a retired member, but I had someone who I trusted implicitly, I’ve known that person for a very, very, very long time, someone of the highest integrity – as I said, he called this person Maurice, so there’s obviously some sort of personal relationship there. And he gave me enough, more than enough detail for me to accept that this person knew what was happening. And that was the end of it for me.”

Mr O’Toole told the tribunal the Sgt McCabe story was more of a political story than a crime story. In respect of the journalists who went to the D house in early 2014 seemingly seeking a story from Ms D – Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun, and Paul WIlliams, of the Irish Independent – Mr O’Toole said:

I had no interest in it. Sergeant McCabe was declared innocent by the DPP. I mean, what sort of journalist in their right mind would go after this story? Some journalists think, believe it or not some journalists [think] they’re Gardaí, some think that they’re solicitors. I’m a journalist, that’s my job.”

It should be noted that, last summer, the tribunal heard from Ms D’s father Mr D that Mr O’Toole did try to contact him via Facebook in early 2014.

Mr D said they didn’t talk about the Ms D case.

Mr O’Toole wasn’t asked about this alleged attempt to contact Mr D.

On July 13, 2017, Mr O’Toole sent out the following tweet:

The tweet, which was was liked by fellow tribunal witness Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, appears to contradict some of Mr O’Toole’s testimony. It was  also not raised during Mr O’Toole’s questioning yesterday.

The tribunal continues.

Previously: Disclosures, Denials And The Journalists

Rollingnews

From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe; Paul Williams (centre) arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal last summer; journalist and Dublin City University professor Colum Kenny at the tribunal last week

Last Friday, at the Disclosures Tribunal which is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe….

Journalist and Dublin City University professor Colum Kenny told the tribunal that in early 2014, two security correspondents – one being a security correspondent for a national broadcaster – told him Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child sex abuse.

He said he felt the two journalists were telling him to ‘cop himself on’ and to ‘not take Sgt McCabe at face value’.

He also said they encouraged him to go and talk to gardai “up there” (Mr Kenny took this to mean gardai in Cavan/Monaghan). Mr Kenny said they didn’t name any specific people with whom he should discuss the matter.

Mr Kenny said the two journalists – whom he said he took very seriously – definitely did not indicate that the child sex abuse allegation was something from the past which had been dismissed by the DPP.

Mr Kenny said:

“I think these people were probably trying to put me straight, you know. Maybe they did it with the best of motives, I don’t know. I felt that they were rubbishing his character by what they were doing. I was really shocked. I hadn’t heard this perhaps because I don’t move in newsrooms or didn’t move in newsrooms at that stage. It came as a bolt out of the blue.”

“…I took it very seriously coming from them. They were respected, you know, journalists and have done very good work.”

The tribunal is examining a claim by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan – with the knowledge of Mr Callinan’s successor Nóirín O’Sullivan – to negatively brief journalists about Sgt McCabe by telling them about an allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006.

In December 2006, the daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s, referred to as Ms D, made an allegation of ‘dry humping’ against Sgt McCabe to gardai.

She claimed this occurred during a game of hide and seek in 1998, when she was around six.

When the complaint was made, in December 2006, it was 11 months after Ms D’s father was disciplined for arriving at the scene of a suicide drunk and whom Sgt McCabe told to leave the scene.

The tribunal has heard Ms D made her statement to the gardai on December 4, 2006, after her father and mother made contact with a detective sergeant in Cavan first and outlined Ms D’s allegation.

The matter was investigated by then Inspector Noel Cunningham, his investigation went to the DPP and, in April 2007, the DPP unequivocally ruled there was no basis for a prosecution.

However, six years later in July 2013, Ms D was speaking to a HSE counsellor about the matter, after she was encouraged to do so by her mother, and the counsellor referred it to Tusla in August 2013 – but the matter had been incorrectly elevated to a claim of digital vaginal and anal penetration after the counsellor, the tribunal was told, made a copy and paste error.

On August 15, 2013, Tusla social work team leader Keara McGlone wrote to Mr Cunningham and requested a meeting with him to discuss his 2006 investigation.

In her letter, Ms McGlone – who married a garda based in Monaghan Garda Station in 2015 and who told the tribunal she was liaising with members of An Garda Síochána from 2010 – explained she was doing this because nobody from the HSE had met with Sgt McCabe in 2006.

Ms McGlone wrote:

I would like to meet with you to discuss the case prior to making any contact with the alleged perpetrator.”

But Mr Cunningham never responded to this letter and the HSE never contacted Sgt McCabe.

And the false rape referral wound up in the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s office in May 2014 where it remained until the start of the tribunal – with Sgt McCabe only being notified of the matter in January 2016.

In February 2017, Sgt McCabe issued a press statement saying that if this meeting between Ms McGlone and Mr Cunningham had occurred, “the falsity of the rape offence allegation would have been immediately apparent to Superintendent Cunningham and the claimed error would have been discovered immediately”.

Supt Taylor alleges that he was instructed to tell journalists about Ms D’s 2006 allegation and to tell them that, while the DPP ruled against a prosecution, the investigation was still the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

Supt Taylor – and Martin Callinan – have both told the tribunal they didn’t know anything about the false rape referral which journeyed between An Garda Siochana and Tusla until it came into the public domain in February 2017.

In the tribunal last week, Mr Kenny was asked if he’d like to name the journalists and, after a pause, Mr Kenny told Judge Peter Charleton: “I’d rather they name themselves.”

It was then agreed that Mr Kenny would write down the names of the two journalists and the tribunal will, in turn, write to the two journalists and seek responses to Mr Kenny’s claims.

Mr Kenny also told the tribunal on Friday that a number of weeks ago he received a phone call from another security correspondent asking him if he was going to name names at the tribunal.

Mr Kenny didn’t identify this security correspondent – but he made it clear they are separate to the two security correspondents who told him Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child sex abuse.

The only security correspondent present for Mr Kenny’s evidence at the tribunal on Friday was Paul Reynolds, security correspondent for RTE, who briefly sat in the press section.

Mr Kenny explained the context with which he ended up speaking to the two journalists in January 2014, which, incidentally, was the same month Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness and Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy claim they were led to believe by the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan that there was an ongoing child sex abuse investigation into Sgt McCabe – claims Mr Callinan denies.

Mr Kenny explained that, in 2013, he started to write about Sgt McCabe with his first article about Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson [though unnamed] and the penalty points controversy published on April 7, 2013.

Mr Kenny explained how he was very interested in the missing computer belong to Fr Michael Molloy, from Kill in Cootehill, Co Cavan, who was jailed in 2009 for defilement of children and possession of child pornography.

Two years before his conviction, in 2007, Fr Michael Molloy’s computer was seized from his home on the same day he was arrested.

Almost a year after he was jailed, in November 2010, Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly wrote to Cootehill Garda station requested the computer be located and returned to him as a matter of urgency. He said there were valuable parish records on it.

But the computer was lost.

During a formal disciplinary interview, over the missing computer, Sgt McCabe explained he had nothing to do with the investigation of Fr Molloy and that he never had the computer in his possession.

The disciplinary process against Sgt McCabe eventually ended in August 2013 with a report concluding “finding Sergeant McCabe to be in breach of discipline in this case would be unsafe”.

[It was August 2013 when the false Tusla rape referral against Sgt McCabe went into circulation]

The matter of the missing computer was later examined at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015, in which Judge Kevin O’Higgins found it was “difficult to understand” why Sgt McCabe was the only person subjected to disciplinary proceedings, despite having not been involved in the case.

Judge O’Higgins said he was “quite rightly exonerated”.

Mr Kenny took a keen interest in trying to ascertain what happened the missing computer – and also started to ask why security correspondents weren’t making inquiries about it or reporting on it.

In October 2013, he started writing about the matter in the Sunday Independent.

He said it was in the context of this that, in early 2014, he approached the two aforementioned journalists and, similar to what Mr Callinan is alleged to have led Mr McCarthy and Mr McGuiness to believe, they told him Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse.

After his conversation with the two security correspondents, Mr Kenny went to Sgt McCabe and Sgt McCabe told him about the Ms D matter. Mr Kenny then satisfied himself that the matter was wholly untrue.

The tribunal has seen that a letter from the DPP’s office to the then State solicitor for Cavan Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, in relation to Ms D’s complaint, stated:

“Dear Sir,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1st March 2007 together with copy investigation file. I agree with you and the Guards that the evidence does not warrant a prosecution. There are no admissions, the incident as described by the injured party is vague. It appears that it was only when she was eleven/twelve that she decided that whatever occurred was sexual in nature. Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault. Further, the account given to her cousin [blank] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards. There is no basis for a prosecution.”

The tribunal has heard that Sgt McCabe was told by Mr Hayden of this result on the day it was released in April 2007. While Sgt McCabe took a note of it, he never physically saw a copy of it until the tribunal.

Mr Kenny explained that it was “easy” to ascertain what the DPP’s directions were in relation to the Ms D allegation against Sgt McCabe from 2006.

And he said that any journalist who was told of child abuse rumours about Sgt McCabe at that time had an ethical responsibility to contact Sgt McCabe and put the rumour to him.

The tribunal has already heard that the only journalist and newspaper to write about the Ms D allegation which was circulating around media and political circles in early 2014 was Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent – and he never contacted Sgt McCabe before four articles by him were published between April 12, 2014 and May 3, 2014.

Neither Ms D nor Sgt McCabe were identified in the articles but the tribunal has heard from several witnesses that they knew they were about Sgt McCabe – including Sgt McCabe himself who was contacted by various people on foot of them.

Asked if he usually puts allegations made about a person to the person at the centre of the allegation, Mr Williams told the tribunal he would if they are identified.

When Mr Williams gave evidence to the tribunal last summer, he said that the then head of the Garda Press Office Dave Taylor simply told him that the DPP ruled against a prosecution.

When the contents of the DPP’s letter to Mr Hayden were put to him, Mr Williams conceded that, had he seen that, he would have taken a different view of matters.

When Mr Williams gave evidence, he had the following exchange with Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe:

Michael McDowell: “Did you put any of that to him or to Sergeant McCabe, you knew you were speaking about Sergeant McCabe?”

Paul Williams: “No.”

McDowell: “When you published it, it was legalled, was it not?”

Williams: “Yes.”

McDowell: “Were you asked whether you’d ever put any of this material to the man about whom you were writing?”

Williams: “No.”

As previously stated, Mr Williams’ first article about Sgt McCabe was on April 12, 2014 – after he interviewed her on March 8, 2014.

However, it’s worth nothing that Sgt McCabe and the fact directions by the DPP had been made in relation to him were reported by an INM publication before Mr Williams even met Ms D.

On March 2, 2014, Mr Kenny, in an article primarily about Fr Molloy’s missing computer and the disciplinary proceedings levelled against Sgt McCabe, wrote:

It is understood that Sgt McCabe has also been subjected to a serious accusation by a senior garda that was subsequently referred by gardai to the DPP, who found no basis on which to pursue the matter.”

On Friday, Mr Kenny very briefly indicated to the tribunal that when sending an article for publication to the Sunday Independent, he had sent a document to INM’s lawyers outlining the DPP’s full directions against Sgt McCabe in order to verify what he was writing.

The tribunal didn’t specifically hear what this document was or specifically to whom it was sent or even specifically when it was sent.

Mr Kenny wasn’t asked these details.

But Mr Kenny’s article of March 2, 2014, appears to be the only one he wrote in which he mentioned the DPP’s directions around that time – so it seems reasonable that Mr Kenny would have sent it before the March 2, 2014 article was published.

Mr Kenny told the tribunal:

“The document was furnished to the lawyer for the Independent Newspapers, not this Independent Newspaper lawyer, at the time when I was writing about the affair. So it was part of a legalled and assessed process.”

In conclusion, given Mr Kenny reported on the DPP’s directions in the Sunday Independent on March 2, 2014 – a week before Mr Williams even met Ms D on March 8, 2014 – it begs the question: did editors in INM, and/or the company’s lawyers, have a full understanding of the DPP’s unequivocal directions pertaining to Sgt McCabe – on foot of information from Mr Kenny – before they published Mr Williams’ four articles about Ms D?

And will the tribunal get to see this document?

The tribunal continues.

Related: Inquiry into loss of computer in sex abuse case essential (Colum Kenny, Sunday Independent, March 2, 2014)

Previously: ‘It’s A Farce. Everyone Knows…From Politicians To Cops To Journos’

Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

Disclosures, Denials And The Journalists

The Commissioner, The ‘Knacker’s Horse’ And The Two ‘Headbangers’

From top: Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail and Debbie McCann, crime correspondent of the Irish Mail on Sunday are at loggerheads over alleged smears against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe

This morning.

The Disclosures Tribunal is expected to hear exactly what Irish Mail on Sunday journalist Debbie McCann’s position is on allegations made to the tribunal about her by her Irish Daily Mail colleague Alison O’Reilly.

[Ms O’Reilly was the source of Labour leader Brendan Howlin’s claims in the Dail in February 2017 – in which he said he had spoken to a journalist with “direct knowledge” of calls made by former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to journalists about Sgt Maurice McCabe and sexual crime allegations. Mr Howlin later clarified to say he didn’t have direct knowledge]

The tribunal this morning is also expected to hear a detailed response from the company’s solicitor Michael Keeley to a separate allegation made about him by Ms O’Reilly – that he put up his hand and said “I don’t want to know” when Ms O’Reilly was attempting to tell him that Ms McCann alleged to her that Sgt McCabe was a child abuser.

The tribunal is examining allegations of a smear campaign against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe – as alleged by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.

Supt Taylor claims he was instructed by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to negatively brief journalists against Sgt McCabe.

[Mr Callinan himself is accused by five people of directly negatively briefing them about Sgt McCabe during one-to-one conversations in late 2013/early 2014 – which he denies]

Supt Taylor alleges that he was to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe was driven by maliciousness and motivated by revenge due to an allegation of sexual assault made against him in 2006.

This was the allegation made by a Ms D – the daughter of a former Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe who was sanctioned after Sgt McCabe made a complaint on foot of the colleague attending the scene of a suicide after drinking alcohol.

In April 2007, the DPP found Ms D’s allegation had no foundation.

Supt Taylor alleges he was instructed to tell journalists about this allegation and to tell them that the DPP ruled against a prosecution, but that he was to convey that it was the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

The tribunal has heard that three journalists called to the home of the Ms D house in early 2014 – IMOS’s Debbie McCann, the Irish Sun’s Eavan Murray and the Irish Independent’s Paul Williams.

Only one of those journalists subsequently wrote stories about Sgt McCabe which were published – Mr Williams.

However, the tribunal is attempting to find out what prompted them to visit the house of Ms D seven years after the DPP found the allegation had no foundation and if it was down to any negative briefing by gardai.

Ms McCann, the tribunal has heard, was the first journalist to knock on Ms D’s home at some point in February 2014.

It’s been the evidence of the D family – and it’s corroborated in a statement made to the tribunal by Ms McCann – that Ms McCann was effectively turned away from the door by Mrs D.

But Ms O’Reilly gave evidence yesterday claiming Ms McCann told her that she interviewed Ms D for an hour – during which Ms D was “visibly shaking” as she told her story to Ms McCann.

When the massive discrepancy was put to Ms O’Reilly yesterday, she suggested Ms McCann was either not telling the truth back then or is not telling the truth now.

Ms O’Reilly also claims that, during another conversation in which Ms McCann said the story was true and that Ms D was going to meet Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ms O’Reilly asked Ms McCann: “Where is it coming from, like? Your pal Nóirín?” and Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann said “yes”.

It’s also been claimed by Ms O’Reilly – who is currently taking legal action against her employer over separate matters – that Ms McCann told her that her father, retired detective superintendent John McCann, had confirmed the story. [Mr McCann is due to scheduled evidence].

Specifically, Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal the following:

“I was told by my former colleague in the Irish Mail on Sunday, Debbie McCann, between 2013 and 2014 that Superintendent Dave Taylor and then acting Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, told her Maurice McCabe abused a girl when she was a child. Debbie told me that the abuse was covered up because Mr McCabe was a Garda and the case was never given a Pulse number.”

The tribunal has also seen texts between Ms McCann to Ms O’Reilly in which she said came after the Guerin Report which was published in May 2014 which vindicated Sgt McCabe’s raising of complaints about the gardai.

At this point, Ms O’Reilly would have met Sgt McCabe and told him that there were rumours going around about him. Ms O’Reilly said she didn’t believe them but she felt Ms McCann did.

Ms O’Reilly texted Ms McCann:

“A highly respected officer held in ‘high regard'” — in quotation marks — “is how judge Guerin describes McCabe.”

Ms McCann texted Ms O’Reilly:

“I am fully aware and, to be honest, I think it’s gross. There is a very messed up girl at the heart of it and no one gives a fuck.”

Ms McCann to Ms O’Reilly:

“It’s a farce. Everyone knows, from politicians to cops to journos. It’s an fucking pantomime”.

Ms McCann to Ms O’Reilly:

“Sorry for Shatter? It’s just like a house of cards. Self-preservation is the name of the game. It’s one big sordid game. Nóirín should get the job, she’d be fab, and it’ll be the ultimate knee-jerk reaction if they go down the civilian route. I also feel for Callinan. What a way for his career to end. The tape thing is one big f-ing smokescreen designed to save political face, and at what cost? Justice will be the biggest loser if the government continues the way it’s going. It’s disgusting.”

Yesterday after Hugh Moran SC, for Ms McCann and the Mail titles, put questions to Ms O’Reilly – and claimed the alleged conversation with Ms McCann in which Ms McCann recounted interviewing Ms D never happened – Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, stepped in and said:

“..nearly an hour of the witness’s [Ms O’Reilly’s] evidence today, in the first instance, concerned conversations that the witness says that she had with Debbie McCann. A lot of that is highly significant as far as the Tribunal is concerned. It includes Debbie McCann’s interactions, or stated interactions with Superintendent Taylor, how she came to know the address of Ms. D, her interaction with her own father.

“That has been in circulation for a long period of time now, and, despite repeated requests of Ms. McCann, both by the investigators and by the Tribunal, we actually don’t have a different version of events. And obviously under the rule in Browne v Dunn, there is an obligation on the party to put an alternative version of events, and I’m just wondering where the Tribunal stands in relation to this. Are we to take it that this evidence is accepted because it hasn’t been challenged?”

Mr Mohan told the tribunal yesterday that he didn’t wish to add to Ms McCann’s statement – which states she wasn’t part of any smear campaign but doesn’t directly address what Ms O’Reilly says Ms McCann said in their conversations.

It follows the situation last week when Supt Taylor gave evidence, counsel for Ms McCann – who is claiming journalistic privilege – did not cross examine Mr Taylor, who has told the tribunal he negatively briefed Ms McCann about Sgt McCabe.

Mr Mohan read Ms McCann’s statement into the record of the tribunal again yesterday before saying he had nothing more to add.

But Mr Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, said:

“With the greatest of respect, sir, that doesn’t come anywhere close with dealing with the evidence that’s been presented to the Tribunal. A witness cannot — or a party cannot simply rely on a broad general statement when specifics have been given of conversations had with the witness. Now, if the witness’s evidence isn’t being challenged, the Tribunal will have to take it, in my respectful submission, on the basis that the evidence stands.”

In addition, Judge Peter Charleton said:

“You know, it may be that your client is taking a strong view I don’t want Alison O’Reilly cross-examined, but, I am sorry, she can’t take that view and, as counsel appearing on her behalf, you can’t take that view, because I actually have a right to hear what the alternative version of a conversation is. If the evidence were to be, for instance, oh, I don’t remember any such conversation and it’s highly unlikely that I ever had such a conversation, well that is an instruction.

“It may not be very satisfactory in terms of judging Ms. O’Reilly’s reaction to it, but certainly many, many people have told me in this Tribunal, ‘I forget completely’, but that may be it. But if in the event it’s merely a question of forgetting completely and if Ms. O’Reilly has a very good recollection, well then I have to consider that when I go back to try and formulate a finding of fact on this. And it actually is important..”

Following this, Mr Mohan said he would take further instructions.

It should be said Ms O’Sullivan denies ever speaking to Ms McCann about Sgt McCabe.

Mr Mohan has also suggested to Ms O’Reilly – whom he said has “a three-pronged legal attack against” her employer – that she has made the claims about Ms McCann to the tribunal to do “repetitional damage” to her employers.

Ms O’Reilly rejected this.

Meanwhile, the tribunal is also expected to hear a response from the Mail’s solicitor Michael Keeley about a claim made by Ms O’Reilly in respect of a meeting she had with him after the tribunal wrote to journalists to come forward with any information they had.

The tribunal heard that Mr Keeley’s account of this meeting in the Conrad Hotel on April 5, 2017, included the line:

She did not speak with Brendan Howlin, TD, and was not a source for his Dáil statements about Sergeant McCabe on 8th February 2017.

The tribunal has heard that Mr Keeley’s account was given to Ms O’Reilly for her approval and she didn’t correct it.

Mr Mohan accused Ms O’Reilly of lying to Mr Keeley.

But Ms O’Reilly said yesterday:

“I didn’t lie to Michael Keeley. I actually didn’t know if I was or wasn’t [Mr Howlin’s source]. He had said he’d spoke to a number of journalists. I accept it now, I accept it now, and I’ve told the Tribunal I accept it, but at the time he had said he had checked these things out with other reporters.”

In addition, of her meeting with Mr Keeley, Ms O’Reilly said:

“Chairman, I went to a meeting with Michael Keeley after receiving a letter from the Tribunal and he asked me a series of questions and he asked me did I ever hear the rumour about Maurice McCabe being a child abuser, and I said yes, I did.

“And I went to tell him who it was and he put his hand up and he said, I don’t want to know. And I thought, well, what are we doing here? I mean, do we tell the truth or do we not tell the truth? And then he went on, maybe question five or six he said: Did you meet Maurice McCabe? I said I did. I asked him to do an interview. I said, Michael, I actually feel very sorry for Maurice McCabe. And he said — he put his pen down and he looked at me, he was sitting there, and I was sitting here, and he said: You know, nobody comes out of a Tribunal looking okay, even if they’re trying to be the good guy. And I said, do you know what? I’m not telling you anything. I was terrified, absolutely terrified.

Mr Mohan said:

He [Mr Keeley] made it clear that he did not want to be put in a position where sources were told to him in that context. I think it’s a different version of events, but in that context that was the basis of what was said.

Judge Charleton said:

“No, but this is actually important, because we have been spending the last year-and-a-half trying to find out things that we have been charged by the Oireachtas to do, and it is, this is our country, we owe allegiance to it. We are tasked with trying to find this information out. Now, it’s appropriate, if you have a different version of the conversation, to please put it.

“…source or no source, the Tribunal had asked for information, and I am now being told that that was blocked. Now, that’s important. If there is a different version, I really ought to know..”

Meanwhile, it should be noted that yesterday, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, indicated that new material has been brought to the attention of the tribunal when he asked journalist Gemma O’Doherty if she heard of any journalist – other than Mr Williams, Ms McCann and Ms Murray – as having attempted to call to the D household. [She didn’t].

Mr Marrinan posed this question “in the light of recent developments and information that has come into the possession of the Tribunal “ – suggesting that perhaps another journalist has been identified as having gone or attempted to go to the D house with the view of interviewing her…

The tribunal continues.

Rollingnews

Clockwise from top left: Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine; Paul Reynolds, of RTÉ, journalist Colm Kenny; John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent, Eavan Murray, of the Irish Sun, Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday

This morning, from 10am.

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan will resume giving evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle.

Ms O’Sullivan gave evidence yesterday and previously gave evidence earlier this year in respect of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

The tribunal is examining allegations made by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that, at some point in the middle of 2013, he was instructed by Ms O’Sullivan’s predecessor Martin Callinan to negatively brief journalists about Sgt Maurice McCabe.

At that time, Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson were raising concerns about An Garda Síochána, including the quashing of penalty points.

In December 2012, People Before Profit TD Joan Collins named Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams as having had points quashed while, in April 2013, Gemma O’Doherty, in the Irish Independent, reported that points pertaining to the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had been quashed.

[The tribunal has heard Sgt McCabe wasn’t the source of Ms O’Doherty’s story].

Supt Taylor alleges that, following this alleged instruction from Mr Callinan, he was to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe was driven by maliciousness and motivated by revenge due to an allegation of sexual assault made against him in 2006.

This was the allegation made by a Ms D – the daughter of a former Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe who was sanctioned after Sgt McCabe made a complaint on foot of the colleague attending the scene of a suicide after drinking alcohol.

In April 2007, the DPP found Ms D’s allegation had no foundation.

Supt Taylor alleges that he was instructed to tell journalists about this allegation and to tell them that the DPP ruled against a prosecution, but that he was to convey that it was the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

Supt Taylor also alleges that he was also to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe didn’t cooperate with an internal Garda investigation called Operation Squeeze into the quashing of penalty points led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony – which began in October 2012 and reported in May 2013.

In a protected disclosure submitted in September 2016, Supt Taylor alleges that Ms O’Sullivan was aware of these instructions from Mr Callinan.

He also alleges that the director of communications at An Garda Síochána Andrew McLindon was also aware.

Mr Callinan, Ms O’Sullivan and Mr McLindon categorically deny all the allegations.

The tribunal has heard it’s the position of An Garda Siochana that Supt Taylor told Mr Callinan that he was going to “bring down” Ms O’Sullivan – after he was moved out of the Garda Press Office and moved into Traffic in June 2014 – and that he made up the claim about Mr Callinan to give credence to the allegation.

It’s alleged Supt Taylor made this threat known to Mr Callinan after Supt Taylor had been arrested and suspended from duty in May 2015 – over allegations of leaking information to journalists while he was no longer in the Garda Press Office.

[The tribunal has heard that after an investigation which involved six interviews comprising of 18 hours of questioning – in which Supt Taylor continuously replied “no comment” – the DPP decided not to prosecute Supt Taylor on February 13, 2017, just days after Labour leader Brendan Howlin made claims about Ms O’Sullivan in the Dáil. But last week Supt Taylor conceded to the tribunal that he did make all of the communications he was accused of making to the journalists. The tribunal has heard Supt Taylor had around 11,000 communications with journalists between September 2014 and December 2014, after having been transferred out of the press office in June 2014. A comprehensive post on Supt Taylor’s evidence, Chief Supt Francis Clerkin’s investigation into Supt Taylor, Supt Taylor’s judicial review application to the High Court will follow]

Mr Callinan’s evidence is that he never told Ms O’Sullivan of this alleged threat made by Supt Taylor, while Supt Taylor denies making it.

In any event.

Separate to Supt Taylor’s allegations, Mr Callinan has been accused by five people – Fianna Fáil TD and then chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness, Fine Gael TD and then a member of PAC John Deasy, the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy, RTE journalist Philip Boucher Hayes and solicitor Gerald Kean – that he negatively briefed them about Sgt McCabe during one-to-one conversations in December 2013/January 2014.

The allegations range from Mr Callinan saying Sgt McCabe was a troublemaker to he couldn’t be trusted to he had psychiatric problems to he was a person who “fiddles with kids”.

Mr McGuinness gave evidence to say that he was led to believe that a child sex assault investigation into Sgt McCabe was ongoing, while Mr McCarthy said he was told there were sexual offences (plural) against Sgt McCabe.

All of these briefings were to have taken placed in or around the Public Accounts Committee meeting on January 23, 2014, in which Mr Callinan, who was sitting next to Ms O’Sullivan, made his infamous “disgusting” remark.

Mr Callinan categorically denies the accounts of each of these five individuals.

The tribunal has heard that notes taken by various people present at several meetings held in Garda HQ in preparation of that PAC meeting show that Sgt McCabe, the Ms D allegation and “motivation” were discussed.

Yesterday, Ms O’Sullivan said she has no recollection of these matters being discussed in her presence, while Mr Callinan conceded that the notes suggest they were discussed but he can’t recall the matters being discussed either.

This is important, particularly in relation to Ms O’Sullivan, given she received a false rape referral against Sgt McCabe in May 2014 – which she also can’t recall reading – while Sgt McCabe and motivation was something that reared its head again a year later at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which ran from May 2015 until December 2015.

Sgt McCabe was only informed of this false rape referral in January 2016.

But going back to Supt Taylor’s protected disclosure…

In his protected disclosure, Supt Taylor only named one journalist – Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent – in respect of the Ms D allegation. However, he did also state he spoke to “various journalists”.

He also referred to RTE’s Paul Reynolds in respect of separate briefings on the day Mr Callinan stood down from his role as commissioner in March 2014.

The tribunal has already heard that three journalists called to the D family home in early 2014 – Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun; and Mr Williams.

However, only Mr Williams wrote articles about Ms D in 2014.

In his protected disclosure, Supt Taylor alleged that he got a phone call from Mr Williams in which Mr Williams told him he was in Ms D’s house and he was going to interview her.

But, in his protected disclosure, Supt Taylor also said: “No article was ever published”.

However four articles written by Mr Williams were published about Ms D in the Irish Independent in April/May 2014. Supt Taylor said he never saw these articles.

Supt Taylor has told the tribunal that the purpose of Mr Williams’s phone call was for information purposes and that he passed on what Mr Williams told him to both Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan.

Mr Williams, Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan categorically reject this.

The tribunal yesterday saw that Ms O’Sullivan – who would have been Garda Commissioner at this point – texted Paul Williams at 7.11pm on April 12, 2014, the day Mr Williams’ first Ms D article was published in the Irish Independent. When asked if this text was about his Ms D article, Ms O’Sullivan said no.

Ms O’Sullivan also told the tribunal that she couldn’t recall talking to anybody about the article at that time.

The tribunal heard evidence from the D family and Mr Williams last summer in which they said Mr Williams came to the D family home on Saturday, March 8, 2014 and interviewed Ms D.

It followed a separate visit by Mr Williams a few days beforehand in which he just met Ms D’s parents, Mr and Mrs D.

On that Saturday, in which he interviewed Ms D, the tribunal heard, Mr Williams – with the help of videographer Caoimhe Gaskin – also videoed part of his interview with Ms D.

The tribunal hasn’t seen this video interview.

[More can be read about this here, while Mr Williams is scheduled to return to give further evidence next week]

After making his protected disclosure – in September 2016 – Supt Taylor gave the names of nine male journalists, whom he claims he negatively briefed about Sgt McCabe, to the tribunal.

They were Mr Williams; Paul Reynolds, of RTE; John Mooney, of The Sunday Times; Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star; Juno McEnroe, of the Irish Examiner; Cormac O’Keeffe, of the Irish Examiner; Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner; Conor Lally, of The Irish Times and John Burke, of RTE.

Later still, after the D family gave evidence on Monday, July 17, 2017 – in relation to the Tusla module which looked at how the false rape referral came into existence and when Ms D, Mr D and Mrs D told the tribunal that Ms McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday and Ms Murray, of the Irish Sun, visited the house separately in February of 2014 – the tribunal’s investigators went back to Supt Taylor and he then added these two journalists to his list.

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