Tag Archives: Disclosures Tribunal

From top: Supt Noel Cunningham, solicitor at Chief State Solicitor’s office Annemarie Ryan, Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy

Today.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

The current witness Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy is being asked, among other matters, about the provenance of the Chief State Solicitor’s letter which was given to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation on the morning of May 18, 2015 – after Judge Kevin O’Higgins asked counsel for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to set out in writing what exactly her counsel were going to put to Sgt Maurice McCabe after a legal row broke out on May 15, 2015.

Readers will recall that an allegation made in paragraph 19 of the CSS letter – about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – was proven to be false by a tape recording produced by Sgt McCabe which was sorted out on June 24, 2015.

The paragraph stated:

“Having been appointed to investigate Sergeant McCabe’s complaint against Superintendent Clancy, now Superintendent Noel Cunningham, having attempted on a number of occasions to meet with Sergeant McCabe, eventually met with Sergeant McCabe by appointment on the 25th August 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station, to receive details of his formal complaint.

“Superintendent Cunningham was accompanied to this meeting by Sergeant Yvonne Martin. Notes were taken at the meeting and countersigned by Sergeant Martin and a detailed report of the meeting was prepared by Superintendent Cunningham, and its contents agreed with Sergeant Martin and forwarded to Chief Superintendent Rooney. In the course of this meeting Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.”

Chief Supt Healy has told the tribunal this morning that the wrong claim arose out of consultations between gardai and their counsel on May 12 and May 13, 2015 during which counsel were asking gardai ‘what triggered all of this’ ahead of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Readers should note that, on June 11, 2015, when submissions were made to the commission, on the part of the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and senior gardai, this claim was repeated – more explicitly.

The submissions even went further, stating that “evidence” would be given in respect of this.

The submission stated:

It is understood that Superintendent Cunningham and Sergeant Martin will give evidence that Sergeant McCabe said at this meeting that the complaint which he had made was a bid by him to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him and to the complaining party. This is recorded in a report of the meeting prepared jointly by Sergeant Martin and Superintendent Cunningham.”

Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, asked Chief Supt Fergus Healy this morning, if the submissions of June 2015 were submitted on behalf of the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and other senior gardai and if they had been signed off by Ms O’Sullivan and other various clients.

He agreed.

Chief Supt Healy was also asked what Ms O’Sullivan knew at this point and she told the tribunal that she knew what he told her, which was that there had been consultations between gardai and counsel and that, at those consultations, counsel were told Sgt McCabe’s request for DPP directions to be given to D family was refused and that that was “linchpin” for “all these issues”.

On June 24, 2015, when Supt Cunningham gave evidence at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, after Sgt McCabe’s tape was produced, Supt Cunningham told Sean Gillane SC, for the commission, that his notes and report matched Sgt McCabe’s tape.

Further to this.

Yesterday, just as solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office was finishing giving evidence, she had the following exchange with Ellen Gleeson BL, for Colm Smyth SC, Michael MacNamee BL, and Garret Byrne BL.

Ellen Gleeson: “Ms. Ryan, I think you indicated, Mr. McDowell asked you earlier to confirm that it was only when the record of the Mullingar meeting came to light that the error in the letter of the 18th of May was revealed?

Annemarie Ryan: “That is correct.”

Gleeson:But in fact, I think you had handed in to the Commission and I think also to Sergeant McCabe’s team, as I understand it, Noel Cunningham’s report of the September 2008 with the letter of the 18th May, you had made that available, I think you said earlier in your evidence on day 42, at page 140, that you had handed in those enclosures, including that report on that date?

Ryan:Yes. The 18th May 2015, I recall Mr. O’Hagan [solicitor for the commission] wanted the letter immediately and, as I said, I was late for other reasons getting over there, out of my control, and I gave the letter over, I was then copying the documentation, there was three documents and they followed within a couple of minutes, and the hearings commenced and I do recall a part — and then a copy of it I was directed to give it to Maurice McCabe’s legal team. My notes show I gave over three copies and with the letter, with the documentation and no other party received that letter or documentation.”

Gleeson: “Thank you. And the September 2008 letter, of course, referred to the complaint being to Superintendent Clancy, isn’t that right?”

Ryan: “Yes.”

Gleeson: “And would you agree, therefore, that the September 2008 report, which revealed that mistake in relation to the complaint against Clancy, was made available to everyone by your clients before the transcript of the Mullingar meeting was provided by Sergeant McCabe?”

Ryan: “Yes, it was. I received it directly from the clients that morning of the 18th of May 2015.”

So.

To recap.

The tribunal has now heard the claim that Supt Cunningham’s report of the August 2008 meeting – which matched Sgt McCabe’s tape – was given to Sgt McCabe’s counsel on the morning of May 18, 2015, along with the CSS letter which contradicted the tape.

This would appear to be confusing.

Why then, did the Mr Smyth, SC, for former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Supt Cunningham, put the wrong claim to Sgt McCabe when they had the following exchange on the afternoon of May 18, 2015 – if it was known that Supt Cunningham’s notes didn’t match the CSS letter and, as a consequence, contradicted the very allegation that Mr Smyth put to Sgt McCabe?

Smyth: In the course of that [August 2008] meeting, Sergeant, you advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason you made a complaint against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow you to have the full authority directions conveyed to you?

McCabe: “That is absolutely false.”

Anyone?

UPDATE:

Previously:  “Drafted By Counsel, Circulated And Signed Off By The Client”

Maurice McCabe and the Chief State Solicitor’s Letter

Supt Cunningham And the Chief State Solicitor’s Letter

From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine; solicitor at the Chief State Solicitor’s Office Annemarie Ryan (middle back)

Yesterday.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

It heard that Supt Noel Cunningham, in a statement to the tribunal, has said he signed off on a letter from the Chief State Solicitor’s office in May 2015 – before it was submitted to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – which included an incorrect claim attributed to him about a meeting later proven to be untrue by a tape recording of the meeting made by Sgt Maurice McCabe and, later, Supt Cunningham’s own notes.

But, he said in the statement, he didn’t spot the mistake as he was looking at the document on his phone and he has poor eyesight.

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, said:

“The position is that he [Supt Noel Cunningham] recites in his statement that he received the letter, he didn’t have an opportunity to print it, and read it from his phone, but he wasn’t able to read it from his own phone and he said he had bad eyesight and he said that he didn’t see the mistake in paragraph 19, and that, had he seen the error, it would have been clear to him.”

Supt Cunningham is currently the president of the Association of Garda Superintendents.

The tribunal has also heard that the letter from the Chief State Solicitor’s office may never have been circulated to Sgt Yvonne Martin, whose name was also on this letter and was associated with this claim, for her approval.

A solicitor at the CSSO, Annemarie Ryan yesterday told the tribunal:

“I had no dealings with Sergeant Martin. She was named in that letter arising out of Garda documentation, a report prepared by Superintendent Cunningham and Garda Martin had signed her signature to handwritten notes prepared during that conversation where Sergeant McCabe had recorded.

“And that was Sergeant Martin’s role, I understood it. And as I said, I had no dealings with Sergeant Martin during this entire investigation, Commission, and nor had I dealings with any solicitor on her behalf and nor do I know even if she was down there or called...”

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Clockwise from top: Supt Noel Cunningham, Sgt Maurice McCabe, retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny

Yesterday morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Superintendent Noel Cunningham sent a new statement to the tribunal.

This came ahead of the appearance of solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

Readers will recall it has been hoped that Ms Ryan will be able to shed light on how a claim about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – attributed to Supt Cunningham who was present at the meeting – ended up on a document sent to the commission from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon’s office…

Only to be proven false by a taped recording of that meeting produced by Sgt Maurice McCabe and Supt Cunningham’s own notes and report on that same meeting.

The specific claim in the Chief State Solicitor letter was this:

In the course of this meeting [in Mullingar in August 2008] Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.

After the letter was sent to the commission, readers will recall Colm Smyth SC, for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, had the following exchange with Sgt McCabe, during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation:

Smyth: “In the course of that [Mullingar, August 2008] meeting, Sergeant, you advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason you made a complaint against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow you to have the full authority directions conveyed to you?”

McCabe:That is absolutely false.”

Sgt McCabe subsequently produced his tape.

The tribunal last week heard Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal say, that no such threat was accompanied by Sgt McCabe’s request that the DPP’s directions  in relation to the Ms D complaint be given to the D family.

She said:

 “When later in the hearings of the O’Higgins Commission the tape was produced, on day four, to the Commission, having previously been disclosed by Sergeant McCabe, the matter of a threat at Mullingar meeting was negatived.”

The tribunal also heard last week of a statement made by Colm Smyth, SC, to the tribunal.

In it, he said:

A misunderstanding in instructions which came from clients other than Commissioner O’Sullivan resulted in an inaccuracy related to an interaction with sergeant McCabe on the 25th August, 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station.

Those instructions as initially understood were accurately reflected in paragraph 19 of the letter of the CSSO to the Commission of Investigation dated the 18th May, 2015. The said complaint made by sergeant McCabe was against Mr. D. and not Superintendent Clancy.

The inaccuracy in question was that the complaint being made by Sergeant McCabe was against Superintendent Clancy. The complaint had in fact been forwarded to Superintendent Clancy. This complaint came to be investigated by Superintendent Noel Cunningham.

This error was corrected but did not alter the substance of the matter being put to Sergeant McCabe about the meeting in Mullingar on the 25th of August, 2008 and which sergeant McCabe accepts.

So, it would appear that the matter of the so-called “threat” that was outlined in the Chief State Solicitor’s letter is still being maintained – at least by some.

Further to this…

Yesterday.

With his new statement, Supt Cunningham attached Ms Ryan’s notes of a consultation meeting they had on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in Garda HQ.

Ms Ryan’s notes refer to what Supt Cunnigham told her in relation to the meeting between Supt Cunningham, Sgt Yvonne Martin and Sgt Maurice McCabe in Mullingar in August 2008.

Inspector Michael McNamara was also present at this consultation meeting in Garda HQ.

Firstly, Ms Ryan’s notes say:

“Up to 2008 above and over 26 years’ service, Noel never had one single complaint against him by anyone. Since then, there has been numerous complaints from public about him. Question over whether McCabe behind D’s allegations that Noel didn’t carry out proper investigations.

“No adverse findings to date, but some still ongoing.”

Noel met with McCabe in Mullingar with Yvonne Martin in 2008 about complaints to Mike Clancy. McCabe wanted his DPP file. Noel made report of this meeting in the next day.”

The tribunal heard that, in Ms Ryan’s notes, she had an ‘arrow’ pointing down from the word ‘McCabe’ saying:

“This was his reason for making complaint to Mike Clancy.”

Secondly, the tribunal heard Inspector McNamara’s notes record:

“Letter of demand from Sergeant McCabe for file of superintendent to DPP in 2008 report. Allegedly got no support. Meeting in Mullingar. Sergeant Yvonne present.”

Reason making complaints to Superintendent Clancy was to force his hand to get a copy of the file.

In respect of Inspector McNamara’s notes, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, asked Mr Ryan: “Am I correct in saying that he [Supt Cunningham] did provide this information?”

Ms Ryan and Mr McGuinness then had this exchange:

Ryan: “If he has waived privilege in that respect?”

McGuinness: “Yes.”

Ryan: “It’s just, I understand from an affidavit sworn by the Gardaí that he hadn’t, so…”

McGuinness: “Yes.”

Ryan: “– am I in a position to talk about it? So there is detailed notes setting out that.”

Legal argument then followed about privilege.

Following on from that, the tribunal heard parts of Supt Cunningham’s fresh statement yesterday.

It heard that, in the statement, he said:

“On the 12th May 2015 I met with the Commissioner’s legal team at Garda Headquarters in advance of the first sitting of the O’Higgins Commission. At that meeting, I outlined my relationship and dealings with Sergeant McCabe. This included details of my meeting with Sergeant McCabe on 25th August 2008 in Mullingar when investigating the complaints he made against Mr. D. The notes clearly show that I outlined the complaint was made to Superintendent Clancy.”

Later, the tribunal returned to Mr McNamara’s notes.

There was this exchange:

McGuinness: “These are, as we previously identified them, Inspector MacNamara’s notes of the same meeting, and at the top of the page it says:

“Letter of demand from Sergeant McCabe for file of superintendent to DPP in 2008 report. Allegedly got no support. Meeting in Mullingar. Sergeant Yvonne present.”

He said:

“Reason making complaints to Superintendent Clancy was to force his hand to get a copy of the file.” And that is consistent with your note?

Ryan:It would appear to be.”

McGuinness: “It would appear to be, all right. Thank you.”

Judge Charleton told the tribunal that it had “become increasingly clear” that the right thing to do may be to call Supt Cunningham in to give evidence.

Ms Ryan will continue her evidence tomorrow at 10am.

Meanwhile…

Readers may wish to note that the tribunal has also heard that the first liaison officer appointed for the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation was the now retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny.

He was appointed to that position – which would have involved ensuring the transfer of documentation, etc, to and from An Garda Siochana to the commission – on February 12, 2015.

While Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane gave evidence yesterday, Mr Ruane explained that subsequent to Mr Kenny’s appointment, there was another liaison officer appointed, Supt Ward, and then, finally a third, Supt Fergus Healy, who ended up being the liaison officer for the commission.

Mr Ruane yesterday gave evidence about the first consultation meeting which took place in the Four Courts between gardai and their counsel for the commission.

Of that meeting, Mr Ruane spoke about a delay in collating documentation ahead of the commission.

Mr Ruane said:

“Chief Superintendent Healy had made a comment at a meeting on 11th of May that with respect to AC Kenny, I have it in my own notes, we lost six weeks. There may have been a perception arising out of the fact that the chief superintendent, who was the liaison for the Guerin Report, there may have been a perception that all of the documentation was necessary — necessarily collated at that point. I simply don’t know.

“But those questions would have to go to Assistant Commissioner Kenny or Chief Superintendent Ward.”

Readers will recall the tribunal heard in the summer that Chief Superintendent James Sheridan was the liaison officer with responsibility for giving documents to Sean Guerin SC pertaining to the Cavan/Monaghan area.

Readers will also recall the false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe was passed from Chief Supt Sheridan to Assistant Commissioner Kenny before it was sent to the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May 2014 – even though both Chief Supt Sheridan and Assistant Commissioner Kenny both knew the rape allegation was false.

The tribunal has also heard evidence from Asst Comm Kenny that he never sent on the corrected referral – which showed the rape allegation was false – to the Garda Commissioner.

During the Keith Harrison modules, it heard that Asst Comm Kenny was out of the country.

Yesterday: ‘This Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Factual Matters To Be Investigated By O’Higgins’

“It Was Dragged Back In, In A Collateral Way To Demean Him”

Rollingnews

Clockwise from top left: Former Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Last Friday.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Evidence was heard from the former Secretary General at the Department of Justice Noel Waters and Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane.

Mr Ruane is scheduled to continue giving evidence today and will be followed by Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office.

On Friday, it also heard of Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, say although nobody was suggesting that somebody was going to ask Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation if he ever abused a child,  “there was consideration, God knows by whom, given to the question of putting Ms D’s allegation firmly in the middle of the table at the O’Higgins Commission”.

It also heard of communications between the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the bizarre drawing up of statements by the Department of Justice for the Garda Commissioner to make to the Department of Justice.

That particular matter prompted  Judge Charleton to recall Myles na gCopaleen and ask: “If the Garda Commissioner is writing to the Department of Justice what the Department of Justice wants to have written to it, what in heaven’s name does that mean in terms of any genuine progress in terms of attitude?”

It also heard of a draft speech Ms O’Sullivan sent to Ms Fitzgerald on May 18, 2016 –  after the Irish Examiner broke the story in May 2016 about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and the strategy employed against Sgt McCabe – and in which she suggested Ms Fitzgerald tell the Dail, among other things, “I have interrogated this matter in detail with the 22 Commissioner of An Garda Síochána and now present to the House the outcome…I wish to state here now that I have full confidence in the Commissioner” (more about these communications in a later post).

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Superintendent Noel Cunningham

Further to a post this morning.

In relation to the Disclosures Tribunal.

About the Chief State Solicitor’s letter which was presented to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

And about questions surrounding how claims about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – attributed to Supt Noel Cunningham who was present at the meeting – ended up in a document sent to the commission from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon’s office, only to be proven false by a taped recording of that meeting produced by Sgt Maurice McCabe and, later, Supt Cunningham’s own notes and report on that same meeting…

And how, during the commission, when asked if he had seen the Chief State Solicitor’s letter before it was sent to the commission on the morning of Monday, May 18, 2015, Mr Cunningham said “no”; then “I don’t remember seeing it, possibly”; and then “I don’t want to catch anybody short by saying something that I — I have so many documents given to me, Judge, with respect, so many documents in a short period of time.”

This afternoon.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, has just told the tribunal that Supt Cunningham WAS shown the five-page 20-point letter and signed a copy of it prior to it being given to the commission.

Secondly…

Mr McDowell told the tribunal Mr Cunningham was shown it again by Annemarie Ryan, solicitor with the Chief Solicitor’s Office and asked him for his agreement to it – which he gave – when submissions, repeating the contents of the letter, were made to the commission in June 2015.

Earlier: Maurice McCabe And The Chief State Solicitor’s Letter

From top: Judge Peter Charleton; Supt Noel Cunningham; Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine

This morning.

The Disclosures Tribunal will resume at Dublin Castle at 10am.

It’s hoped one of the scheduled witnesses – Annmarie Ryan, who was a solicitor with the Chief State Solicitor’s office during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015 – will be able to shed light on a bewildering matter that was revealed on Monday.

Specifically, the matter is this:

How did claims about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – attributed to Supt Noel Cunningham who was present at the meeting – end up on a document sent to the commission from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon’s office, only to be proven false by a taped recording of that meeting produced by Sgt Maurice McCabe and, later, Supt Cunningham’s own notes and report on that same meeting?

Ms Ryan is the third witness scheduled to appear today.

The first is former General Secretary at the Department of Justice Noel Waters, who stepped down from his role on November 28 last, within hours of former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s resignation.

The second is Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane.

But, to return to the bewildering letter from the Chief State Solicitor…

Readers will recall how the tribunal is currently looking at what happened in terms of the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s legal strategy during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation between May 2015 and December 2015.

This commission, overseen by Judge Kevin O’Higgins, was set up to look at about a dozen Garda investigations in the Cavan/Monaghan area between 2007 and 2010, following complaints made by Sgt Maurice McCabe about these investigations.

At the outset of this commission, on Friday, May 15, 2015, Colm Smyth SC, for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, was questioning retired Chief Supt Colm Rooney, whom Mr Smyth also represented, when a legal row broke out.

This occurred after Mr Smyth explained that his instructions were to challenge the integrity, credibility and motivation of Sgt McCabe.

Mr Smyth’s stance prompted Sean Gillane, SC for the commission, to question the relevance of Mr Smyth’s line of questioning.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, questioned the same and asked why he wasn’t given any notice of it, which he said left him “very, very deeply shocked”.

At the tribunal on Monday, Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, pondered:

“The facts of the issues under investigation [at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation] either stood up or did not, irrespective of any attitude that Sergeant McCabe might or might not take. It is in that context that it might be difficult to see how any issue of credibility could properly arise at all at all.”

In any event…

Mr Smyth had this exchange with Judge O’Higgins on that afternoon of May 15, 2015:

Smyth: “…my instructions are to challenge the integrity certainly of Sergeant McCabe and his motivation.”

O’Higgins: “The integrity?”

Smyth: “His motivation and his credibility in mounting these allegations of corruption and malpractice.”

O’Higgins: “There is a difference. In relation to the question of credibility, as I have already indicated, that is an everyday matter. One can suggest to a witness that his evidence shouldn’t be believed because of something but an attack on somebody’s credibility, on his motivation or integrity is something that really doesn’t form part of this Inquiry. It would be necessary I think for you to go further and say that the complaints and the actions of Sergeant McCabe on your instructions were motivated by, his motivation was dishonest or wrong. In other words that he made these allegations not in good faith but because he was motivated by malice or some such motive and that impinges on his integrity. If those are your instructions from the Commissioner, so be it.”

Smyth: “So be it. That is the position, Judge.”

O’Higgins: “Those are your –”

Smyth: “Yes, as the evidence will demonstrate, Judge.”

After an adjournment, during which Mr Smyth checked with Noirin O’Sullivan about his instructions, and Ms O’Sullivan made two phone calls to the Department of Justice, Mr Smyth returned to the commission and said: “My instructions are re-confirmed.”

Mr McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, then requested that notice be given to him of what An Garda Siochana were going to put to Sgt McCabe.

This notice came the following Monday morning in the form of a five-page 20-point letter from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon, who’s now a High Court judge.

This was the letter in full:

Mr. David J. O’Hagan,

Re: The Commission of Investigation…

Dear Mr. O’Hagan,

As directed by the Judge in the course of hearing on Friday, the 15th May 2015 we hereby provide the factual issues to be put to Sergeant Maurice McCabe:

1. In summer 2004, both Sergeant McCabe and a colleague applied for the vacant position of Sergeant in Charge of Bailieboro Garda Station. Sergeant McCabe was successful and took up the duties of Sergeant in Charge in October 2004.

2. In January 2006, Sergeant McCabe made a complaint against this colleague which resulted in a disciplinary sanction being imposed on the colleague.

3. The colleague applied for a transfer to another Garda station in December 2006 which request was refused for operational reasons due to the supervisory needs of Bailieboro station.

4. In December 2006, the colleague and his wife, on behalf of their daughter, made a complaint against Sergeant McCabe. Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney duly appointed Inspector (now Superintendent) Noel Cunningham to carry out a formal Garda investigation into the complaint.

5. Inspector Cunningham completed his investigation and forwarded the Garda Investigation file to the office of the DPP on or about the 19th of February 2007. Inspector Cunningham stated in his report to the DPP “taking all matters into consideration, including the question of whether the event happened, constituted a breach of the criminal law, it is felt that there is no ground for a criminal prosecution.”

6. The Director Of Public Prosecutions communicated the decision not to initiate any form of action against Sergeant McCabe and the observation was made that it was doubtful that the allegation could constitute a crime at all. The said directions were issued by way of a letter dated 5th April 2007 to the Cavan State Solicitor. Inspector Cunningham had requested that the directions from the DPP were to be forwarded for his attention rather than addressed in the usual way to the station and he received the directions, as he had requested, marked for his attention.

7. Upon receipt of said directions, Inspector Cunningham undertook the task of informing the parties to the complaint of the outcome of the investigation and the directions of the DPP. He advised the colleague and his wife on the 24th April 2007.

8. On the same day (the 24th April 2007) Inspector Cunningham sought to make an appointment with Sergeant McCabe to similarly advise him of the outcome of the investigation and the reasons from the DPP. However Sergeant McCabe was on sick leave from the 24th of April 2007 to the 21st of May 2007. Sergeant McCabe initially refused but subsequently agreed to meet on the 8th of May 2007.

9. On the 8th May 2007, Inspector Cunningham met with Sergeant McCabe by appointment at the Bailie Hotel. Inspector Cunningham was alone but Sergeant McCabe was accompanied by Sergeant Regina McArdle who was present initially as AGSI representative and then welfare officer. Inspector Cunningham duly informed Sergeant McCabe of the outcome of the investigation and the responses/directions of the DPP.

10. On 15th and 17th October 2007, there were two incidents in which Sergeant McCabe had an encounter with the wife and daughter, respectively, of Mr D. Following these incidents, Sergeant McCabe raised with Superintendent Clancy the issue of dissemination of the DPP’s directions which were given at the conclusion of an investigation into an allegation assault against Sergeant McCabe. Sergeant McCabe stated that he was of the view that the colleague’s family were unaware of the DPP’s directions. He stated that he was aware that Inspector Cunningham had met the colleague’s family concerning the outcome of the DPP’s directions. As a consequence, on the 22nd October 2007, Superintendent Clancy sent a minute to Inspector Cunningham in Monaghan seeking his observations on the issue.

11. Superintendent Clancy recalls having a meeting with Sergeant McCabe at the beginning of February 2008. At that meeting, Superintendent Clancy ascertained from Sergeant McCabe that he had no desire to have the colleague’s family prosecuted for the incidents he complained about. Superintendent Clancy asked Sergeant McCabe to convey his attitude in this matter by way of a written report as the Superintendent wished to have his views recorded on file. Sergeant McCabe stated that he would forward a report indicating that he did not wish to have the colleague’s family prosecuted. At the same meeting, Superintendent Clancy informed Sergeant McCabe that he had been in contact with Inspector Cunningham on the issue of the dissemination of the DPP’s directions. Superintendent Clancy informed Sergeant McCabe that Inspector Cunningham had communicated the DPPs directions to the colleague’s family on 24th April 2007. Sergeant McCabe then stated that he wished to view the actual written direction given by the DPP. Sergeant McCabe stated he felt that he should be ‘exonerated’ by the DPP. Sergeant McCabe stated that he would make written application to the Superintendent to have the DPP’s written directions shown to him. On 7th February 2008, Superintendent Clancy sent a minute to Sergeant McCabe giving the outcome of his enquiries with Inspector Cunningham on the issue of dissemination of the DPP’s directions.

12. On Tuesday, 26th February 2008, Superintendent Clancy received an envelope marked personal containing a report dated the 25th February 2008 from Sergeant McCabe. In this report, Sergeant McCabe made a number of allegations of incidents which allegedly occurred as far back as 2004 against Mr D and other unnamed members of Bailieboro Garda Station. Sergeant McCabe acknowledged that he had received Superintendent’s Clancy’s minute of 7th February 2008. Sergeant McCabe asked for full disclosure of the D.P.P.’s directions. “I urge you, if you can, to asked[sic] the DPP to allow the full DPP directions to be conveyed to me and the other party, in particular Mrs. D., in his particular case due to the fact that all parties work in close proximity and I would really appreciate it. That is all I am asking.”

13. Superintendent Clancy immediately forwarded this report to the divisional officer, Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney, recommending that the allegations made by Sergeant McCabe be investigated. In the meantime, Superintendent Clancy sought sight of the written directions as given by the DPP. Having carefully viewed the content of the DPP’s directions, the Superintendent decided that he would adhere to the DPP’s guidelines and that he would not request release of the document. On 11th March 2008, Superintendent Clancy met Sergeant McCabe and gave him the outcome of his decision.

14. Sergeant McCabe was unhappy with the outcome of the decision of the DPP, as he believed that the decision ought to have completely exonerated him rather than recording that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed against him.

15. In or around the same time Sergeant McCabe presented Superintendent Clancy with a series of operational issues for his attention, which were of a type which would normally have been dealt with by the Sergeant in Charge of the station.

16. Sergeant McCabe sought an appointment to see Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney and this was facilitated in June/July 2007. At the meeting Sergeant McCabe expressed anger and annoyance towards the DPP. He demanded that Chief Superintendent Rooney communicate with the DPP to seek a declaration of innocence from the DPP in relation to the allegation. Chief Superintendent Rooney advised Sergeant McCabe of the policy of the DPP in dealing with such issues, a policy which Sergeant McCabe was himself professionally aware of. Chief Superintendent Rooney told Sergeant McCabe that he could not seek such a declaration on Sergeant McCabe’s behalf from the DPP.

Chief Superintendent Rooney pointed out to Sergeant McCabe that from his own experience of dealing with criminal files to the DPP he was aware of the DPP’s role to determine if sufficient evidence was available on a file to direct a prosecution. Chief Superintendent Rooney advised sergeant McCabe that it is not the Garda Commissioner’s policy that An Garda Síochána, challenge the Director of Public Prosecutions on his decisions. Chief Superintendent Rooney further pointed out to Sergeant McCabe that, as a private citizen, it was open to him to write to the Director of Public Prosecutions is he so wished to seek the declaration he required.

17. In March 2008 Sergeant McCabe applied to be redeployed from his position as Sergeant in Charge of Bailieboro Garda Station and this request was granted.

18. Pursuant to the complaint made by Sergeant McCabe on the 26th February 2008 to Superintendent Clancy, Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney appointed Inspector Noel Cunningham to carry out an investigation.

19. Having been appointed to investigate Sergeant McCabe’s complaint against Superintendent Clancy, now Superintendent Noel Cunningham, having attempted on a number of occasions to meet with Sergeant McCabe, eventually met with Sergeant McCabe by appointment on the 25th August 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station, to receive details of his formal complaint. Superintendent Cunningham was accompanied to this meeting by Sergeant Yvonne Martin. Notes were taken at the meeting and countersigned by Sergeant Martin and a detailed report of the meeting was prepared by Superintendent Cunningham, and its contents agreed with Sergeant Martin and forwarded to Chief Superintendent Rooney. In the course of this meeting Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.

20. It is understood that Sergeant McCabe had further interactions with assistant commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn prior to the investigation carried out by them.

Yours faithfully…

On Monday, the tribunal specifically heard that point 19 was a “serious error”.

Ms Leader BL, for the tribunal, asked:

“…a serious error seems to have been made as to the purport of the Mullingar meeting of the 25th of August 2008. Where did the notion come from that Sergeant McCabe turned up to that meeting and announced that his issues with Superintendent Clancy had been manufactured by him in order to create some kind of a pressure wave so that senior management would bow to his demand that the DPP’s letter exonerating him would be circulated?

This idea, which somehow got into paragraph 19 of counsel’s letter to the Commission on behalf of Commissioner Nóirín O’ Sullivan, is not contained in the report of Superintendent Cunningham and it does not accord with the tape that Sergeant McCabe had made of the meeting.

“How did that happen?”

Indeed.

At the O’Higgins commission, Mr McDowell, for Sgt McCabe, asked Supt Cunningham if he had been furnished with the Chief State Solicitor letter before that morning of Monday, May 18, 2015.

Supt Cunningham first said “no”; then “I don’t remember seeing it, possibly”; and then “I don’t want to catch anybody short by saying something that I — I have so many documents given to me, Judge, with respect, so many documents in a short period of time.”

He then went on to say he believed it was the first time he was reading paragraph 19.

Meanwhile…

Questions may also arise about the paragraphs which claim Sgt McCabe was angry with the DPP and that he wanted the DPP’s directions challenged; that he wanted the DPP to exonerate him and that he wanted the DPP to declare his innocence.

These claims appear equally bewildering as paragraph 19, as Sgt McCabe knew the DPP’s directions and they did exonerate him.

Readers should note that the claims in the Chief State Solicitor letter – alleging Sgt McCabe wanted the DPP to exonerate him – chime with evidence that was given  just before the legal row kicked off at the commission on May 15, 2015.

At that point, Colm Smyth SC, for Ms O’Sullivan and several gardai including Supt Cunningham and retired Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney, asked Mr Rooney about a meeting he had with Sgt McCabe.

Chief Supt Rooney told the commission:

“It was probably late 2007, yes, definitely. He came to my office and he was in that state and he demanded of me that I write to the Director of Public Prosecutions and I challenge a decision that Director of Public Prosecutions had made in respect of him.”

Readers may wish to recall, in terms of the DPP directions mentioned above, they relate to a retrospective allegation which was made against Sgt McCabe by a 14-year-old daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s in 2006 and, following an investigation by then Inspector Noel Cunningham, the DPP directed that no prosecution take place.

Ms D made the allegation in a statement to gardai in December 2006, 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.

On April 5, 2007, the DPP issued its directions as follows:

Dear Sir,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1st March 2007 together with copy Garda investigation file. I agree with you and the Guards, that the evidence does not warrant a prosecution. There was no admission. 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 [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards. There is no basis for a prosecution.

Sgt McCabe learned of the directions on the day they were issued (April 5, 2007) when he was verbally briefed of them by the Cavan State Solicitor Rory Hayden.

But he kept his knowledge of the directions to himself.

The tribunal heard that Sgt McCabe and Supt Cunningham didn’t eventually meet to discuss the DPP’s directions until May 8, 2007.

In the summer, Supt Cunningham told the tribunal that when he relayed the DPP’s directions to Sgt McCabe he didn’t specifically read out the DPP’s directions to him.

Instead, he told the tribunal:

“I told him there was no prosecution, I believe it was due to lack of evidence, I didn’t actually take a note of it.”

On August 9, 2013, after Ms D received counselling from RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy, during which Ms D repeated the 2006 claim, Ms Brophy unnecessarily re-referred – in so much as it had been previously referred and investigated – the matter to Tusla but conflated the “humping” allegation with an allegation of rape which was wholly unrelated to both Ms D and Sgt McCabe.

This false allegation of rape sat in an unallocated Tusla file until May 2014 when it was simultaneously found to be a mistake and yet travelled officially all the way up to the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s office – even though certain gardai involved in moving it up the chain of command knew about the 2006/2007 allegation and knew that there was no such rape allegation made by Ms D against Sgt McCabe in 2006/2007.

The tribunal has already heard that, within days of the mistake in the Tusla referral being discovered, the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny received an amended referral but never passed it on to Ms O’Sullivan.

Sgt McCabe didn’t learn of the false rape allegation until a letter was sent to him on December 29, 2015.

The false rape allegation was still on file in the commissioner’s office until the tribunal began earlier this year.

The Disclosures Tribunal is also examining the knowledge and circulation of this false rape allegation among senior gardai and members of the media.

Previously: ‘Maurice McCabe’s Integrity Was Impugned’

Rollingnews

Clockwise from left: Sgt Maurice McCabe, former Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon, now a High Court judge; Superintendent Noel Cunningham

Yesterday.

The Disclosures Tribunal resumed in Dublin Castle.

Readers will recall how the tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, is investigating claims of an orchestrated smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe, by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan with the knowledge of his successor Noirin O’Sullivan, as alleged by the former Head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.

The tribunal is currently dealing with the inquiry’s term of reference ‘e’ which is to investigate if false allegations of sex abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by the then Garda Commissioner Ms O’Sullivan during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

Yesterday, the tribunal heard transcripts from the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation; it heard a number of serious “errors” made in terms of claims made about Sgt McCabe during the commission; and it heard how Ms O’Sullivan consulted the Department of Justice about the legal strategy of An Garda Siochana taken at the commission.

It also saw a transcript of the tape recording that Sgt McCabe had made of a meeting he had with Supt Noel Cunningham and Sgt Yvonne Martin on August 25, 2008.

And it heard that at least one section of a document signed by the Chief State Solicitor of the time Eileen Creedon, now a High Court judge, was incorrect and contained a claim attributed to Supt Noel Cunningham which was proven to be untrue by the tape.

It also heard that Supt Cunningham’s notes matched what was revealed in the tape recording – prompting Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, to ask how it ended up in Ms Creedon’s letter.

Readers should note Ms Creedon’s name was not mentioned in yesterday’s proceedings.

In addition, Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, told the tribunal that Sgt McCabe’s integrity was impugned at the commission.

To recap…

Readers will recall how a retrospective allegation was made against Sgt McCabe by a 14-year-old daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s in 2006 and, following an investigation by then Inspector Noel Cunningham, the DPP directed that no prosecution take place.

The allegation made by the then girl, referred to in the tribunal as 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 in December 2006, 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.

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.”

The tribunal has already heard that Sgt McCabe was verbally briefed of the DPP’s full instructions by the Cavan State Solicitor Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, the day they were issued, but he kept his knowledge of the directions to himself.

The tribunal has also already heard that Sgt McCabe and Supt Cunningham didn’t eventually meet to discuss the DPP’s directions until May 8, 2007.

Ms D’s allegations resurfaced six years later, on August 9, 2013, when Ms D received counselling from RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy.

During this counselling, Ms D repeated the 2006 claim and Ms Brophy unnecessarily re-referred – in so much as it had been previously referred and investigated – the matter to Tusla but conflated the “humping” allegation with an allegation of rape which was wholly unrelated to both Ms D and Sgt McCabe.

This allegation of rape sat in an unallocated Tusla file until May 2014 when it was simultaneously found to be a mistake and yet travelled officially all the way up to the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s office – even though certain gardai involved in moving it up the chain of command knew about the 2006/2007 allegation and knew that there was no such rape allegation made by Ms D against Sgt McCabe in 2006/2007.

The tribunal has already heard that, within days of the mistake in the Tusla referral being discovered, the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny received an amended referral but never passed it on to Ms O’Sullivan.

Sgt McCabe didn’t learn of this false rape allegation until a letter was sent to him in December 2015.

The false rape allegation was still on file in the commissioner’s office until the tribunal began earlier this year.

As mentioned above, the tribunal is currently investigating if false allegations of sex abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by the then Garda Commissioner Ms O’Sullivan during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

Essentially, the tribunal is currently tasked with deciphering what exactly Ms O’Sullivan’s approach was during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and to decide if it was justified.

The O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – between May 13, 2015 and December 17, 2015 – looked at allegations of Garda misconduct in the Cavan-Monaghan area, as laid out by Sgt McCabe.

During the inquiry, Ms O’Sullivan was represented by Colm Smyth, SC, while Sgt McCabe was represented by Michael McDowell, SC.

Yesterday the tribunal heard Kathleen Leader BL for the tribunal, take Judge Charleton, and those in attendance, through sections of transcripts from the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

They heard audio recordings from the commission while Ms Leader’s lengthy statement was followed by all in attendance on screen.

Ms Leader also read out correspondence and statements given to the tribunal from members of the Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General and the former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Specifically, Ms Leader revealed:

At least two errors, which were not in Sgt McCabe’s favour, were relayed in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

This follows Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, last August telling the tribunal that in respect of the “litany of grave errors” concerning Tusla, “There isn’t an error in his [Sgt McCabe’s] favour. Nobody made a mistake by which he benefited.” Continue reading

Clockwise from top left: Lorraine McCabe, Sgt Maurice McCabe, former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, and former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

Yesterday evening.

The Disclosures Tribunal released details of who will appear before Judge Peter Charleton for the first 10 days of sittings, after it resumes on January 8.

These witnesses will be asked questions in relation to the tribunal’s term of reference ‘e’.

Specifically, this term of reference is:

“To investigate whether the false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Commissioner O’Sullivan to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the Commission of Investigation into Certain Matters in the Cavan/Monaghan district under the Chairmanship of Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins.”

Readers will recall how claims made about Sgt McCabe at the outset of the privately held commission in 2015 were proven to be untrue but the claims and fall-out of the same were never recorded in Justice O’Higgins’ final report.

When the tribunal resumes on Monday, January 8, the first witness will be the Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane.

Also appearing on the first day will be Anne Marie Ryan, who was a solicitor with the Chief State Solicitor’s office during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 9, the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan will appear.

Ms O’Sullivan may also appear on the morning of Wednesday, January 10.

Colm Smyth, SC, who represented Ms O’Sullivan and other gardai at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, will also appear on Wednesday, January 10.

Mr Smyth will be followed by Gareth Byrne, BL, and Michael MacNamee, BL, who were also part of the legal team representing Ms O’Sullivan and other gardai.

The guards whom Mr Smyth, Mr Byrne, Mr MacNamee and Ms Ryan represented at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation included former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, her predecessor Martin Callinan, retired Chief Supt Colm Rooney, Chief Supt Michael Clancy, retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, retired Chief Supt Jim Sheridan and Supt Noel Cunningham.

On Thursday, January 11, head of HR at An Garda Siochana John Barrett will give evidence.

Readers will recall how it has been previously reported that the Disclosures Tribunal has already been told that – before the beginning of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – a member of Garda management told Mr Barrett “we are going after Maurice at the commission”.

It’s expected that Mr Barrett will give evidence in relation to this claim.

Mr Barrett will be followed by the former Chief Administration Officer Cyril Dunne.

On Friday, January 12, Richard Barrett, of the Attorney General’s office, will appear, followed by Michael Flahive, of the Department of Justice.

Readers may recall Mr Barrett and Mr Flahive’s involvement in the now infamous email that led to calls for former Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald to resign several weeks ago.

This was an email sent by Mr Flahive to Department of Justice officials, including former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald’s private secretary Christopher Quattrociocchi, on May 15, 2015.

In it, Mr Flahive said he received a call from Mr Barrett and that, according to Mr Barrett, a row had taken place at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation between the legal counsel for Sgt Maurice McCabe and the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

In the email, Mr Flahive wrote that Mr Barrett told him the row occurred because the counsel for Ms O’Sullivan wanted to introduce a complaint that the 2006 investigation into Ms D’s ‘dry humping’ allegation against Sgt McCabe wasn’t investigated properly.

Mr Flahive outlined that Michael McDowell, SC for Sgt McCabe, objected to this being raised and asked if Ms O’Sullivan had authorised the argument that this claim was relevant to Sgt McCabe’s motivation.

Mr Flahive explained that Mr Barrett said Ms O’Sullivan had authorised this approach.

Mr Quattrociocchi forwarded this email to to three people, including Ms Fitzgerald.

The other two people were Ms Fitzgerald’s special advisors William Lavelle, a Fine Gael councillor, and Marion Mannion.

After the email emerged, readers may recall, Sgt McCabe told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the alleged events outlined in this email never happened.

Former General Secretary of the Department of Justice Noel Waters will appear on Monday, January 15.

Readers will recall Mr Waters resigned with immediate effect on November 28 – within hours of Ms Fitzgerald resigning.

On Tuesday, January 16, Mr Quattrociocchi will give evidence, followed by the former Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

On Wednesday, Fine Gael councillor Mr Lavelle will appear.

On Thursday, January 18, Sgt Maurice McCabe will give evidence.

Read the schedule for this term of reference here

Previously: Absence Of Malice

Pics: Rollingnews

Terry Prone of the Communications Clinic and former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at the Public Accounts Committee on July 13, 2017

An Garda Siochana paid the Communications Clinic €10,400  and €92,955 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Further to this…

On Thursday, July 13, 2017.

The former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was asked about this sum of €92,955 by Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

Ms O’Sullivan told the committee the money would have been used to train gardai to deal with local radio and media.

She said:

“As part of our modernisation and renewal programme, we have committed to opening up the organisation. I do not have the exact breakdown here, but maybe some of my colleagues do.

The moneys would again have been spent on training Garda and civilian members around the country for interaction with local radio and local media, for example, on some of the information messages that would have gone out around Operation Thor and the “lock up and light up” campaign.

“Again, we can provide an exact breakdown or maybe some of my colleagues would have it, but that is what it would have been.”

When Mr MacSharry specifically asked Ms O’Sullivan if she had attended any media training sessions with the PR firm, Ms O’Sullivan said:

No. Maybe it is an opportunity, if I may Chair, to do something. I have seen a lot of speculation and commentary. Particularly, I think there was a figure of €140,000 mentioned which apparently I spent in terms of preparing for Committee of Public Accounts meetings. That is completely untrue. I have never received any preparatory training. Like yourself, Chair, I am not sure where that reporting came from. Certainly, no, I did not.

Mr MacSharry attempted to clarify further when they had this exchange:

Marc MacSharry:So the €92,000 was for people who would have to be spokespeople for local radio after a crime or were being consulted on an issue or something.”

Ms Nóirín O’Sullivan: “And, for example, district offices. As the Deputy will have seen, one of the criticisms we have received is that we are insular and defensive. Some of the inspectorate reports quite rightly raised the fact we need to speak more openly to the media. The Deputy would have seen a lot of our local officers around the country engaging more with the media. We have found that part of public reassurance is to get on local radio stations in particular and give out messages of reassurance and crime prevention and stories of interest to local communities.”

However…

Yesterday, John Mooney, in The Sunday Times, reported that the Disclosures Tribunal is examining advice which Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, gave to the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May, 2016.

Ms Prone gave this advice after it emerged that claims made by Ms O’Sullivan’s senior counsel during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015 – that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was acting out of malice – were proven to be untrue and journalists were asking Ms O’Sullivan for a comment about the same.

Mr Mooney reported:

The tribunal has been notified of email exchanges between senior gardai and Prone from May 2016, when the PR executive was consulted on the wording of a statement issued by the garda press office in response to media queries about O’Sullivan’s approach to McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission hearings.

“…Charleton has been given statements and documents that show Garda Headquarters held a meeting to discuss how it would respond to the issues identified by O’Higgins. The Garda press office later released three statements on the report and the leaked transcripts.

“Prone advised O’Sullivan on the second statement, which was released by the garda press office. It was an attempt to clarify the then commissioner’s role after newspapers published transcripts of the commission’s hearings. The statement, released on May 16, quoted O’Sullivan as saying she believed “dissent was not disloyalty” and she never regarded McCabe as malicious. It added that she was legally precluded from commenting on matters discussed at the commission.

“Charleton has been told the statement was circulated by O’Sullivan to Garda Headquarters on a private Gmail account, which deleted emails after 30 days, before its release. Copies were retained by Garda Headquarters as they were sent to official accounts. The email thread shows Prone had advised O’Sullivan.”

Meanwhile.

Two separate attempts earlier this year, by journalists Ali Bracken, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Ken Foxe, to obtain details of An Garda Siochana’s hiring of the Communications Clinic, under the Freedom of Information Act, have been rejected.

Specifically, Mr Foxe sought “copies of any emails between the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and PR consultant Terry Prone or the Communications Clinic during the period in which those services were provided to AGS.”

In addition.

The Department of Justice paid the Communications Clinic €2,336, €756 and €24,221 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice released a series of emails which showed how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, RTÉ journalist John Burke sent a press query to the Garda Press Office.

Mr Burke asked about the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s counsel questioning Sgt Maurice McCabe’s motivation at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Subsequent to this, in an email from the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Mr O’Leary stated Ms O’Sullivan phoned him “to let me know they had received queries from Colm O’Nongain [sic] about Sgt McCabe”.

Mr O’Leary added that the Garda Press Office was asked “was it the Garda Commissioner who had instructed counsel to adopt an aggressive stance towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission”.

He told Ms Fitzgerald: “The Gardai are not commenting.”

He then went on to advise Ms Fitzgerald, who was scheduled to appear on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015, to say the following:

“Both the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] and myself have made it clear that Sgt McCabe is a valued member of the Force.”

She was also advised to say she couldn’t comment on the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and that:

“…it would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way.”

In addition, Mr O’Leary also told Ms Fitzgerald that she could say:

“It would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way. The Commission clearly has to be let take its course.”

In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about the matter when she appeared on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015.

O’Sullivan ‘advised’ by PR guru about McCabe (John Mooney, The Sunday Times)

Previously: Getting Their Story Straight

Reputable History

Our Worst Fears

Five Years After

Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal With Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?

Committee transcript via Oireachtas.ie


 Garda Keith Harrison and Judge Peter Charleton

Yesterday evening.

The Disclosures Tribunal released its second interim report.

This report focused solely on matters pertaining to Garda Keith Harrison and his claims regarding Tusla and An Garda Siochana.

Garda Harrison has claimed his working life was difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

It was his contention that the gardai manipulated domestic incidents involving him and his partner Marissa Simms and this resulted in a referral being made to Tusla in February 2014.

The tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton, did not investigate anything in relation to the matters of 2008 and 2009. It was solely tasked with examining his claims about Tusla and contacts between Tusla and the gardai in respect of Garda Harrison.

In his report, Judge Charleton found that, during the hearings in which their allegations were examined, their claims “simply collapsed” and he rejected all of them in their entirety.

Judge Charleton, who worked as a tribunal counsel during the Morris Tribunal, was unequivocal in his summation:

All of the allegations of Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms examined by the tribunal are entirely without any validity. They have claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so.

“They claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so.

“They claimed to have been the victims of others. There is another side to this.

“The allegations which they made must have taken a considerable emotional toll on several of the multiple persons accused by them of very serious misconduct.

It is appropriate here to exonerate everyone in social services and in policing accused by them of discreditable conduct.

“That is the only possible conclusion to the tribunal’s enquiry. It is also amply corroborated by the supporting evidence analysed in this report.”

For anyone attending or following the hearings of the Garda Harrison module, Judge Charleton’s findings should come as no surprise – especially after Ms Simms’ evidence on September 27.

During the hearing that day Ms Simms said she had no issues with Tusla or the HSE or with the social worker who visited their home whom, she said, acted professionally and appropriately on foot of receiving a referral from the gardai.

It was also put to Ms Simms by Desmond Dockery SC, representing the gardai who took a statement from Ms Simms about Garda Harrison in October 2013 but which Ms Simms subsequently withdrew in January 2014 – that she had no basis for believing that gardai manipulated the HSE in relation to the Tusla referral.

Ms Simms said: “That’s correct.”

On foot of this, Mr Dockery asked Ms Simms, if that was her position, on what grounds did she make a complaint to GSOC last year in which she alleged the gardai abused their authority and made a referral in relation to Ms Simms’ children.

Ms Simms said she based it on her thinking that it wasn’t a coincidence that soon after she withdrew her statement on January 11, 2014, she received a letter from Tusla on February 2, 2014.

At one point, Judge Charleton directly asked Ms Simms: “What are you actually saying about the Garda and the HSE?”

Ms Simms replied: “I’m not inferring anything.”

At another point, Paul Anthony McDermott SC, for Tusla, stated:

“…there is a letter written on behalf of Marisa Simms and Garda Harrison by their solicitors to Dr [Katherine] Zappone, who is the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; in other words, my client’s Minister…it says: “The manner of intervention of Tusla in our client’s family life is a cause of concern and is by any measure an inexcusable abuse of their position.”

It was my understanding that the reason we’re here in this module was to investigate that allegation. It appears as though it is no longer being pursued.”

In addition.

The couple’s claim that Ms Simms’ 38-page statement of October 6, 2013, contained words and allegations not used by her – specifically that Garda Harrison threatened to burn her and the children, which ultimately gave rise to the Tusla referral – fell apart during the hearings.

This occurred when the tribunal saw texts Ms Simms sent to Garda Harrison, on September 29 and 30, crucially before she made her Garda statement, in which she referred to a threat made by him to burn her during an argument.

Separate to Judge Charleton’s findings in relation to his investigation of contacts between Tusla and members of An Garda Siochana in respect of Garda Harrison…

Readers may wish to note that during the final days of the module concerning Garda Harrison, it emerged that documents, which should have been sent to the tribunal by An Garda Siochana earlier, came to light.

These included a note written by Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn – which appeared to link the retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to a Garda strategy meeting where it was decided that matters pertaining to the domestic incident between Garda Harrison and Ms Simms would be referred to Tusla and GSOC.

The tribunal had heard that Chief Supt McGinn, who was the liaison officer for the gardai to the Morris Tribunal, had sent this document to Garda HQ but that Garda HQ hadn’t sent it on to the tribunal as it got separated in the process of sending categorised pieces of information to the tribunal.

The emergence of this note and other documents prompted Judge Charleton to make a lengthy speech in which he called for co-operation from the parties involved, saying the tribunal was blowing a bugle “as loud as it possibly can to ask people to just wake up and start helping us, and, in blowing that bugle, I am not saying that there has been any concealment, any deviousness, any conspiracy, but what I am saying is that things could have been done a lot better and they ought to be done now.”

Judge Charleton subsequently found nothing untoward in these documents.

In fact, it should be said, in his report, he said of Chief Supt McGinn:

“Having heard Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn giving evidence over three days it is obvious that she is a woman of nurturing character, highly proud of the organisation which she serves, and determined to do the best for it and for the people which it polices. Her intelligence, diligence and application to duty are admirable.”

But, on the subject of the seeking of documents.

Broadsheet understands that Garda Harrison is awaiting two sets of documents.

One set is in relation to a June 2016 Freedom of Information request for documents from the Department of Justice.

The other is in relation to a court order, made by Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court in May 2017, for the Garda Commissioner to hand over documents related to Garda Harrison pertaining to the timeframe of November 2008 to December 2014.

At that time, Judge Cross gave An Garda Siochana ten weeks to give Harrison the documents.

But this didn’t happen.

On November 20 last, back in the High Court, An Garda Siochana were given another four weeks after they requested time to put the documents in chronological order.

Garda Harrison will be back in the High Court in relation to this on December 18.

Judge Charleton’s 97-page report can be read in full here

Previously: Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

UPDATE:

Further to Judge Charleton’s report.

A statement issued by Kilfeather & Company Solicitors, on behalf of Garda Harrison, this afternoon.