Tag Archives: Disclosures Tribunal

From left: Conor Brady; Judge Peter Charleton

During the Disclosures Tribunal, Judge Peter Charleton repeatedly called out for any journalists, or anyone else, with any knowledge of any smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe to come forward and make it known to the tribunal.

The judge made a specific appeal after editor of The Irish Mirror John Kierans gave evidence, and told how it was his understanding that former Garda Press Officer Supt Dave Taylor had “peddled” the story about Sgt McCabe and Ms D to various newsrooms in Dublin in early 2014.

Judge Charleton said:

“I would be grateful if the message would go forth through whatever media are present in the room, there is actually a duty on people who actually know something about this to come forward.

“I made that plea back in February 2017, and here is yet another variation of people not coming forward, perhaps, perhaps suppressing matters, here is a view being expressed in relation to a situation where an individual has completely waived their privilege.

“If people say they have a privilege but they know something, I would much rather know that, than for them to simply, if it is the case, sit in their office blocks and not come to the Tribunal and not communicate. There is a website. You can communicate. There is a phone line. It is manned. It will be manned indeed all day on Saturday.

“This matter is coming close to an end. And I regard it as not a legal obligation, but much, much more serious than that: a patriotic obligation of people who know something to come forward so that the people of Ireland aren’t left in the daft situation that people who know things in the journalistic profession have not come forward to speak, but, nonetheless, will be able to write articles about what happened to them in the aftermath of the Tribunal report appearing.

“Now, in the event that that happens, the people of Ireland will no doubt take their own view as to the credibility of the persons who do that and that may indeed cause damage to the media outlets who may be involved in this, and I don’t know if they are or not, much worse than any libel action on earth; in other words, people simply stop trusting journalists.

“And it is important that they do, because journalists fulfil an extremely important function within our society and one which personally I value very highly.”


In yesterday’s The Sunday Times

Former Garda Ombudsman Conor Brady, in an opinion piece about An Garda Síochána, wrote:

Many gardai passed on the word to whoever would listen that McCabe was a “bad one”. A businessman friend of mine was told this by a superintendent on the golf course.

One senior official solemnly assured me, in the company of others, that there was a “whole other side” to McCabe.

Mr Brady did not appear as a witness at the Disclosures Tribunal.

Conor Brady: The Maurice McCabe saga goes beyond a morality tale (The Sunday Times)

Earlier: Bryan Wall: Vinidcation At The Expense Of Justice

From top: Justioce Peter Charelton: Clare Daly in the Dáil last night

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Independents 4 Change TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace – who have championed Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe’s cause for years – spoke about Judge Peter Charleton’s report into the Disclosures Tribunal.

Judge Charleton found former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former Garda Press Officer worked “cheek by jowl” in a “campaign of calumny” against Sgt McCabe.

He couldn’t determine how a document outlining a false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe – which was never made – was circulated from TUSLA to gardai in May 2014.

And he found it “inappropriate and extraordinary” that former Chief Supt Jim Sheridan forwarded the false rape referral to Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny in the knowledge it was false.

Judge Charleton also found it “disturbing” that Mr Kenny then forwarded it to Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and, after he was definitively told it was incorrect, never corrected the matter – with the false rape referral remaining in Garda HQ until February 2017.

Judge Charleton heavily criticised members of An Garda Síochána and the “incompetence” of TUSLA but he did not find they colluded with each other against Sgt McCabe.

Giving her statement on the matter to the Dáil last night, Ms Daly said:

“I do not have enough time to do justice to Mr Justice Charleton and his team, who have done a great public service. I had the good fortune to attend the tribunal on several occasions. I was struck by Mr. Justice Charleton’s patience, sharp intellect and wit.

Some people have said he has indulged himself a little in this report. He was perfectly entitled to do so given some of the nonsense he had to sit through and listen to.

“The Charleton report is a searing indictment of several State institutions, in particular, An Garda Síochána and Tusla, and the media. Mr Justice Charleton castigated a number of journalists for frustrating the work of the tribunal and the public will.

He castigated the public relations companies, which he has characterised, correctly as far as I am concerned, as a hideous development in Irish public life given the domination of spin.

“In some ways, we could say Mr Justice Charleton has probably been a little polite in his language regarding some of the individuals who appeared before him. The implications are clear, however.

Many of those who gave evidence at the tribunal need what Mr Justice Charleton referred to as a cultural shift that requires respect for the truth. In other words, he was told a whopping amount of lies.

“The Disclosures Tribunal was established publicly to find the truth and Mr Justice Charleton has laid bare a vast amount. This report is a real education for the people in that regard.

First and most important is the total vindication Mr Justice Charleton has given to Maurice McCabe. This cannot be understated.

“Sergeant McCabe is a fine policeman and a man of integrity who was repulsively denigrated. The best thing about how Mr Justice Charleton handled Maurice McCabe is that there are no ifs or buts.

“This was crucial for Maurice and his family, for his wife Lorraine and his father, the two rocks who stood behind him on this very difficult road.

“I am delighted that everybody is patting Maurice on the back now and that he is the people’s hero, but it was not always so.

“Mr Justice Charleton pinpointed that “The facts do not amount to an exoneration of the gardaí in their treatment of Maurice McCabe”.

“He said that his complaints generated considerable animosity, which continued over years. The station was divided. People did not want to get involved.

A total of 430 former and current senior gardaí were written to by the tribunal. Only two replied [with relevant information], and not one of them ever heard anything derogatory about Maurice McCabe.

That is improbable, to use Mr Justice Charleton’s words. He said that when Maurice was “seeking a better level of policing standards, there were plenty of people who said there was nothing wrong”. I absolutely know that is the case.

Arguing that was a long and lonely place in the early years, and while the terms of reference concentrated on particular aspects, it was never supposed to be a definitive account of policing in Ireland.

In many ways, Mr Justice Charleton picked up on this at the Committee of Public Accounts [in January 2014], which was the culmination in some ways of the first round. It was not the start of this issue but came on the back of approximately two years of raising issues in this House.

“Mr Justice Charleton has dealt with the issues very well. We do not have the time to go through all of them but, in terms of the former Minister, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, I note the Taoiseach tweeted that we should apologise to Deputy Frances Fitzgerald.

Neither I nor Deputy Wallace joined the baying hyenas here this time last year who were looking for the head of the then Minister.

We made many points over the years about her handling of issues in the Department of Justice and Equality but not about people coming up in 2017 supposedly criticising her for knowledge she had in 2015 of the Commissioner’s dealings at the O’Higgins commission, knowledge they all had in 2016 and did not do anything about.

I do not believe I need to give an apology in that respect.

“What those emails did show, however, is that what was going on at the O’Higgins tribunal was not normal. It was a big deal. There were emails, calls and frantic efforts to contact the Commissioner, and while Mr Justice Charleton did not find that Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on false sex abuse allegations to discredit Maurice at the O’Higgins commission, we never said that she did or believed that she did.

What was being said, however, and what was shown was that evidence was being produced at the O’Higgins commission to question his motivation.

We had the words of Colm Smyth and, critically, the letter of 18 May and the complaint against Superintendent Michael Clancy.

While Mr Justice Charleton said that the letter “went off the rails” and that it was strange, he put it down to a mistake.

Ultimately for him, the only issue was whether that had anything to do with Nóirín O’Sullivan, and as other people said it had not, he did not want to go there, but it still happened.

For me, it is convenient to put it down to a mistake. What would have happened if Maurice had not had the tape?

“People talk about poor Nóirín O’Sullivan, and I note the Taoiseach referred to people who precipitated her early demise. We are a long time on the record as saying that Nóirín O’Sullivan did not go quickly enough. That is nothing personal.

“She should never have been appointed in the first place but did she hear about Templemore? Did she hear anything about false breath tests, the treatment of other whistleblowers or any of that good stuff, all of which was going on in the background?

“While Mr Justice Charleton accurately stated that she had no hand, act or part to play in the campaign of the then Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and Dave Taylor, that is not the same as saying that she had no case to answer. In fact, he did not accept her evidence on the lack of engagement with her legal counsel or on her dealings with Noel Waters, whose evidence he did not accept either.

He went on to make many comments contrary to her evidence, that her evidence was disappointing and so on. He also talked about it being improbable that she could not but have known what was being said about Maurice McCabe and, in essence, did nothing in that regard.

“The report accurately condemns the then Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and Dave Taylor. That has been well aired, but they were not the only ones involved.

“A number of retired gardaí were criticised as being inappropriate and extraordinary in their behaviour, including Assistant Commissioner Kenny, Superintendent McGinn and Chief Superintendent Sheridan, but what about serving members?

Detective Superintendent O’Reilly was promoted since the tribunal started, but Mr. Justice Charleton is quite critical that his decision to introduce Paul Williams to the D family caused further and completely unjustified pain. What will be done to him?

“What will be done to John Barrett, the head of human resources, whose evidence was described by Mr. Justice Charleton as preposterous?

He said he was not satisfied that the conversations alluded to by John Barrett, allegedly with Cyril Dunne, ever took place. He did not believe his evidence in terms of Maurice McCabe either. That is very serious stuff.

“I refer to the false rape case being an unbelievable coincidence. I accept fully the judgment of Mr Justice Charleton on that.

“Rian counselling service came out well in the report but, my God, what an indictment of Tusla. The report refers to error upon error, complete misinformation, and files being randomly selected.

Mr. Justice Charleton said it was not a coincidence that Tusla opened Maurice McCabe’s file. They filleted a file that went to the historical sex abuse team and replaced the file when it came back. Those are points we do not have time to deal with.

“Mr Justice Charleton said he had a dreadful struggle to uncover the truth. I believe he uncovered an incredible amount of it. He said it is a cultural and an attitude problem and that reform of An Garda Síochána and coming up with new structures will not deal with it. I agree with him on that.”

Mick Wallace said:

“I have read the report. I would like to have an hour to make my contribution but I have only a few minutes.

On 8 June, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said “I know that an awful lot of people haven’t been telling me the truth”. I welcome Mr Justice Charleton’s report. He had a very difficult job. He said it was a dreadful struggle, but he has done incredibly well.

“We attended more than 25 of the 102 days of the tribunal hearings. Chris Noonan, my parliamentary assistant, attended most days. At times, it was a depressing experience.

It was hard to listen to public servants, in some cases retired Secretaries General, and Garda Commissioners, take the stand and be so economical with the truth.

“I have no intention of being critical of Mr Justice Charleton’s report. It is excellent.

While he was merciless in much of his report, and rightly so – he certainly did not spare Tusla or the Garda Síochána organisation – there were times when I thought his kind nature got the better of him.

With any tribunal or commission of investigation, before one looks at the final report, one must look at the terms of reference and analyse how these may confine what the judge can examine.

Aside from being limited by the terms of reference, things were made immensely more difficult for him on this occasion due to the fact that so many people refused to tell the truth.

“Former press officer David Taylor was not spared, and rightly so. Mr Justice Charleton is someone we have come to admire very much, and one of his more admirable features is his intolerance for those blatantly lying to him. David Taylor was one of them.

Both I and Deputy Clare Daly met David Taylor in his living room shortly after he made his protected disclosure.

Just why he decided to go into the tribunal and give a different version of events from that which he had given us is beyond us. It was a serious mistake on his part, and he has paid a high price for it.

“When the former Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality, Noel Waters, stated that he could not remember a 14-minute phone call between himself and Nóirín O’Sullivan during the O’Higgins commission, Mr Justice Charleton referred to it as improbable.

It was more than improbable.

“Mr Justice Charleton lambasted David Taylor with his ridiculous excuses regarding the two phones he did not cough up, so to speak.

I would have liked him to grill Nóirín O’Sullivan about the five phones she refused to cough up.

“Maurice McCabe requested a tribunal so that events would be examined in public rather than in private. He was right to do so.

“Mr Justice Cooke is investigating NAMA’s sale of Project Eagle. I can only imagine the lies he is being told.

Obviously, Mr Justice Charleton was told buckets of lies too, but it was in public, and the difference is that the public got the opportunity to see it. The Charleton tribunal has lifted the lid on how the establishment has no problem with lying.

“He has been slightly written out of history but people forget that Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was originally tasked with examining the disclosures of David Taylor and Maurice McCabe.

“He recommended that a commission of investigation be set up and drafted the terms of reference, the majority of which were used by the tribunal.

The ones he did not draft caused the most trouble, in particular, term of reference (e), which tasked Mr. Justice Charleton with examining the O’Higgins commission and whether false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Nóirín O’Sullivan to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

“That was too narrow, and it did not allow Mr Justice Charleton to examine some of the other critical issues that played out during the O’Higgins commission.

He was only allowed assess Nóirín O’Sullivan’s role in regard to the O’Higgins commission, specifically whether she used a false allegation of rape to discredit Maurice.

We never alleged that or believed Nóirín O’Sullivan to be guilty of it. We did allege many other things, and with good reason.

“The famous letter of 18 May handed to the commission setting out the motivations of Maurice McCabe has fallen through the cracks.

“Mr Justice Charleton said it was accurate to a point and then it went off the rails. It is much worse than that; it is a pure work of fiction.

“In respect of the letter of 18 May, Mr Justice Charleton found that there was no deliberate attempt to write a series of quite silly mistakes by way of a submission undermining Maurice McCabe to the O’Higgins commission. I beg to differ. If mistakes were made and accepted, why did they always go against Maurice McCabe?

“If Chief Superintendent Rooney and Superintendent Cunningham had nothing to hide with regard to their input into the letter, why did they claim privilege in respect of it when they were before the tribunal?

“With regard to the role of Nóirín O’Sullivan in the smear campaign, Mr Justice Charleton found that she had no role in it, but also found that it was improbable that she did not know it was happening.

I would have liked him to build on that finding. A deputy commissioner of An Garda Síochána has a duty of care to all of its officers, and Nóirín O’Sullivan knew what Commissioner Callinan was doing, yet she failed to act.

“As I said, there was much that Mr Justice Charleton could not comment on due to the terms of reference, and that is a pity.

There has been a rewriting of history by both the media and the political establishment with regard to the story of Garda malpractice and how the issues came to light.

This Chamber was a lonely place in 2012 and 2013 when we were highlighting the penalty points issues and other Garda wrongdoings.

“Mr Justice Charleton referred to the O’Mahoney report and stated that the report found no evidence of crime, corruption, deception or falsification. Obviously, he could not make findings on that report. Although it is now completely discredited, when the report was published, it was heralded.

“The former Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, went onto the plinth of Leinster House and abused the whistleblowers, and Martin Callinan told the Oireachtas committee that Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney’s report was credible and factually correct and that it was based on fact. That is not true.

Those lines were accepted by the media at the time without any scrutiny and our protestations were rubbished.

Mr Justice Charleton also touched upon a letter Chief Superintendent Rooney passed around to local gardaí in the Cavan-Monaghan division in 2011, congratulating everyone involved in the Byrne-McGinn inquiry on their good work.

Chief Superintendent Rooney apologised for this letter at the tribunal and Mr Justice Charleton stated that the apology was belated. It was more than belated; it was a disgrace of a letter.

“On the media, the Charleton report stated that the tribunal had the greatest difficulty in getting any information from journalists and that journalistic privilege has two parts, the entitlement to assert it and the right of society to override it in the interest of a pressing national concern. I have not noticed many journalists quoting Mr. Justice Charleton on that.

“…In his conclusion, Mr Justice Charleton states that a tribunal, having completed its work, might hope that thereby some improvement could occur.

He states that a tribunal should speak freely and should in no way be trapped by the temptation of cynicism that nothing may change. I

believe that this tribunal was worthwhile. I believe things will change for the better.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton has done the State a great service, unlike so many who went up to Dublin Castle to tell him lies.”

Yesterday: The Tribunal Wrote To More Than 430 Officers. Two Replied With Relevant Information

The Media And Maurice


“In terms of the media coverage of the events at Dublin Castle, Olga Cronin from broadsheet.ie, Sean Murray of thejournal.ie, and Mick Clifford [Irish Examiner] deserve to be singled out for praise. Some of what was written would certainly have prevented Mr. Justice Charleton from enjoying his breakfast if he had the misfortune to have read it.”

Mick Wallce in the Dáil last night.

G’wan the Olga.

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: Charelton Report Conclusions


From top (clockwise) Irish Mail on Sunday editor Conor O’Donnell, IMOS Crime Correspondent Debbie McCann, Deputy News Editor of the IMOS Robert Cox, Irish Daily Mail journalist Alison O’Reilly, Mail Group Editor Sebastian Hamilton; Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun; Irish Times Crime Editor Conor Lally; Daniel McConnell, Juno McEnroe and Cormac O’Keeffe, of The Irish Examiner; John Burke, of RTÉ

Ahead of statements being made in the Dáil about the report this afternoon from 4.50pm

And further to a post this morning concerning some of Judge Peter Charleton’s findings on certain gardai who appeared at the Disclosures Tribunal…

Judge Charleton also found that some journalists also frustrated his efforts to find out exactly what happened to Sgt McCabe.

At the outset, he found that “no newspaper or media outlet ever traduced the character of Maurice McCabe in consequence of any communication from Superintendent Taylor, or indeed at all” in relation to the Ms D allegation which was found to have no foundation by the DPP in 2007.

He wrote:

“No one in print or on radio or on television or on Internet sites ever said either that Maurice McCabe had abused a child or that he was a bitter man with hidden agendas in consequence of being investigated by his colleagues due to an allegation made against him in December 2006 of what was then claimed to be historic abuse.”

But he conceded:

“Rumours were, however, as this report details in part, flying around about him; particularly from 2013 and in January 2014.”

Following on from former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor claiming in his protected disclosure that he “negatively briefed” journalists about Sgt McCabe – but giving no significant details of where, when and how he briefed them – the tribunal wrote to 25 journalists at the outset of the tribunal’s inquiries on March 15, 2017.

Each of these journalists, after having been found to have been in contact with Supt Taylor during the relevant period of time of the smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, were asked if they had any information relevant to tribunal’s terms of reference.

On March 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Conor Lally, of The Irish Times.

[This took place a month after the publication of an article by Mr Lally, on February 20, 2017, based on an interview he had with Ms D, upon which Sgt McCabe subsequently took action. The print version of the article was headlined “Woman behind alleged complaint about McCabe wants her day before inquiry” while its online version was headed “When can I get on with the rest of my life? – woman at the centre of the McCabe case”.]

[In the High Court in July 2018, the newspaper apologised to Sgt McCabe for suggesting in the article that the DPP’s ruling that no prosecution be made against Sgt McCabe was based on merely “insufficient evidence”.

[When Mr Lally gave evidence to the tribunal – which took place between the time he wrote the article and when The Irish Times apologised to Sgt McCabe – Mr Lally said he had first heard of the Ms D allegation in 2010 or 2011 and that the matter was “dead” to him because he knew “the case was, quote-unquote, completely thrown out by the DPP]

On April 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to each of the 25 journalists again and it also wrote to Cormac O’Keeffe and Daniel McConnell, of The Irish Examiner.

On April 24, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Mr Lally again.

The judge noted:

“In these letters to 28 journalists, the tribunal requested answers to a list of questions relevant to its terms of reference. With one exception, no answer was given to the complete set of questions at that time.”

[That exception was Frank Greaney, of Newstalk]

On April 13, 2017, Supt Taylor gave the tribunal the names of nine journalists – claiming that he negatively briefed them about Sgt McCabe.

Continue reading

From top: Former Garda Commissioners Martin Callinan and Nóirín O’Sullivan, former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor, solicitor Gerald Kean, (from left) former Assistant Commissioner for the Northern Region Kieran Kenny, former Chief Supt Jim Sheridan, Det Supt John O’Reilly, and Inspector Pat O’Connell; Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine McCabe

This afternoon, statements will be made in the Dáil in respect of Judge Peter Charleton’s report on the Disclosures Tribunal from 4.50pm this afternoon.

It follows the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan telling the Dáil this morning that, since the publication of Judge Charleton’s report, he has apologised to Sgt McCabe and his family.

In addition, Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine will this week meet the newly appointed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss Judge Charleton’s report.

Ahead of this…

Mr Justice Peter Charleton found it was “a dreadful struggle to attempt to uncover what may have gone on behind closed doors” in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe before he ultimately found that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor acted together to denigrate the Garda whistleblower’s character.

He said such a “struggle” should not happen, adding:

“People are obligated by patriotic duty to cooperate with judicial processes, whether in the police or public service or not.”

In his report, Judge Charleton praised the truthfulness of several witnesses.

But, elsewhere, he wrote how some witnesses from An Garda Síochána, TUSLA and the media frustrated the tribunal’s efforts to effectively find out what exactly happened to Sgt McCabe.

In relation to members of An Garda Síochána…

Judge Charleton said the tribunal wrote to more than 430 different individuals at assistant commissioner, chief superintendent and superintendent rank, including retired senior officers.

He said:

“none of these individuals replied with any relevant information, apart from two officers” before adding that “no inference can be drawn as to whether these other senior officers had any relevant information which they chose not to share”.


He did find that after accepting the evidence of four individuals – namely that of Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy, Fine Gael TD John Deasy and RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes and rejecting Mr Callinan’s denials of the same – it is likely that other people close to Mr Callinan were told similar things about Sgt McCabe.

Judge Charleton accepted Mr McGuinness’s evidence that Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe “fiddles with kids” and referred to both Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson as “fucking headbangers”.

He accepted that Mr Callinan told Mr McGuinness, during a meeting in a car park of Bewley’s Hotel on the Naas Road, Dublin, on Friday, January 24, 2014, that Sgt McCabe sexually abused his children and nieces.

And he accepted that Mr Callinan led him to believe there was a live investigation of some kind, causing Mr McGuinness to believe that charges against Sgt McCabe were imminent.

Judge Charleton accepted that Mr Callinan told Fine Gael TD John Deasy, on the way to the same PAC meeting, that Sgt McCabe was not to be believed or trusted with anything.

He also accepted the evidence of the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy – whose report into the quashing of penalty points was being discussed at that PAC meeting – that Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer, and that there were live allegations of sexual offences against him.

And he accepted that Mr Callinan told Mr Boucher-Hayes, before a broadcast of RTE’s Crimecall, that Sgt McCabe was a “troubled individual” with a “lot of psychological issues and psychiatric issues”.

Because of the evidence of the four witnesses above, Judge Charleton wrote:

The tribunal does not find it probable that interactions of a similar nature were not had with at least some of those who were close to Martin Callinan in An Garda Síochána.

No such evidence was volunteered to the tribunal or otherwise given in evidence by any serving or former officer. The tribunal is not able to make any finding of fact in this regard against any particular person.”

While finding that the then Deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan played no part in the smear campaign, Judge Charleton did note:

“It is also improbable that she did not have an inkling at the very least about Commissioner Callinan’s views. At the very least, it was more than improbable that nothing emerged in the car journey with him back to Garda Headquarters from the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on 23 January 2014. It was disappointing to hear her evidence on this.”

Judge Charleton also found the manner in which Mr Callinan briefed solicitor Gerald Kean about Sgt McCabe ahead of a broadcast on RTE’s Marian Finucane in January 2014, and assisted Mr Kean in responding to a legal letter from Sgt McCabe post-broadcast, as “strongly speaking to a strong animus by Commissioner Martin Callinan against Maurice McCabe”.

[Sgt McCabe took a defamation action against Mr Kean and RTE following the broadcast with Sgt McCabe ultimately settling with RTE and not pursuing the case against Mr Kean]

The judge said he was satisfied Mr Kean knew of the tribunal’s public appeal for information but noted that “it was only through the diligence of tribunal counsel, sorting through tens of thousands of items of discovered documents”, that it learned of the episode concerning Mr Callinan and Mr Kean.

Specifically, Judge Charleton had the following to say about other members of An Garda Síochána.

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RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds

Further to the release yesterday of the Disclosure Tribunal Report…

Justice Peter Charleton examined evidence given to the tribunal by RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds.

Mr Reynolds had been asked at the hearings about several allegations made against him.

One was that former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor claimed he “negatively briefed” Mr Reynolds about Sgt McCabe.

Mr Reynolds denied this and Judge Peter Charleton accepted his evidence on this – rejecting that of Supt Taylor.

Another matter Mr Reynolds was asked about was a report he wrote for the RTÉ News website in February 2014 about an internal Garda investigation into the wiping of penalty points by the then Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney.

A third matter concerned Mr Reynolds’ reports in May 2016 about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation after he obtained a leaked copy of the report.

Judge Peter Charleton had been tasked with examining these reports to see if there was any evidence that Mr Reynolds’ reports had been influenced by the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

In relation to the second matter – Mr Reynolds’ reports on Asst Comm O’Mahoney’s penalty point investigation in February 2014 – Mr Reynolds had reported that the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had previously written to Sgt McCabe and “told him to co-operate” with Asst Comm O’Mahoney’s report.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal that this report was based on his interpretation of a “direction” relayed to Sgt McCabe in December 2012 – which Mr Reynolds had seen.

Judge Charleton found:

“Prior to its publication, he sought comment from Garda Headquarters and Maurice McCabe. He [Reynolds] received comment from the gardaí but not from Maurice McCabe, who gave a response to ‘Prime Time’ ahead of that programme being broadcast that evening. Paul Reynolds then amended his article to incorporate Maurice McCabe’s response to ‘Prime Time’.

“His [Sgt McCabe’s] clearly stated position was that he had never been directed by the Commissioner to cooperate with the O’Mahoney investigation, nor had he been contacted by the investigation team.”

Going forward to the third matter – Mr Reynolds’ reports of May 2016….

The term of reference pertaining to this stated that Mr Reynolds’ reports had “branded [Sgt McCabe] a liar and irresponsible”.

Mr Reynolds’ had used the word “lied” in his reports – as Justice O’Higgins found Sgt McCabe had told an “untruth”.

[Sgt McCabe told an “untruth” when he told a superintendent that a victim of assault and his wife made a complaint to GSOC about the Garda investigation into the incident. Sgt McCabe did this in the hope that the assault would gain more attention from the gardai. Judge O’Higgins criticised the handing of the case by the gardai and said Sgt McCabe told the “untruth” for “genuine” and “commendable” reasons but found it was “unsatisfactory” to tell an untruth]

However, Mr Reynolds didn’t use the specific word “irresponsible” in his reports.

The claim that Ms O’Sullivan, whom the tribunal heard rose through the ranks of her respective career over 30 years with Mr Reynolds, was involved in Mr Reynolds’ reports came about because Sgt McCabe – in his protected disclosure – had claimed the head of HR in An Garda Siochana John Barrett told him Mr Reynolds’ reports would have come from “block one” in Garda HQ which is a reference to the Garda Commissioner’s office.

Sgt McCabe referred to his source, Mr Barrett, as an “impeccable authority”.

When Mr Barrett gave evidence to the tribunal, he denied ever telling Sgt McCabe that “block one” was the source of Mr Reynolds’ reports.

Judge Charleton rejected Mr Barrett’s evidence on this and accepted that of Sgt McCabe, finding:

“Possibly John Barrett does not fully remember making the remark or how serious it was likely to sound in the febrile atmosphere of the time. Perhaps he was speaking casually, but if so, it was loose speech in the wrong context.”

The tribunal examined Mr Reynolds’ reports and the tribunal heard every single report Mr Reynolds made on May 9 2016 – RTÉ Radio One’s main news bulletin at 8am, Morning Ireland and News At One, and RTÉ Television’s News at One, Six One and the Nine O’clock News.

In two of his reports, Mr Reynolds used the word “lie” and told the tribunal he did this after consulting his dictionary to check the word “untruth”.

When he gave evidence, Mr Reynolds said everything he put into the public domain was based solely on the content of leaked copy of the commission’s report and denied that he was ever under any influence from either Garda HQ or Ms O’Sullivan.

[Ms O’Sullivan also denied having sought to influence Mr Reynolds’ reports]

He also said that he “spoke to a number of people as well and I got various information”, without identifying these individuals.

Taking the second and third matters together, at the tribunal, it had been suggested that Mr Reynolds’ reports of February 2014 and May 2016 indicated “a continual influence on RTÉ by Garda Headquarters”.

Judge Charleton rejected this inference.

He also found that no criticism could be made of Mr Reynolds reporting on the “untruth” and that the claim Mr Reynolds branded Sgt McCabe “irresponsible” was “inaccurate”.

He said of Mr Reynolds:

“What Paul Reynolds did was honest. He was not under the directions of Garda Headquarters and he went about his job as an intelligent and independent reporter. In no sense was he a tool of the higher echelons of Garda Headquarters.”

He found:

“This is a matter of opinion only, not something from which a negative inference could be taken. With the same material [O’Higgins leak], perhaps another broadcaster would have concentrated more on how bad policing investigations were in Cavan/Monaghan, perhaps not.

“Perhaps the story might have been more about the issues and not about the personality of Maurice McCabe, perhaps not. That is not the point. On which would be better or not, the tribunal does not comment.

“The tribunal accepts the evidence of Paul Reynolds that no one in Garda Headquarters was influencing his broadcasts. He gave honest evidence to the tribunal and he was entitled to his view on the O’Higgins Commission upon his examination of a leaked copy of the report.”


Judge Charleton did say this about Mr Reynolds’ May 2016 reports:

“The broadcasts of 9 May 2016 on Raidió Teilifís Éireann reporting on the O’Higgins Commission laid a great deal of emphasis on the character of Maurice McCabe and little emphasis on the incompetence and indolence which the report of Mr Justice O’Higgins had laid out line by line. The messenger, in relation to this matter, was much less important than the message which was delivered: that our police force was to wake up and actually start doing its job properly.”


Dublin City University professor and journalist Colum Kenny

A fourth matter pertaining to Mr Reynolds at the tribunal related to the evidence of Dublin City University professor and journalist Colum Kenny.

Mr Kenny claimed Mr Reynolds, along with the Irish Independent‘s Tom Brady, told him that Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse in early 2014.

Both Mr Reynolds and Mr Brady denied this.

Mr Kenny and Mr Reynolds’ conflict on this matter was one of a number of incidences where journalists relayed conflicting accounts to Judge Peter Charleton.

Judge Charleton ultimately did not attempt to resolve this conflict, or that of Mr Kenny and Mr Brady.

Judge Charleton didn’t even record Mr Kenny’s claim to the tribunal about Mr Reynolds in his report.

Judge Charleton said to even “set out the detail” of the conflict or “attempt to resolve” would not be appropriate and, to do so, would be beyond the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: The Charleton Report – Conclusions

Maurice McCabe And RTÉ

I Told INM Maurice Was Innocent

Earlier: ‘Nothing Positive Could Have Come Out Of This’


From top: Lorraine and Sgt Maurice McCabe; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, former Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice Ken O’Leary, former assistant secretary at the Department of Justice Michael Flahive, former secretary general at the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil

This afternoon.

While Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin was putting questions to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract…

And telling Mr Varadkar that the process had been “contaminated” but the contact between Mr Naughten and David McCourt, of the consortium which is the only bidder left seeking the contract…

Mr Varadkar put it to Mr Martin that he had “a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry”.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton is expected to deliver his report on the Disclosures Tribunal shortly – having said he will deliver it in October.

The tribunal examined allegations that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign.

Members of An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the media were questioned at the tribunal – including the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

In light of this…

The Taoiseach said:

“You have a bit of a history in this Dáil, of saying things, of claiming, of making allegations against ministers and claiming that things aren’t credible. You said the same about Minister Harris and about me in relation to CervicalCheck and yet the Scally report proves that what you believe was not credible was credible.

“You made allegations about former Minister [for Justice] [Frances] Fitzgerald. And we’ll see what the findings are in relation to that.

“So you’ve a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry. So this is a pattern of yours unfortunately and it’s not a good one.”


Previously: Unconscionable

From top: Michael O’Toole; Lorraine and Maurice McCabe with Michael McDowell SC; since deleted tweets from Mr O’Toole last Summer

The assistant editor and crime correspondent of the Irish Daily Star Michael O’Toole gave evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal.

Mr O’Toole was named by Supt Dave Taylor as one of the journalists whom he negatively briefed as part of the alleged smear campaign against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe between mid-2013 and the end of March 2014.

Mr O’Toole told the tribunal he was never “negatively briefed” by Supt Taylor and that no member of An Garda Síochána ever smeared Sgt McCabe to him.

He said he did hear a rumour about Sgt McCabe in 2010/2011 from “a very experienced journalist with significant access to the political world” – before Supt Dave Taylor started working in the Garda Press Office in the summer of 2012.

Mr O’Toole said he then checked out the rumour with a contact and satisfied himself there was nothing to the rumour as he learned of the DPP’s directions which included the line:

“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… there is no basis for prosecution.”

So categorical was Mr O’Toole’s testimony – and that of fellow crime and security correspondents John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, and Conor Lally, of The Irish Times – it was relied upon by Shane Murphy SC, for An Garda Síochána, when the Garda legal team made its final submission to Judge Peter Charleton to point out a weakness in Supt Taylor’s claim.

Their testimony was used to point out that some journalists knew of the Ms D allegation several years before Supt Taylor was allegedly briefing journalists about it in 2013/2014.

Mr Murphy said:

“… we say the task of the Tribunal is somewhat complicated by the fact that the Tribunal has heard extensive evidence of stories indicating the wider circulation of rumours about Sergeant McCabe in media, political and Garda circles in 2014 and 2013.

Knowledge of the fact that Sergeant McCabe had been the subject of a complaint of sexual assault was known to some journalists, specifically involved in covering policing and crime issues, from as early as 2011.

“And this has emerged also in the course of the evidence in this Tribunal. Chairman, you will remember the evidence of crime reporter Michael O’Toole of The Star newspaper, where he said he heard it some time around then and that he heard it from a non-Garda source.

Similar evidence was given by John Mooney, crime correspondent the Sunday times. Mr Conor Lally also gave evidence that he heard about this around 2010/2011.

“This of course was long before the period being considered by this Tribunal and indeed before the beginning of the alleged campaign which Superintendent Taylor alleged he was instructed and directed to begin, in the middle of 2013.”

Mr Murphy went on to quote directly from Mr O’Toole’s evidence, saying:

“It’s noteworthy that at that stage Mr O’Toole, having become aware from sources which were non-Garda sources, was moved to explore the allegation and he has told you that he promptly established from local Garda sources not only that no charges had been directed against Sergeant McCabe but that there was no substance to the allegations.

And Mr O’Toole when he spoke to you about that uttered the phrase, very memorable phrase, he said “the matter was dead to me from then on”.”

This memorable phrase was also used by Conor Lally, of The Irish Times, when he told the tribunal, a day after Mr O’Toole gave evidence:

“…it was a dead piece of information from the off.

Mr O’Toole said the matter was “dead” for him four times during the course of his evidence.

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.”

He later said:

“After I heard about the DPP’s directions. The issue was dead for me.”

And, again later, repeated:

The issue was dead for me…”

Despite this Mr O’Toole tweeted last summer about journalists’ coverage of the Tusla module of the Disclosures Tribunal and how they reported that the DPP had “dismissed” Ms D’s claim.

On July 13, 2017, Mr O’Toole tweeted:

“Hacks saying the DPP “dismissed” allegations. Really? I thought it either said enough evidence for a charge or not. #DisclosuresTribunal”

In a follow-up tweet, he asked:

“I mean what does ‘dismiss’ even mean?’

The idea of “enough evidence for a charge or not” chimes with some previous evidence the tribunal heard.

When Ms D, Mr D and Mrs D gave evidence, neither of them were specifically asked about what Supt Noel Cunningham – who carried out the initial investigation into Ms D’s claim in 2006 – told them of the DPP’s directions in 2007.

But, when Ms D gave evidence, while recalling her annoyance over RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy wanting to refer her claim to Tusla in the summer of 2013, Ms D told the tribunal, she told Ms Brophy:

I said that this case had already been investigated, the DPP came back to say that there was insufficient evidence…”

When Ms Brophy gave evidence to the tribunal she said, during her initial assessment of Ms D in which Ms D made her allegation against Sgt McCabe, Ms Brophy wrote down:

“DPP returned file due to lack of evidence.”

And while Supt Cunningham gave evidence to the tribunal, Michael McDowell, SC, for Sgt McCabe, said Sgt McCabe, in 2007, wasn’t given the real reasons for the DPP’s directions that there be no prosecution against Sgt McCabe.

Instead, Mr McDowell said, Sgt McCabe was told there was no prosecution due to “insufficient evidence”.

Indeed, Supt Cunningham told the tribunal:

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

At the time Supt Cunningham told Sgt McCabe this – in 2007 –  Sgt McCabe already knew the DPP’s full instructions because the Cavan State Solicitor Rory Hayden, on April 5, 2007, read out the instructions to him.

Sgt McCabe kept his knowledge of the directions to himself, the tribunal heard.

In addition, the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s private secretary Frank Walsh also referred to there being “insufficient evidence” against Sgt McCabe when he gave evidence to the tribunal.

But the term “insufficient evidence” does not appear in the DPP’s directions.

Mr O’Toole also told the tribunal that, as far as he could 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 – 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…”

When Mr O’Toole was giving evidence, it was put to him, 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 was to make a short statement to that effect.

However, the tribunal never heard 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 claimed the Ms D issue was “dead” for him – once he learned of the DPP’s directions – that that was 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 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 he had 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 was referring to a piece in The Sunday Times by Justine McCarthy from February 2017.

When Noel Whelan BL, for An Garda Síochána, 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.”

However, 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 – around the time other journalists were contacting him about Ms D’s allegation.

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.


Last Friday in the High Court, Cian Ferriter SC, for The Irish Times, read out an apology to Sgt Maurice McCabe for an article written by Conor Lally – about Sgt McCabe and Ms D – which was published on February 20, 2017.

The apology included the lines:

“The Director of Public Prosecutions determined, after a careful and professional investigation, that no offence of any kind had been disclosed against Sgt McCabe and that there was no basis in fact or law for any prosecution.

“Contrary to what was suggested in the articles, the Director of Public Prosecutions did not base his direction on “insufficient evidence”.

Tomorrow: Maurice McCabe And The Irish Mirror

Previously: Maurice McCabe And The Irish Sun

Maurice McCabe And The Irish Examiner: Part 2

Maurice McCabe And The irish Examiner: Part 1

Maurice McCabe And The Mail Newspapers

 Maurice McCabe And INM: Part 2

Maurice McCabe And INM: Part 1

Maurice McCabe And RTÉ

Maurice McCabe And The Irish Times

Maurice McCabe And The Irish Times: Part 2

Maurice McCabe And The Sunday Times

Top: Sgt Maurice McCabe and above, clockwise from top left: Conor O’Donnell, Debbie McCann, Robert Cox, Alison O’Reilly and Sebastian Hamilton.

Following  the completion of evidence from Fionnan Sheahan (full report on this here), chairman of the Disclosures Tribunal Justice Peter Charleton turned to the Irish Independent editor and asked:

“Mr Sheahan…Is there anything in the world of journalism that I’m unaware of that might help me in any way as to why these completely contradictory allegations are flung up?

The judge had, to this point, heard four direct conflicts of evidence between eight journalists, often working for the same news organisations.

Justice Charleton continued:

“…I have had reference to bitterness, to careers, to jobs, to people leaving their posts. I don’t know whether it’s down to sick buildings or what it is down to, but is there any way you can assist me on this?”

Mr Sheahan, having verbally trashed a former colleague during his session minutes earlier, was unable to help the judge.

The evidence taken by journalists from Associated Newspapers Ireland, which publishes the Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday, was more of the same. Only more so.

Conor O’Donnell, editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Sebastian Hamilton, group editor at the Irish Daily Mail; Debbie McCann, crime correspondent at the Irish Mail on Sunday; Robert Cox, deputy editor of news at the Irish Mail on Sunday; and Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail and formerly of the Irish Mail on Sunday, all gave evidence.

Most of their questioning was taken up with a conflict between Ms O’Reilly and Ms McCann, who had not just been colleagues but good friends.

When Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil in February 2017 that he had been contacted by a journalist who said they had “direct knowledge” [sic] of the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan telling journalists [sic] of “very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Sergeant Maurice McCabe”, he was referring to his contact with Ms O’Reilly.

She had told him that Ms McCann had told her that Ms O’Sullivan was a source of information for her about Ms D.

Ms McCann was the first journalist to call to the home of Ms D in early 2014.

This visit came about after she had first heard “murmurings” about Sgt McCabe and after she made inquiries, following the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s “disgusting” remark.

Ms McCann’s line editor, Robert Cox, told the tribunal when Mr Callinan made his “disgusting” remark at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, January 23, 2014, everything changed.

He said:

“Commissioner Callinan, once he said ‘disgusting’ it became a whole different ball game in a certain respect because there was — any allegations or anything that was in the ether, was now, had kind of — it hadn’t surfaced but there was some reason behind that disgusting remark and anybody who was following the [penalty points] story kind of was wondering what was behind it.”

Mr Cox said, around this time, and as Ms McCann told him she had heard “murmurings” about Sgt McCabe, he told her to find out more details. He said:

She came back with, that there had been an allegation, the allegation was of child sex abuse, that the person was a minor at the time of the abuse, that it was historic, and that the DPP had chosen — had decided not to press charges.”

When Ms McCann gave evidence, she said:

“I knew she was a young girl at the time. I didn’t know her exact age…I knew that they [Mr D and Sgt McCabe] were colleagues. I don’t know if I knew at that point that they had fallen out, I don’t know...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.”

Despite knowing that the DPP ruled against a prosecution, Ms McCann subsequently called to the D house.

Ms D wasn’t at the house at the time and, instead, Mrs D answered the door.

It’s the evidence of Ms McCann and Mrs D that Ms McCann was turned away from the door pretty much immediately.

It’s not clear what date Ms McCann called to the D house but she initially told the tribunal she thought she visited the D family in or around February 14 or 21, 2014.

When Ms McCann’s editor Conor O’Donnell gave evidence, he said:

“What happened is we sent [Ms McCann to the D house]. Nothing came of it. We did nothing more on it and we never discussed it again.”

But Ms O’Reilly – who told Sgt McCabe there were rumours circulating about him to the effect that he had sexually abused a girl when she first met him on February 28, 2014 – claims Ms McCann told her there was much more to it.

Coincidentally, around the same time, Ms O’Reilly claims she had asked Mr Cox if she could write something “positive on the whistleblowers” and she said Mr Cox said “they didn’t want any negative stories because it would piss off the gardaí and they would stop giving Debbie [McCann] stories”.

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her that, at some point, she had spent about an hour interviewing Ms D, and that Ms McCann was able to describe in detail how Ms D held her arms as they spoke to each other.

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

She claims Ms McCann told her she’d heard Ms D “was in a bad way” from the former head of the Garda Press office Supt Dave Taylor and that she seemed to have been very moved emotionally by Ms D’s story.

She claims Ms McCann said the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was a source of information for her about Ms D.

She claims Ms McCann said Sgt McCabe was hated within the gardaí.

She claims Ms McCann said she had written a story on Ms D but that it wasn’t published.

And she claims Ms McCann said Mr O’Donnell wanted to publish it as an anonymous story but that Mr Hamilton didn’t want the story published as he was too cautious.

In regards to the above claims, Ms McCann, Mr O’Donnell and Mr Hamilton categorically deny them all, while Ms O’Sullivan also utterly denies being a source of information for Ms McCann.

Ms McCann refused to be drawn on her communications or conversations with Supt Taylor – who waived his right to privilege – saying she had to protect her career as a journalist “going forward”.

At one point she said:

“I am the journalist and I believe that that decision lies with me. I have a career to think about going forward. I can’t go there. I would love to go there, but I honestly cannot do that.”

In his final submission, Ms McCann’s counsel Tom Murphy recalled Ms McCann saying the quote above and added:

“This is an archetypal Catch-22: answer the question and your career will be damaged, perhaps irrevocably; don’t answer the question and your failure to do so could lead to adverse inferences, including, most seriously, a potential finding of dishonesty. Further, and despite some suggestions to the contrary, the stance adopted by Ms McCann in relation to her journalistic privilege is mirrored by other journalists…”

Mr Murphy went on to list these other journalists as Conor Lally, of The Irish Times; Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star; and John Mooney, of The Sunday Times.

Mr Murphy also recalled what Ms McCann had said to Judge Charleton a few weeks previously when she said:

“He [Supt Taylor] has waived his privilege. It is — I am the journalist, and, going forward, if I start revealing the contents of conversations that I had with people, it’s going to really damage me going forward. And I think that I am not in a different position to other journalists who have come before this Tribunal.”


The judge had replied to Ms McCann: “Well, you are [different], I’m afraid, very much, as from what I can see at the moment.”

It took Associated Newspapers five months to tell the tribunal that Ms McCann had called to the D house.

Neither Ms McCann nor Supt Taylor confirmed the fact until after the tribunal heard about it from elsewhere.

Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, asked Sebastian Hamilton if there had been a conscious 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.”

Throughout Mr Hamilton’s evidence, he repeatedly stated that Ms O’Reilly had a grievance with Associated Newspapers.

Mr Hamilton’s repeated claim followed the sending of a letter – on April 18, 2018 – from the Mail’s solicitor Michael Keeley to the tribunal, which stated:

“My client believes that the state of Ms O’Reilly’s relations with them at the time she spoke with Mr Howlin is a 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.”

Judge Charleton pointed out that a person can have a grievance with another and still tell the truth.

The judge also pointed out that, regardless, several facts weren’t immediately disclosed to the tribunal by Associated Newspapers – which had 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 an 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.

When Ms O’Reilly gave evidence, she said: “I made it clear to Ms James, Chairman, that I was a journalist with the Irish Mail on Sunday, that I was doing a story and that I taped it in line with what we normally do in The Mail on Sunday, we secretly tape things for our own protection in case you are accused of fake news or in case you are attacked.”

She also said: “I have a conversation with Conor O’Donnell, who told me that I did interview Louise James and that they only apologised to her because that is what she wanted, and he wanted to know if I was okay.”

The tribunal heard that, after the IMOS story about Buncrana, there had been an internal investigation within the IMOS, and a warning had been placed on Ms O’Reilly’s record for a year.

Ms O’Reilly also signed the following statement: “I note the sanction. Just to be absolutely clear, I fully accept my error of judgement. I want to put it behind me. I want to continue working for the Mail. I want the opportunity to prove myself. I look forward to working on features and welcome any training that would be given and I embrace it. The last few months have taught me a lot of us here need to look at how wework. On the basis of that, I accept the sanction and look forward to getting back to work.”

Of this statement, Ms O’Reilly told the tribunal: “I was very heavily medicated, Chairman, and to the point where Sebastian Hamilton had actually called my representative aside and said: Should we proceed with this? I have never seen her look so bad. And that was the advice I was given in those circumstances.”]

The tribunal also heard about a possible attempt to “block” the tribunal from obtaining information.

Ms O’Reilly said the following about a meeting she had with the company’s solicitor Michael Keeley before the the tribunal’s proceedings got under way.

She 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. I felt threatened and terrified. And I thought, what is this? I knew that Debbie had been up at the house, I knew that I had been up with Maurice McCabe, and by the time he got to his very last question, as we were standing up to leave, I said I’m not telling him anything, I’m too afraid.”

Hugh Mohan SC, for Associated Newspapers, repeatedly put to Ms O’Reilly that she had “lied” to Mr Keeley when she “denied” she was Mr Howlin’s source.

Ms O’Reilly said she accepted she didn’t tell Mr Keeley, but she also said:

“I accept that I tried to tell Michael Keeley everything, and he didn’t want to know.”

Judge Charleton stepped in around this point and asked Mr Mohan if Mr Keeley accepted what Ms O’Reilly claimed Mr Keeley said – “nobody comes out of a Tribunal looking okay”.

Mr Mohan and Judge Charleton then had this exchange while Ms O’Reilly also interjected intermittently:

Mohan: “He 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.”

O’Reilly: “Chairman, he said ‘I don’t want to know’.”

Mohan: “Sorry, he did not want to know — sorry, Chairman, he did not want to be put in the position of being told sources –”

O’Reilly: “But that was my whole point, Chairman; like, what were we doing there? Why — we are meeting to not tell the Tribunal anything. I mean –”

Charleton: “So the Tribunal is writing letters to people, and what’s the result? I mean, either we actually owe allegiance to this country or we don’t. So what is the result of the Tribunal writing letters to people?”

Mohan: “Well, sorry, Mr Chairman, this information was put before you by the witness, the current witness, and my client in this case, Ms McCann, has a different version of events in relation to this. It just so happens, for yet the second time, both the parties to it have a fundamentally different version of events than this witness has given. I am challenging her credibility –”

Charleton: “Well, if you want to put a different version of a conversation, of course you are perfectly entitled to, Mr. Mohan, and I would welcome that indeed.”

Mohan: “Well, what I want to do now if I may –”

Charleton: “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.”

Mohan: “Sorry, the different version I am putting is that, in fact, Ms McCann did not, because she was not in contact with Nóirín O’Sullivan, ever say that Nóirín O’Sullivan had told her anything whatsoever.”

Charleton: “No, no, and I appreciate that. But it is — the Tribunal went to a lot of trouble to write an awful lot of letters to an awful lot of people, and furthermore, there were back-up letters, there were follow-up letters, many people never replied, we had to follow up in the case of some people a large number of times, and then, apparently, if anything comes up, well then I’m given a submission on this, that and the other. But this is actually important, and it’s important from the point of view of the other person having the conversation. If there’s a different version of this conversation, it should be put.”

Mohan: “Well –”

Charleton: “I am not talking about Ms McCann; I am talking about the conversation with Michael Keeley. I mean, that’s what I am talking about, that. I mean, Mr Mohan, vis-à-vis Ms O’Reilly and what she was told, what is was saying was, well, I don’t know what was behind it, I don’t know whether it was the fisherman’s tale of getting the 50-pound salmon or whether it was the truth, but what I am telling you is that it was said. So that’s one thing, I appreciate that. But then the other thing is, okay, 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.”

Mohan: “I have an account, which you don’t have, of that attendance that Mr Keeley prepared following his conversation with Alison O’Reilly, and I have checked it, for some reason that didn’t appear, although Ms O’Reilly would be familiar with it, and I have no difficulty with that being put in. It’s Mr Keeley’s account. I can read it, if I may.”

Charleton: “Well, yes, of course, but it’s not for me, it’s for the witness.”

Mohan: “Sorry, you did ask me, I have an account –”

Charleton: “Well, I don’t know why everyone is arguing with me and parsing and analysing everything I say. Look, it is a very fundamental principle of law. It’s from the point of view of fairness to Mr Keeley, from the point of view of fairness to the witness and also from the point of view of the functionability of a tribunal in this Republic, as to whether any such thing happened. Now, of course I had no notice, and neither did you perhaps have any notice, I don’t know, Mr Mohan, certainly it’s no blame, I am not sending any in your direction at all, that in answer to your question Ms O’Reilly would tell me what she’s just told me. But from the point of view of fairness, if there is a different version of the conversation, it should be put, out of fairness to her and out of fairness to Mr Keeley as well.”

Mohan: “I wonder, I’m going to — not to waste the court’s — the Tribunal’s time, I will go on to another and come back to this. But in the meantime I will have this photocopied and circulated so everybody has a copy of it, and I will return to that point. And this will be the version dealing with the point that you have made, if I may deal with it that way?”

Charleton: “Well, it’s not exactly as if I am making a point; it is pretty fundamental.”

Mohan: “Well, no, I am happy to deal with it, absolutely.”

Charleton: “Well, that’s fine. Grand.”

Mohan: “I can read the note, but I think it might be better if everybody has a copy.”

Charleton: “Well, I’m not trying to interfere. I think you should take your own course. And I appreciate the questions you’ve put. Look, Ms O’Reilly is saying: I had the conversation, it was such and such. You are saying you couldn’t possibly have, because you never had, for instance, the Commissioner’s number, there was no record of any communication between them. That’s perfectly and utterly fair. But in the event there is an allegation of obstruction on the Tribunal, well that should be dealt with today, if possible.”

Mohan: “I’m going to get copies of the note made and I will return to that, if I may. Ms. Leader is going to make copies of it.”

Charleton: “Yes, we will facilitate you every way we can.”

The tribunal never heard any more evidence on this alleged conversation.

When Alison O’Reilly gave evidence, the tribunal heard about a text exchange she and Ms McCann had on May 9, 2014 – several months after Ms McCann had been, the tribunal heard, turned away from the door of the D house by Mrs D.

In May 2014, Ms McCann was also on maternity leave which began within weeks of calling to the D house.

The text exchange followed the publication of a report by Sean Guerin SC, whose scoping exercise of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about Cavan/Monaghan led to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

The tribunal was initally told the following was the sequence of texts:

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.”

When Ms McCann gave evidence, she told the tribunal that the sequence, as presented by Ms O’Reilly above, was incorrect and that another text was sent to her by Ms O’Reilly before her text about Ms D being a “very messed up girl”.

Ms McCann claimed this missing text had been deleted.

Ms McCann then read the missing text:

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

Ms McCann told the tribunal she believes that missing text changed 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.”


When the various legal teams presented their final submissions to Judge Charleton, Fíonán Ó Muircheartaigh BL, for Ms O’Reilly, told the tribunal:

“Debbie McCann advised the Tribunal that a text in the sequence of messages furnished by Alison O’Reilly was deleted and that it was held back to show her in a bad light. The actual sequence… shows that this is not so. Alison O’Reilly did not delete any texts.”

Mr Ó Muircheartaigh said the sequence was as follows:

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.”

O’Reilly to McCann:

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

McCann to O’Reilly:

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

When Tom Murphy BL, for Ms McCann, gave his final submission on behalf of Associated Newspapers, he did not challenge the sequence of texts as read out by Mr Ó Muircheartaigh.

Mr Ó Muircheartaigh said this about the text exchange when he gave his final submission:

“This exchange occurred after the Mail had apparently decided not to run with the story concerning Ms D. This is referred to in the evidence of Debbie McCann to the Tribunal on the 8th June.

“This suggests that even after the decision to drop the story by the Mail, Debbie McCann still had a very negative perception of Sergeant McCabe.

“The Tribunal heard in evidence on the 8th June that, despite being on maternity leave, Debbie McCann continued to work on stories for her employer.

“But the following points are pertinent in that regard: Debbie McCann was the crime correspondent with the Irish Mail on Sunday; she was in regular contact with David Taylor, the head of the Garda Press Office.

“Superintendent David Taylor says he negatively briefed journalists as the opportunity arose in relation to Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s agendas and his motivation for revenge against the gardaí.

“Superintendent David Taylor says he was in touch with and discussed Debbie McCann’s visit to Ms D’s house with her in or about the time of her visit. The Mail legal team did not challenge this evidence by cross-examination.

“Debbie McCann was the first journalist to visit Ms D’s house seeking an interview with Ms D. It is unlikely that Debbie McCann did not discuss Sergeant McCabe with David Taylor.

“Debbie McCann was refused to divulge the content of any discussion she had with Superintendent David Taylor about Maurice McCabe or Ms D.

“Debbie McCann’s father, Superintendent John McCann, was aware of the historic allegations against Sergeant McCabe.

“He told the Tribunal that he did not discuss it with his daughter, and Debbie McCann concurs with that account. It is submitted that these facts suggest that the origin of Debbie McCann’s concerns regarding Sergeant McCabe and Ms D were as a result of Superintendent David Taylor and other senior gardaí.

“This contact was indicated in Debbie McCann’s conversations with Alison O’Reilly. The contact is an identifiable factor in the escalation of her interest and her express views of Sergeant McCabe and her excursion to Ms D’s house.

“Debbie McCann’s refusal to answer any questions regarding her contacts with David Taylor, notwithstanding his waiver of privilege, suggests the inference that Superintendent Taylor did brief her negatively.

“If he did not, there could be no reason for not divulging the content of those conversations. It also suggests that, whatever contacts took place, they were not confined to the formula suggested by Superintendent David Taylor in his evidence.

“If Debbie McCann had not been persuaded that Sergeant McCabe was guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor, it is difficult to rationalise how she could have expressed the views she did about Sergeant McCabe.

“The texts suggest that she continued to hold those views for some time after her visit to the D household. It seems inescapable also that Debbie McCann learned the detail of the allegations from a Garda source.

“In her direct evidence to the Tribunal she stated she knew before her visit to Ms D’s house of the issue of tickling.

“The reference to tickling only appeared in the confidential Garda investigation of the complaint, and, as far as we are aware, this was never divulged to third parties or never mentioned prior to Debbie McCann’s evidence to this Tribunal.”

Ms McCann was asked about the level of sympathy she displayed for Ms D in her text to Ms O’Reilly on May 9, 2014, when she referred to Ms D as a “very messed up girl”.

Ms McCann put her sympathy down to her very brief exchange with Mrs D at the front door of the D house in early 2014.

She said:

“I had a degree of sympathy for the girl. I didn’t know her. I had met the mother, and, from meeting the mother, I found her to be upset, I found her — I felt that she believed something had happened with her daughter and, based on that, I found that was my opinion on the matter.”

She added:

“She [Mrs D] was very clearly distressed when I knocked on her door, in the sense that she told me that she had been listening to the news and something about hearing McCabe — Sergeant McCabe being referred to as a hero. It was quite clear that she was distressed and upset, and it immediately struck me and I found just from — I found her to be credible and I found her to — that conversation that I had with her, I found that she certainly believed something had happened.”

However, it’s the evidence of Mrs D that she wasn’t upset about Sgt McCabe when they met and didn’t mention anything about hearing a news item on the radio about Sgt McCabe.

The tribunal did hear Mrs D was “horrified” when Ms McCann had “turned up on her doorstep”.

Mrs D had told the tribunal:

She [McCann] said something to me like, I know you have been going through a hard time. There’s a bit of rumours. She said something about the whistleblower and I just looked. She wasn’t directly in front of me, she was almost to the side of me. I just looked to the side of her and that was all I said, we’re not speaking to anybody. And that was all the dealings I had with her.”

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, had this exchange with Ms McCann.

McDowell: “First of all, did you have any further information, other than the allegation that you had been told about, about your source or sources and your meeting with Mrs D and her being — her looking upset?”

McCann: “No.”

McDowell: “Well, then, how could you possibly say there is a very messed-up girl at the heart of it and nobody gives an eff, how could you possibly say that?”

McCann: “Because, again, I had — I had come to that opinion based on hearing the allegation and based on meeting a mother at the door.”

McDowell: “But listen, the DPP heard the allegation.”

McCann: “Mm-hmm.”

McDowell: “Superintendent Cunningham heard the allegation.”

McCann: “Yes.”

McDowell: “He investigated it.”

McCann: “Mm-hmm.”

McDowell: “And the DPP, we now know, said that there was no offence disclosed at all.”

McCann: “Mm-hmm.”

McDowell: “So how could you come to the view that this girl had been seriously effed up by abuse in these circumstances?”

McCann: “No, I didn’t come to the view that she had been abused in any way; I came to the view that she was messed up, yes, I came to that view.”

McDowell: “By what? By what?”

McCann: “Based on the fact that her — on meeting her mother, her mother clearly believed something had happened.”

In relation to her knowledge of tickling, it was suggested to Ms McCann that she had obtained the Garda file on Sgt McCabe.

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

Asked where she got the idea that “tickling” was involved, Ms McCann said: “I got it from a source.”

Ms McCann was asked if the only reference in the public domain to tickling was in the Garda file would it be fair to assume that her source had access to the garda file?

Ms McCann said she didn’t know.

As mentioned above, Ms O’Reilly and Ms McCann had been close.

Ms O’Reilly told the tribunal:

“We were good friends and she [McCann] is a good journalist and I just felt that she was being used, and I felt, by using her, they were trying to use our paper. Whoever was telling her this, she believed it. And I just shared with her what Maurice McCabe had told me and how I felt about it, but again, I had no proof of anything other than his word, and he seemed quite credible to me.”

The contradictions and bitterness which replaced Ms O’Reilly and Ms McCann’s friendship left Justice Charelton, and many at the tribunal, not only mystified by ‘the world of journalism’ but this time genuinely saddened.

Tomorrow: Maurice McCabe And The Irish Examiner

Previously: Maurice McCabe And INM

Maurice McCabe And INM: Part 1

Maurice McCabe And RTE

Maurice McCabe And The Irish Times

Maurice McCabe And The Irish Times: Part 2

Maurice McCabe And The Sunday Times

Pics: RollingNews

Clockwise from top left: Legal Affairs Correspondent at The Irish Times Colm Keena, Sgt Maurice McCabe, former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and Brendan Howlin; Above: headline over Mr Keena’s Disclosures Tribunal round-up on June 30, 2018

As featured yesterday, Conor Lally, Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times, covered the significant events in the Maurice McCabe story which led up to the Disclosures Tribunal and would eventually become a witness at the hearings.

Colm Keena, the Legal Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times, reported from the the tribunal throughout its year-long sitting.

Last month, at the close of the tribunal, Mr Keena summed up his feelings and concerns about the past 12 months in Dublin Castle.

In an article under the headline ‘Charleton evidence raises questions about damaging claims made’ , Mr Keena asserted:

A number of serious allegations against former Garda commisssioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and others have been strongly challenged by the evidence heard over the past year at the Charleton Tribunal.

He later added:

“…it is possible to point to significant episodes in the controversy where damaging public claims were made on the basis of reasons the tribunal evidence has now shown to be questionable.”

Mr Keena’s article was broken up by six subheadings, outlining different incidents about which claims were made and evidence was given.

They were: Brendan Howlin; the RTÉ broadcasts; O’Higgins commission; text messages; the smear campaign and the Tusla files.

Brendan Howlin

Mr Keena recalled how Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil on February 8, 2017:

“This morning a journalist contacted me and told me they had direct knowledge of calls made by the Garda Commissioner to journalists during 2013 and 2014 in the course of which the Commissioner made very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Sergeant Maurice McCabe.”

Mr Keena went on to explain that what Mr Howlin said in the Dáil was based on a conversation he had had with former Irish Mail on Sunday journalist Alison O’Reilly in which she relayed to him what the Irish Mail on Sunday‘s crime correspondent Debbie McCann allegedly told her.

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her in 2014 that the then Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and then head of the Garda Press Office Supt David Taylor were sources for her information on Ms D – a woman who made an allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2006 which was categorically dismissed by the DPP in 2007.

Mr Keena reported that Ms McCann categorically denies Ms O’Reilly’s claim, that Ms McCann says she never spoke to Ms O’Sullivan about Sgt McCabe, and that Ms O’Sullivan also denies she ever spoke to Ms McCann about Sgt McCabe.

Mr Keena also reported that billing records before the tribunal show there were no telephone contacts between Ms O’Sullivan and Ms McCann during the time period of the alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, as alleged by Supt Taylor, between mid-2013 to March 2014.

Mr Keena also reported that Mr Howlin didn’t check the veracity of what he was saying with either Ms McCann or Ms O’Sullivan.

Mr Keena then wrote:

His claim was the first the public ever heard of McCabe being linked to alleged sex abuse. In his short comment, Howlin referred to sexual crimes, plural, and journalists, plural. His intervention was hugely damaging to O’Sullivan and was reported extensively in the media.”

However, three years before this, Paul Williams, in the Irish Independent, wrote four articles about Ms D’s allegation against Sgt McCabe.

Mr Williams reported that the woman had come forward “as a result of the whistleblower controversy”.

Many witnesses who went before the tribunal said they knew Mr Williams was referring to Sgt McCabe when they read the articles.

Sgt McCabe himself said he received phone calls about them – from people who guessed Mr Williams was writing about him.

The tribunal also heard evidence from many journalists who said that in 2013 and early 2014, they were aware of the Ms D allegation against Sgt McCabe.

Mr Keena was technically correct to say that Mr Howlin’s claim “was the first the public ever heard of McCabe being linked to alleged sex abuse”, but the allegation was known in police and media circles.

In respect of Mr Howlin using the plural terms  “journalists”, the Labour leader conceded this was an error on his part when he gave evidence to the tribunal.

Mr Howlin clarified:

“There was two journalists in my mind, one was the journalist Alison O’Reilly who’d spoken to me and the second was Debbie McCann, who was the conduit for the information. They were the journalists, plural.”

He also clarified that the did not have “direct knowledge” – he only knew what Ms O’Reilly told him.

Although unreported by Mr Keena, when Mr Howlin made his claim in the Dáil in February 2017, he stated:

“I do not know whether the charges that have been made against the Garda Commissioner are true or not.”

Mr Howlin made his remark in the Dáil at a time when the Government was discussing and setting the terms of reference for a Commission of Investigation into Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe’s protected disclosures.

The Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone was in possession of a letter from the chief operations officer of Tusla – since January 2017 – regarding a false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe from 2013/2014 which was created by a counsellor, unbeknownst to Ms D, following counselling sessions Ms D had with a HSE counsellor in July 2013.

[Sgt McCabe wasn’t told about this false rape referral until January 2016 – when Tusla wrote to him in December 2015 and told him it was investigating him for rape and, despite Sgt McCabe’s solicitor Sean Costello writing back to Tusla immediately to say the claim was entirely false, Tusla didn’t acknowledge it was false until the summer of 2016]

When Mr Howlin gave his contribution to the Dáil in February 2017, the Cabinet was not considering the Tusla matter for inclusion in the then pending commission of investigation.

RTÉ broadcasts

Mr Keena referred to the tribunal’s term of reference K which solely looked at the reports by Paul Reynolds on RTÉ about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and if Ms O’Sullivan influenced Mr Reynolds’ reports.

The term of reference specifically states the tribunal was to “investigate whether commissioner O’Sullivan, using briefing material prepared by Garda Headquarters, influenced or attempted to influence broadcasts on RTÉ on the 9th of May 2016, purporting to be a leaked account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission Report, in which Sergeant McCabe was branded a liar and irresponsible.”

This term of reference came about because Sgt McCabe, in his protected disclosure, told the tribunal that John Barrett, head of HR in An Garda Siochana, told him that Mr Reynolds’ reports ‘came from Block One’ – which is another term for the Garda Commissioner’s office.

Mr Barrett denies saying this to Sgt McCabe.

Mr Keena wrote:

“This term of reference could be seen as the equivalent of a charge not only against O’Sullivan but also against the RTÉ crime correspondent, Paul Reynolds, who produced the broadcasts. He, and the colleagues who worked with him in producing the broadcasts, felt they were being accused of being Garda stooges or bad journalists.”

Mr Keena added:

In a protected disclosure (a supposedly highly-confidential disclosure made under the “whistleblower” law) in October 2016, McCabe said he was on stress-related leave and that the reports by Reynolds were part of the reason for this.

Citing three numbered reasons for his being out of work, McCabe said the first was O’Sullivan’s “treatment of me”.

Another was the production of “false evidence” in an attempt to “set me up” at the confidential hearings of the O’Higgins commission.

The third was the “disgraceful series of broadcasts” on RTÉ on May 9th, 2016, in which he had been “branded as a liar and irresponsible”.

“The disclosure then continued: “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.”

Mr Keena then went on to say:

“The Oireachtas opted to reflect McCabe’s claim in the tribunal’s terms of reference, even though O’Sullivan had rejected the claim as untrue.”

However, many, if if not all, of the allegations which are before the tribunal are contested by those who are alleged to have done things or said things.

There would be no tribunal if contested allegations were not included in its terms of reference.

Mr Keena pointed out that Sgt McCabe included the claim about Paul Reynolds’ reports in his protected disclosure based on “one sentence he claims was made to him” by Mr Barrett.

It’s worth noting Judge Charleton told the tribunal even if Sgt McCabe did withdraw the claim he made on the basis of what he says he was told by Mr Barrett – given Mr Barrett denies it – he would still be obliged to look into the matter.

Of Mr Reynolds’s reports (dealt with in detail here) , Mr Keena wrote:

“The broadcasts by Reynolds led the news on RTÉ all day, on both radio and television [on May 9, 2016]. That they are based on the contents of the then-unpublished O’Higgins commission report can now be shown as the report has been published.

In them, Reynolds tells viewers and listeners what is in the report, which he had a copy of and no-one at the tribunal has suggested otherwise. If McCabe did not like the broadcasts, then his issue was with Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins, Reynolds told the tribunal.

“The word “lie” is used in the broadcasts, but it does not appear in O’Higgins. However the report does state that McCabe told an “untruth” to a Garda inquiry knowing it to be untrue. There is no mention of McCabe being “irresponsible” in the broadcasts. The use of the word “lie” was discussed within RTÉ. The broadcasts included the fact that the word used in the report was “untruth”.

“Reynolds, when asked by the tribunal chairman, said he was resentful and angry about the charge made against him. The former chief news editor at RTÉ, Ray Burke, who worked for days with Reynolds on the broadcasts, said the criticisms of their work was an insult to him and his colleagues.”

Mr Keena didn’t detail the evidence heard from Mr Reynolds and Mr Burke in the run-up to his broadcasts on May 9, 2016.

Mr Keeena didn’t explain that notes which Mr Reynolds had shared with the tribunal showed that in April and May – in the run-up to his May 9 reports – he had notes of two conversations with a person or people about the Ms D matter and Sgt McCabe.

Mr Reynolds also told the tribunal he didn’t think to ask why he was being told about the Ms D allegation as he prepared to report on O’Higgins.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal he had heard about the Ms D allegation in 2013 in the context of the penalty points controversy, and he knew the DPP’s categorical directions, therefore, he knew the Ms D allegation had nothing to do with the complaints Sgt McCabe was making about policing in Cavan/Monaghan.

Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, put it to Mr Reynold that “that is exactly the point”.

In terms of the “untruth” Sgt McCabe made, Mr Keena also didn’t explain the details of this.

The “untruth” centred on a report from 2008 in which Sgt McCabe told Supt Michael Clancy that the victim of an assault and his wife had made a complaint to GSOC even though he knew this wasn’t the case.

The purpose of the “untruth” was that Sgt McCabe felt the couple had been badly treated by members of An Garda Síochána and he felt if he said they complained to GSOC, the matter would gain more attention.

The assault took place in a Cavan pub and the man suffered injuries to his head and face.

Judge O’Higgins, in his report, criticised the handling of the case by An Garda Siochana and found there was an “inordinate delay” in interviewing witnesses and compiling a file on the matter.

Ultimately, Judge O’Higgins said the following about this “untruth”:

“While this concern [of Sgt McCabe’s] was genuine and commendable it is unacceptable to furnish false information in a report.”

In terms of Mr Reynolds’ broadcasts not saying Sgt McCabe was “irresponsible” Mr Keena also didn’t mention that Ms Leader BL, for the tribunal – after the tribunal listened to all of his reports – put the following to Mr Reynolds:

“It could be said, Mr Reynolds, that in conveying to the public on the national broadcasting authority that a lot of complaints were made that nothing came of, and in particular in relation to very senior officers in An Garda Síochána, that Sergeant McCabe, in complaining as he did, was irresponsible in so doing…?”

Mr Reynolds said there was “no implication” from his broadcasts that Sgt McCabe was irresponsible.

Mr Keena’s article also didn’t point out that Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, put it Mr Reynolds that he didn’t “mention the fact Sgt McCabe’s evidence had been preferred by the O’Higgins Commission on all of the areas where he was in conflict with other gardaí”.

Another omission in Mr Keena’s piece, in respect of Mr Reynolds is that, apart from Supt Taylor claiming he negatively briefed Mr Reynolds – which Mr Reynolds denies – Dublin City University professor Colm Kenny alleged to the tribunal that Mr Reynolds and Tom Brady, of the Irish Independent, told him, in early 2014, that Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse.

Mr Kenny said he felt they 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.

Both Mr Reynolds and Mr Brady categorically deny the claim.

More can be read about Mr Reynolds’ evidence here.

O’Higgins commission

Mr Keena wrote the following about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – and claims made by Sgt McCabe concerning it – in his article:

The O’Higgins commission sat in private. In its report it found that while McCabe had made valid complaints about policing matters, serious allegations he had made against a number of senior officers were unfounded.

An allegation of corruption made against Callinan did not have a “scintilla of evidence” to support it, the report found. While the commission said McCabe had been truthful, it also noted that he was prone to exaggeration.

Rearding the use of the word “corruption” – it should be noted that Sgt McCabe’s complaint in relation to Mr Callinan was the placing of then Supt Michael Clancy on a promotions list, given his complaints about Supt Clancy, who is now Chief Supt Clancy.

It was referred to as a complaint of “corruption” because Sgt McCabe made the complaint under the Charter of the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice) Regulations 2007.

While Judge O’Higgins did not uphold the complaint against Mr Callinan, he did say in his report:

“The commission is satisfied that Sergeant McCabe did hold genuine concerns that there was some impropriety in the promotion of Chief Superintendent Clancy.”

The tribunal also heard that, on day seven of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, Chief Supt Terry McGinn gave evidence to it about the nature of Sgt McCabe’s complaints.

Specifically, she said:

“In relation to Sergeant McCabe’s complaint, he particularly told me… that his complaints were not against Garda sergeants, his complaints were against Garda management and their failure to, and I summarise it here, I have other words, as I was exploring what Sergeant McCabe said to me. And he said: ‘In all of my statements and exhibits, my purpose was to highlight poor standards, poor work practices and failure by Garda management to address these issues. I am also concerned at the service provided by the Gardaí to the public. I am not alleging corruption or criminality by any members or nor have I any evidence to support this allegation‘.”

In relation to the reports by Katie Hannon, on Prime Time, and Mick Clifford, in the Irish Examiner, on events at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which weren’t recounted in the O’Higgins report, Mr Keena wrote:

“One aspect of the reports was that a serious claim against McCabe was to have been made by O’Sullivan’s legal team at the private commission hearings. ‘That was blown out of the water when McCabe produced a transcript’ of a secret recording he had made which disproved the claim, said the Examiner report.

“On May 26th, 2016, Mick Wallace, who has long championed McCabe, told the Dáil: “Two gardaí were planning to perjure themselves or provide false evidence to impugn Sgt McCabe’s motives [at the O’Higgins commission] until a recording was produced.”

“The recording referred to was one made secretly by McCabe of a meeting with a Garda colleague. The recording showed that the claim made against McCabe in a summary document produced by the legal team acting for O’Sullivan and other senior officers at the commission hearings was incorrect. The summary document was designed to justify the O’Sullivan legal team’s desire to attack McCabe’s motivation at the commission hearings.

“However, the evidence heard by the tribunal shows that another document handed in by the same legal team, at the same time or soon thereafter, disclosed that the claim against McCabe contained in the summary was incorrect. This document, a report of the meeting secretly taped by McCabe, gave a version of events that agreed with McCabe’s transcript. In other words, it also showed that the claim made in the summary was incorrect. In the witness box, McCabe was asked if he accepted this. He said at first that he did, and then immediately changed his answer.

“I’ll just tell you, and I have, you know, admitted a few things here, but I have to say, and it is in my heart, that I think if I hadn’t got the recording of the Mullingar meeting, I think it would have been serious for me.”

“The tribunal was told that the incorrect or mistaken claim arose following a consultation between lawyers and a Garda officer. In other words, someone misdescribed or misunderstood what was being said during a series of consultations that took place over a weekend in order to have the summary document ready for the Monday morning. There is no evidence that connects O’Sullivan directly in any way with what happened over the weekend. The legal team was acting for her but also for other officers. The legal team met these officers, but not O’Sullivan. The tribunal will in time report on the matter.”

“Prime Time and the Irish Examiner did not name the two gardaí. However, during his comments under Dáil privilege in 2016, Wallace named the two gardaí he said were “planning to perjure themselves” at the O’Higgins commission as Supt Noel Cunningham and Sgt Yvonne Martin.

“Sgt Maurice McCabe would be buried by now if he had not taped the conversation,” Wallace said.

“RTÉ has recently made a six-figure settlement with Cunningham arising out of the Prime Time report. A defamation case against the broadcaster taken by Martin continues. Both are also suing the Irish Examiner, as well as other media organisations. In a statement to the tribunal, Martin said she had never even attended the O’Higgins commission.

“Nor have I ever, to this day, been contacted by the garda commissioner, [O’Sullivan], her legal team, Gsoc [Garda Síochána Ombudsman], the media, to clarify my involvement in or recollection of the [taped] meeting.”

Mr Keena’s reference to an “incorrect or mistaken” claim [singular] in a “summary document” may be downplaying the matter.

The O’Higgins inquiry looked at allegations of poor policing in the Cavan/Monaghan area made by Sgt McCabe, with Judge Kevin O’Higgins overseeing 34 days of privately held hearings from May 14, 2015 until December 17, 2015.

At the outset of the commission, on May 15, 2015, Colm Smyth SC, representing Ms O’Sullivan [his chief client], retired Chief Supt Colm Rooney, Supt Michael Clancy and Supt Noel Cunningham told Judge O’Higgins that it was his instructions – as re-confirmed twice that afternoon by Ms O’Sullivan – to challenge the integrity, motivation and credibility of Sgt McCabe.

Mr Smyth would later – in November 2015 – tell the commission that in respect of him having stated it was his instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe’s “integrity” – this was an error on his part.

But he maintained it was his instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe’s motivation and credibility – as a means to “test the evidence” of Sgt McCabe.

[During the entire time of the commission, Sgt McCabe was never made aware that a wholly false allegation of child rape was sitting in a file in the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s office since May 2014]

The tribunal heard a lot about incidents and evidence given at O’Higgins on Day 1 (Thursday, May 14, 2015), Day 2 (Friday, May 15, 2015), Day 3 (Monday, May 18, 2015), Day 4 (Tuesday, May 19, 2015) and Day 5 (June 24, 2015).

Specifically, it also heard about “gross falsehoods”, in the words of Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, or “factual inaccuracies”, in the words of Ms O’Sullivan, which were levelled against Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins inquiry – and which mainly centred on the DPP’s directions in respect of Ms D’s 2006 complaint.

These falsehoods/inaccuracies were raised in evidence at the outset of the commission, committed to paper in the form of a 20-paragraph letter submitted on behalf of the Chief State Solicitor’s office to the commission on May 18, 2015, and, in some cases, committed to paper again when written submissions were later made to the commission on June 11, 2015.

This 20-paragraph document is what Mr Keena was referring to when he wrote “summary document”.

One of the falsehoods/inaccuracies in this document was an allegation that Sgt McCabe was angry with the DPP and that he wanted the DPP’s directions challenged.

Unbeknownst to An Garda Síochána at the time of the O’Higgins commission, Sgt McCabe was fully briefed of the DPP’s directions since April 2007, and was, in his own words to the tribunal, “absolutely thrilled” with them.

Judge Charleton described the DPP’s directions “as close to an exoneration as anyone could get”making the claim given in evidence that Sgt McCabe wanted them challenged bewildering.

And yet it happened.

Chief Supt Colm Rooney, who was in charge of the Cavan/Monaghan District in 2007 but who was retired by the time of the O’Higgins inquiry – in response to a question from Colm Smyth SC, for both CS Rooney and Noirin O’Sullivan – told the commission in evidence on May 15, 2015, the following about a meeting he had with Sgt McCabe in late 2007:

“Sergeant McCabe came to see me, sought an appointment to come and see me in my office in Monaghan. He contacted my office and made an appointment and I saw him. He came to me. He was very angry, he was very annoyed and he was very upset.

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.

It was these words which prompted a legal row that afternoon with, initially, counsel for the commission Sean Gillane SC, calling into question the line of questioning by Mr Smyth SC, followed by Mr McDowell.

As a consequence of the legal row, the hearing adjourned for Colm Smyth SC to seek confirmation of his instructions from Ms O’Sullivan – as she was his primary client.

This communication with Ms O’Sullivan went through her liaison officer Chief Supt Fergus Healy and, ultimately, Ms O’Sullivan did reconfirm her instructions – twice – that her legal team was to challenge the motivation and credibility of Sgt McCabe.

At the time, Mr Smyth also said his instructions were to challenge Sgt McCabe’s integrity but, as mentioned above, he later, in November 2015, told the commission this was an error on his part.

As a further consequence of the legal row, Judge O’Higgins said Mr McDowell was entitled to know what “adverse allegations” were being made against Sgt McCabe.

And so.

The letter from the Chief State Solicitor was composed over the following weekend and submitted on the Monday morning.

The letter, the tribunal heard, was a means to give notice to the commission and Sgt McCabe’s legal team of the “matters to be relied on” by Noirin O’Sullivan at the O’Higgins commission.

The letter – or summary document as labelled by Mr Keena – was headed:

“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”

Of the letter’s 20 paragraphs, at least 13 made reference to either Ms D, Mr D, or the DPP’s directions concerning Ms D’s 2006 allegation – without specifically stating the details of Ms D’s allegation.

And it was littered with the aforementioned falsehoods/inaccuracies.

The letter can be read in full here

It’s important to note the letter didn’t contain simply one error.

It alleged Sgt McCabe expressed anger and annoyance towards the DPP.

It alleged that Sgt McCabe “demanded” that Chief Supt Colm Rooney “communicate with the DPP to seek a declaration of innocence from the DPP in relation to the allegation” – echoing the evidence of Chief Rooney given just days before.

It alleged that Chief Supt Rooney told Sgt McCabe that it was not the policy of the gardaí to challenge the DPP.

It alleged Sgt McCabe was unhappy with the DPP’s decision and that the DPP’s decision “ought to have completely exonerated him rather than recording that there was not sufficient evidence to proceed against him”.

[When, during the tribunal, Mr McDowell pressed Mr Rooney on the idea that the DPP ruled there was merely “insufficient evidence” in terms of the Ms D allegation – which is entirely not the case – Mr Rooney said: “Well, he certainly didn’t say that he was absolutely exonerated, either.”]

The letter also suggested Sgt McCabe had attempted to blackmail Superintendent Michael Clancy and that Sgt McCabe had confessed this to Supt Noel Cunningham, in the company of Sgt Yvonne Martin, at a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008.

Paragraph 19 of the letter 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.”

Counsel for An Garda Síochána told the tribunal that instead of saying ‘complaint against Supt Clancy’, the letter should have said ‘to’ and that this was an error.

The tribunal also heard that in notes of the legal consultation between Supt Cunningham and his legal team, Supt Cunningham said “to” and not “against”.

However, this doesn’t explain the alleged threat of force.

Even putting the ‘to’ versus ‘against’ alleged error aside, the paragraph also suggests that the meeting took place on foot of complaints made by Sgt McCabe.

But the tribunal heard that this really wasn’t the case.

The tribunal heard that, in February 2008, Supt Michael Clancy requested Sgt McCabe to draw up a report about his dealings with the D family and that Supt Clancy said he would see if he could get the DPP’s directions shown to the D family.

The request came some four months after Sgt McCabe had been confronted by members of the D family in public in October 2007.

Sgt McCabe obliged with the request and then Supt Clancy tasked Supt Noel Cunningham to investigate Sgt McCabe’s report – and this was what the purpose of the meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 was about.

But even if one was to put the “falsehoods” or “inaccuracies” in the CSS letter to the side, the false ‘blackmail’ error was put to Sgt McCabe – by Colm Smyth SC – when Sgt McCabe was in the witness box on Day 4 of the commission, Monday, May 18, 2015, the same day the CSS letter, littered with problems, was given into the commission.

Specifically, Mr Smyth and Sgt McCabe had this exchange:

Smyth: “In the course of that 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.”

Despite this being said in a room full of people the “error” wasn’t spotted.

It was also repeated when written submissions were submitted to the commission on June 11, 2015.

Paragraph 70 of the submissions stated:

“Sergeant McCabe then made a series of complaints against other officers in Bailieboro Station, including Superintendent Clancy against whom he alleged a lack of support. Chief Superintendent Rooney appointed Superintendent Cunningham to investigate these complaints. Superintendent Cunningham attempted to meet Sergeant McCabe to discuss the complaints and finally did so on 25th August 2008. On this occasion, Superintendent Cunningham was accompanied by Sergeant Martin.

It is understood that Superintendent Cunningham will give evidence that Sergeant McCabe said at that meeting [in Mullingar in August 2008] that the complaint which he had made alleging lack of support, as referred to in the preceding paragraph, was a bid by him to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him and the complaining party. This is recorded in a report of the meeting prepared jointly by Sergeant Martin and Superintendent Cunningham.”

The idea that Sgt McCabe had attempted to engage in a blackmail situation with Supt Michael Clancy about the DPP’s directions was effectively dismissed on Day 5 of the commission (June 24, 2015) after Judge O’Higgins brought the commission’s attention to a transcript of this Mullingar meeting – after Sgt McCabe produced a tape of the meeting – which showed paragraph 19 of the CSS letter was incorrect.

Judge O’Higgins also drew attention to the fact that a report of the meeting, submitted to the commission by Supt Noel Cunningham also didn’t support paragraph 19 but, instead, matched Sgt McCabe’s tape.

This is the “another document” referred to by Mr Keena above.

It should be noted solicitor Annemarie Ryan, from the Chief State Solicitor’s Office told the tribunal she gave Supt Cunningham’s report into the commission and Mr McDowell on the morning of Monday, May 18, 2015, along with the CSS letter.

But Mr McDowell was adamant this didn’t happen.

it was also the evidence of the Garda legal team representing Ms O’Sullivan and other gardai at the O’Higgins commission that they didn’t see Supt Cunningham’s report until June 24, 2015.

Supt Cunningham also told the tribunal that he handed in a second copy of his report of the meeting on June 9, 2015 – ahead of the submissions on June 11, 2015 – and yet, still, the submissions were wrong.

Sgt Martin, the tribunal heard, had no input into the CSS letter and wasn’t party to the legal consultations which took place before the O’Higgins commission. The tribunal heard she didn’t even know about the letter.

But how did these falsehoods/inaccuracies end up featuring in the CSS letter?

And what was Noirin O’Sullivan’s knowledge of them before and after they were made?

Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal that she saw the O’Higgins commission as an opportunity to get to “the truth”.

She also said she knew that legal consultations were taking place between gardai and her legal representatives in the run-up to the O’Higgins commission.

Mr O’Sullivan told the tribunal her liaison officer at the commission Chief Supt Fergus Healy told her about the consultations but, she said: “We didn’t go into the specific detail of the information that was imparted.”

However, Ms O’Sullivan did say she presumed Ms D’s allegation was discussed at the consultations because she was aware the DPP’s directions, in respect of the allegation, were discussed.

She also told the tribunal that it wouldn’t have surprised her to know the D allegation was being discussed at the consultation.

She said:

“It wouldn’t surprise me, but I think what is important to say is that there was always a sensitivity, and there remains a sensitivity, around anything to do with the matters that the DPP had adjudicated on and had found there was no basis for a prosecution.”

This comment about “sensitivity” is interesting when one considers Ms O’Sullivan, at this point, had known for several years that there was no basis for a prosecution in relation to the Ms D allegation since 2008 – when she first learned of the Ms D allegation from her time working in Human Resources – yet, the tribunal was told, Ms O’Sullivan didn’t respond to the entirely false allegation of rape supposedly made by Ms D against Sgt McCabe in a referral which was presented to her as real in May 2014, and she didn’t spot that the Ms D allegation had gone from “dry humping” to anal, digital and vaginal rape.

Ms O’Sullivan appeared to put distance between her and those who gave information to the legal team.

She said:

“Obviously I wasn’t present at the consultation, so I am not sure what questions counsel felt that they needed to explore to get the background that they needed to inform them…

“I hadn’t got possession or knowledge of the factual matters because obviously I had not, for appropriate reasons, been present at the consultations or interviewed any of the witnesses, so I didn’t know what the factual matters that they had were and that counsel had been exposed to that.”

The tribunal heard that Chief Supt Healy called Ms O’Sullivan on the night of May 14, 2015 to seek her instructions.

Ms O’Sullivan did not make any note of the call.

But Chief Supt Healy did.

The tribunal has seen that, in his note, Chief Supt Healy had the words:

“Permission/instructions to use Cunningham inve [investigation].”



Ms O’Sullivan said what she understood her counsel to be seeking was “an in-depth understanding of what were the reasons or what was the rationale, why Sergeant McCabe, or the basis, maybe that is a better way to put it, the basis on which Sergeant McCabe believed that these incidents, combined together, led to corruption and malpractice, and, most importantly, what evidence did he have.”

In May 15, 2015 – when the legal row erupted and CS Healy had to seek confirmation of Ms O’Sullivan’s instructions for Mr Smyth, Ms O’Sullivan said she initially told CS Healy that she’d rather an adjournment.

She was adamant that she wasn’t having second thoughts about her instructions but instead:

“I wanted to make sure that there were necessary supports in place for Sergeant McCabe.”

Asked who she would have spoken to if she had got an adjournment, Ms O’Sullivan said she would have spoken to CS Healy and her legal team.

She said:

“I didn’t want to discuss the advices or the instructions; I wanted to understand what was the issue, in more detail, that had arisen at the Commission.”

This is somewhat confusing.

If Ms O’Sullivan was keen to know what had arisen, she would have learned what Mr Rooney told the commission that afternoon – which was that Sgt McCabe wanted the DPP’s directions “challenged”.

If this occurred, it should have set off alarm bells for her – given Ms O’Sullivan knew, since 2008, that the DPP categorically ruled there should be no prosecution in respect of the Ms D allegation against Sgt McCabe.

Is it plausible that Ms O’Sullivan would have been told of the legal argument without being told what Mr Rooney told the commission – which sparked the legal row in the first place?

It was put to Ms O’Sullivan at the tribunal that it might have been useful for her to go down to the commission that day.

She responded:

“I would have very much welcomed the opportunity to go down to the Commission, because I think it would have — we may not even be here now.”

Solicitor at Chief State Solicitor’s Office Annemarie Ryan, in her evidence, said she actively sought to have a consultation with Ms O’Sullivan that weekend but Chief Supt Healy told her Ms O’Sullivan was unavailable.

Chief Supt Healy told the tribunal he did attempt to arrange a consultation between the two women but Ms O’Sullivan said she was too busy/otherwise engaged.

Ms O’Sullivan categorically stated she was never informed of such a request.

In respect of the CSS letter, Ms O’Sullivan said she had nothing to do with it.

Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, pointed out to Ms O’Sullivan that this suggests Ms O’Sullivan gave the go-ahead to something that was being done in her name – without full knowledge of the facts.

In response, Ms O’Sullivan said:

“My opinion was at that time that the expertise that was there between the legal team and the people that had the best knowledge of it, there was such an urgency on presenting this document for Monday morning, that they were the best people to deal with it.”

After suggesting she could have just read over the CSS letter, Ms O’Sullivan said:

“I felt it was appropriate to leave it to the legal team.”

Ms O’Sullivan went on to say the following about the CSS letter:

I don’t believe that even in what was put forward, that there was anything improper or anything suggesting an improper motive on behalf of Sergeant McCabe in it.”

More on the O’Higgins module of the tribunal can be read here and here


Mr Keena referred to the discrepancy between Sgt McCabe and Supt Taylor’s evidence in regards to the use of texts in the alleged smear campaign.

Sgt McCabe says when he met Supt Taylor in September 2016, Supt Taylor told him he would have sent hundreds “if not thousands” of texts about Sgt McCabe and the Ms D allegation – which would have been composed by Mr Callinan and sent to journalists and other senior gardai.

Supt Taylor says he wasn’t talking about the texts in terms of the alleged smear campaign but about media updates concerning Sgt McCabe.

It was this meeting in September 2016 which gave rise to the two men making protected disclosures – with Sgt McCabe making his several days before Supt Taylor.

Mr Keena wrote:

On October 4th [2016], [Mick] Clifford, in the Examiner, reported that protected disclosures had been made by two (unidentified) members of the force, alleging a smear campaign and saying that O’Sullivan had known about it. The report was published around the same time as the disclosures were being received by the Department of Justice.

Speaking at the Charleton tribunal, Conor Dignam SC, for Garda Headquarters, said the editorial in the Irish Examiner that day included the following phrase: “Today’s revelations about an organised campaign driven by senior garda management to undermine a whistleblower”. This put the matter, Dignam said, as something that was being revealed, rather than alleged.

Mr Keena didn’t mention it but, the matter of the Irish Examiner’s editorial about the protected disclosures, which Mr Clifford said he didn’t write, was put to Mr Clifford when he gave evidence.

He told the tribunal:

“Revelation” was used, and I take your point. To me the revelation was that this disclosure had gone in rather than the content of the disclosure.”

Mr Clifford also said:

“In terms of publishing that and feeling justified in publishing it, there are a couple of things in that regard that I would say: First of all, this is — in publishing that, it’s a process whereby it goes through the editorial hierarchy inside in the Examiner, which backed up my decision that this was in the public interest and that this should have been published.

“Then you are talking about the substance of the issue. In the first instance, this was unprecedented. You had a superintendent in An Garda Síochána nominally of good standing, was making a protected disclosure about what was occurring within the force.

“That of itself was completely unprecedented. Equally so, who he was incriminating in there. In the first instance he was incriminating himself. I don’t know even since the protected disclosure or anything of that nature has come in, have we ever had a scenario whereby somebody making it was incriminating and incriminating himself to the extent
that he was admitting that he was involved in a smear campaign to effectively brand Sergeant McCabe as a paedophile and to do so for no other than to ingratiate himself to his boss or further his career. That is that element of it.

“The second element: The other person he incriminated was former Commissioner Callinan, somebody with whom he had a very good relationship, whom he looked up to and whom he regarded as something of a mentor.”

Asked by Mr Dignam what steps he took to verify the protected disclosures, Mr Clifford said:

“No, I wasn’t in a position to do so, Mr Dignam. It would have involved, for example, approaching Nóirín O’Sullivan and Martin Callinan and asking them were they involved in a campaign. I was reporting the lodgement of this protected disclosure.”

Mr Keena also wrote:

“In the Dáil, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald called for O’Sullivan’s resignation. Clare Daly did the same, saying: “The tánaiste and minister for justice and equality [Frances Fitzgerald] has . . . the protected disclosures of two senior gardaí outlining systematic, organised, orchestrated campaigns not just to discredit a whistleblower but to annihilate him, with the full involvement of the current and former Garda commissioners.”

“It is worth noting that McCabe’s basis for making his claim was what he was told by Taylor, so there was in fact only one source for the serious allegations against O’Sullivan and Callinan, something which was known to Daly, who had met both men.”

For Ms Daly’s part, when Indepedents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace gave evidence, he said himself and Ms Daly were calling for Ms O’Sullivan’s resignation long before the protected disclosures were reported upon and they were calling for her resignation over a myriad of issues.

And in terms of the allegations concerning the circulation of the Ms D allegation, it’s worth noting that Mr Wallace told the tribunal his parliamentary assistant Chris Oonan answered an anonymous call in 2014 in which the caller told him about the Ms D allegation while, long before the protected disclosures, Paul Williams’ articles about Ms D and Sgt McCabe were published in April/May 2014 – again two years before the protected disclosures.

Ms Daly said she was aware of a whispering campaign against Sgt McCabe but her first firm knowledge of the Ms D allegation came about via Paul Williams’ articles.

Mr Keena also wrote:

In a radio interview on RTÉ that day, Daly said “inaccurate personal information was given out about him [McCabe] in the most horrific ways. Text messages sent to the gardaí, people in the media told ‘Oh, you don’t want to be talking to him, you know all about him’, hint, hint, hint, with some more graphic details with it. Politicians who I think need to come clear on this got the message about this as well.”

McCabe, Wallace, Clifford and Daly have all said they were told, or it was indicated to them by Taylor, that the alleged smear campaign involved texts. McCabe said he went back the day after he met Taylor to check that he had been told “hundreds” of texts may have been involved. He was, he said, told the number of texts may have been in the thousands.

Yet Taylor, in his sworn evidence, has said he never claimed to anyone that the alleged smear campaign involved texts.

This is just one of the many examples of the “diametrically opposed” positions that several people have taken at the tribunal.

For more on Supt Taylor’s conflicting evidence, see here.

The smear campaign:

Mr Keena also wrote:

“In his evidence Taylor said he had spoken with 12 named journalists as part of smear campaign. Conor Lally, crime and security editor with The Irish Times, was one of those named. On Thursday. Taylor’s counsel, Michael O’Higgins SC, said 10 of the journalists had denied Taylor’s claim, and two had asserted journalistic privilege. Lally is one of those who denied Taylor’s claim.”

Mr Keena failed to mention the evidence of former Irish Mirror journalist Cathal McMahon who told the tribunal that he had heard of the rumour about Ms D, went to Supt Taylor, Supt Taylor confirmed it to him and then encouraged him to travel to Cavan to meet Ms D.

Supt Taylor curiously claims he never told Mr McMahon to travel to Cavan but said he was someone he negatively briefed which, bizarrely, Mr McMahon disagrees with.

Mr Keena also didn’t recount the evidence of John Kierans, editor of the Irish Mirror, whom the tribunal heard told Mr McMahon not to pursue the story as he was suspicious of it.

Mr Kierans also told the tribunal that, after making his own inquiries, he learned that Supt was “peddling” the Ms D matter to several newsrooms in Dublin.

Mr Keena also wrote:

“Michael O’Higgins [senior counsel for Supt Taylor] acknowledged that no independent evidence had been produced to Charleton to support charges that O’Sullivan had known of the campaign his client said he was ordered by Callinan to conduct. He also acknowledged that Taylor’s credibility was a significant issue. His client’s claims were “capable” of being believed, he said. Whether they should be was a matter for the chairman, he said.”

In respect of this, it may be worth recalling the questioning of Ms O’Sullivan by Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, when Ms O’Sullivan made her second appearance at the tribunal for the most recent module when Ms Leader suggested there was a “theme” emerging from Ms O’Sullivan’s evidence.

Specifically Ms Leader was referring to Ms O’Sullivan’s non-recollection of any mention of the Ms D allegation in her company between 2008 up to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.

Ms O’Sullivan was appointed Assistant Commissioner in Human Resources Management in October 2008 and, as a consequence, she learned of the Ms D allegation against Sgt McCabe the following month in a report from Chief Supt Terry McGinn.

The report stated:

“Ms D alleged that when she was six years old she was indecently assaulted on one occasion by Sergeant Maurice McCabe when he was visiting her house while off duty. An investigation file on the matter was prepared by Inspector Cunningham and submitted to the Law Officers for direction, who directed on 11th April 2007 that there was no basis for a prosecution. In May 2007 Sergeant McCabe was informed by Inspector Cunningham that there would be no prosecution in the matter.”

In 2009, she became Assistant Commissioner Crime and Security and in 2010, Ms O’Sullivan became Deputy Commissioner of Operations.

In 2011, Martin Callinan became Garda Commissioner so, from then, Ms O’Sullivan started reporting to Mr Callinan.

[Supt Dave Taylor was appointed head of the Garda Press Office in July 2012, after having been a Detective Inspector attached to Liaison Protection Section and in September 2013, Andrew McLindon was appointed Director of Communications]

Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal she became aware of the penalty points controversy in 2012 and she was aware that Mr Callinan had appointed then Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney to carry out an internal investigation into the wiping of points – on foot of complaints made by Sgt McCabe and then Garda John Wilson.

She was also aware that Mr Callinan had sent a direction to Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson to stop accessing Pulse in December 2012.

In late 2013/early 2014, Mr Callinan was preparing for his then forthcoming appearance – on Thursday, January  23 at the Public Accounts Committee in respect of the penalty points matter. Ms O’Sullivan sat next to Mr Callinan at that five-hour meeting. [This is the meeting where Mr Callinan made the “disgusting” remark]

Before the meeting, there had been correspondence between Mr Callinan and the chairman of the committee Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness – in which Mr Callinan, after taking legal advice from the Attorney General, raised his concerns about documentation concerning the penalty points matter being given to Mr McGuinness and the PAC.

[Mr McGuinness wrote back to Mr Callinan and told him all sensitive information had been redacted and that the PAC had taken its own legal advice]

Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal she was aware of all of this.

Ms O’Sullivan said she was also aware of correspondence between Mr Callinan and the then Data Commissioner Billy Hawkes about the same.

Around this time, there was talk of Sgt McCabe appearing before the PAC which was unprecedented and Mr Callinan was strenuously against this.

Asked if, around this time, she got the impression Mr Callinan was getting “frustrated” with Sgt McCabe, Ms O’Sullivan said:

I never believed that Commissioner Callinan was personalising it to Sergeant McCabe, but he was certainly concerned about the issues that were being raised and the manner in which they were being raised and the, as I say, the potential impact it would have on confidence in the organisation and the potential impact it could have on individual members of the public.”

As part of the preparations for Mr Callinan’s appearance at PAC, there were several meetings held which Ms O’Sullivan and Mr McLindon attended.

The pre-PAC meetings were held on January 6, 9, 14, 16, 21 and 22. Of these meetings, Ms O’Sullivan didn’t attend the meeting of January 6 as she was on annual leave.

The tribunal heard that, after Sgt McCabe and Supt Taylor made their protected disclosures, Ms O’Sullivan told Mr Justice Iarlaith O’Neill – who was carrying out a scoping exercise into the disclosures – that there was never any discussion about a campaign to undermine Sgt McCabe at the pre-PAC meetings.

Asked if there were discussions about Sgt McCabe and whistleblowers, Ms O’Sullivan said:

“..It wasn’t about Sergeant McCabe personally, it was more about the issues that Sergeant McCabe was bringing into the public domain, as opposed to Sergeant McCabe personally.”

In addition, Ms O’Sullivan had said to the tribunal’s investigators:

“…the matters referring to Sergeant McCabe related to his forthcoming appearance before the PAC and the appropriateness or otherwise of him appearing in uniform. In addition, other matters during conversations would be data protection concerns.”

Ms O’Sullivan also told the tribunal that she didn’t take any notes at these meetings.

Ms Leader referred to a note made by Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan at one of the meetings – on January 9.

It mentioned ‘Wilson/McCabe issues’.

Ms O’Sullivan this would have referred to data protection issues and concerns over whether Sgt McCabe would have appeared at PAC wearing his uniform or not.

In a note by Mr Nolan – from the January 21 meeting, two days before Mr Callinan’s appearance – Mr Nolan noted:

“Start Sergeant McCabe 2006.”

Ms Leader suggested to Ms O’Sullivan this was a reference to the Ms D allegation.

Ms O’Sullivan says she’s no memory of the Ms D allegation ever having been referred to at the pre-PAC meetings.

Mr Nolan also made reference to “motivation of whistleblowers” and question mark over those words.

Ms O’Sullivan said she didn’t know what that referred to and suggested it might have been a question Mr Nolan was asking himself.

Ms Leader and Ms O’Sullivan then had this exchange:

Leader: “And on the next page we have the word “motivation”, which appears again in the O’Higgins Commission matter, the motivation of whistleblowers and Sergeant McCabe’s name listed underneath it. So in essence, according to Assistant Commissioner Nolan, we have matters relating to Sergeant McCabe from 2006 more or less topping and tailing that meeting, if you understand what I’m saying to you?”

O’Sullivan: “No, Chairman, I see the note, but I can only give you what my recollection of the meeting is, and I have no memory of it being introduced at the meeting.”

Ms Leader also raised the notes of Mr McLindon from the same meeting, on January 21, 2014.

He noted at the top of his notes:

“2006 first incident, sergeant serving”

[Mr McLindon accepted in his evidence that this was likely about the Ms D allegation. Mr Callinan also conceded this but says he couldn’t recall it being discussed.

[Mr McLindon also told the tribunal that, around this time: “...there was a general talk that that (the Ms D allegation) was part of Sergeant McCabe bringing forward the penalty points issues, but it was a… I wouldn’t be able to say officer X had that view or officer Y had that view. And it wasn’t necessarily, I would call it, a generally-held view. It was a view held by certain people. But I can’t, to be honest with you, recall the individuals

[Mr McLindon also said: “My impression was that it was relatively well-known at the upper echelons of the organisation, because that’s the way kind of the rumour mill works in Garda HQ, that it goes up the chain, if you like.]

Again, Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal that she has no memory of the Ms D allegation being discussed at the pre-PAC meetings.

She added:

If it was discussed, sometimes I may be in and out of a meeting, sometimes I may be late to a meeting, I can’t say on 21st January at what stage of the meeting that I arrived or whether I was there for the entire meeting, but I certainly have no recollection of the matter being, the Ms. D matter being discussed.”

Ms Leader put to Ms O’Sullivan perhaps she forgot the Ms D matter was discussed or that it was discussed so much, that she “simply switched off”.

Ms O’Sullivan said she wouldn’t have forgotten such a thing and, as for the latter suggestions, Ms O’Sullivan was adamant when she said:

“No, Chairman, that isn’t the case. Because from the time I was in HRM in 2008 right up to the beginning of the O’Higgins Commission, I don’t ever remember those matters being discussed again in any detail anywhere.”

Ms Leader suggested this was “unrealistic” given the level of knowledge of the Ms D allegation in political and media circles – as told to the tribunal.

But Ms O’Sullivan repeated:

“And from my knowledge, I was aware of the matters in 2008 from the file that we have read and the synopsis I was provided with and the update from Chief Superintendent McGinn and again, I was not aware of those matters until such time as the O’Higgins Commission commenced.”

The tribunal also heard how, when Mr Callinan made his “disgusting” remark at the PAC on January 23, 2014, Ms O’Sullivan passed him a note.

Ms O’Sullivan said, in this note, she asked him to clarify the comment because the “sense in the room was palpable” as a consequence of the remark.

[This note hasn’t been found for the tribunal]

Ms O’Sullivan also said she told Mr Callinan, after the meeting, that he should clarify the remark.

In relation to the claims made by Fine Gael TD John Deasy, Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness and the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy – and what they claim Mr Callinan said to them on the day of his appearance before PAC – Ms O’Sullivan said she did not hear these comments being made.

Ms Leader put it to Ms O’Sullivan that it’s Mr Callinan’s evidence that both Mr McGuinness and Mr McCarthy who raised the Ms D matter with him – and not the other way around.

Ms Leader said, one way or the other, there is an agreement between Mr Callinan and the two men that the Ms D matter was discussed.

Ms Leader again put it to Ms O’Sullivan that it was a bit “unrealistic” to think she never heard any talk about the Ms allegation from 2008 (when she first learned about it) until the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

But Ms O’Sullivan said: “I have no memory and no recollection of hearing anything about the Ms. D allegation from the time I was in HRM [2008] up to the preparation of the O’Higgins hearings [2015].”

Asked if it’s possible she was purposefully excluded from any conversations about Ms D, Ms O’Sullivan said she didn’t know but, again, she didn’t hear anything between 2008 and 2015.

Ms O’Sullivan said she was involved in an informal meeting with Mr Callinan after the PAC meeting finished on January 23, 2014, and at this meeting it was discussed that they would send a letter to Mr McGuinness proposing that Mr Callinan would appoint a superintendent of Sgt McCabe’s choosing to look into Sgt McCabe’s issues – as something of a means to avoid Sgt McCabe from appearing before PAC.

The letter stated: “I would formally request that the Committee of Public Accounts would postpone its decision to invite Sergeant McCabe to attend before you.”

The idea of appointing a Supt of Sgt McCabe’s choosing was Ms O’Sullivan’s idea, the tribunal heard.

And she said it was her understanding that Sgt McCabe would be going before PAC “one way or the other” and that it was about whether he would appear in public or private.

Ms Leader pointed out that the latter point [private V public] wasn’t in the letter at all.

But the letter was never sent and, instead, Mr Callinan met Mr McGuinness in a carpark off the Naas Road the following day.

In relation to the meeting between Mr McGuinness and Mr Callinan on Friday, January 24, 2014 – a day after Mr Callinan’s appearance before the PAC – Ms O’Sullivan said she never knew about this meeting until Mr McGuinness mentioned it in the Dáil in May 2016.

[It was Mr Callinan’s evidence that he also never mentioned the meeting to Ms O’Sullivan]

Ms Leader put it to Ms O’Sullivan that she spoke to Mr Callinan on the phone numerous times on the day of the carpark meeting:

Mr Callinan called Ms O’Sullivan at 3.30pm and they spoke for 7 minutes 12 seconds.

Mr Callinan called Ms O’Sullivan at 5.30pm and they spoke for 6 minutes – at this time, Mr Callinan would have probably left the carpark meeting.

Ms O’Sullivan called Mr Callinan at 6.30pm for a short call, she called again after 6.30pm and they spoke for 9 minutes and then she called him again at 9.55pm for a very short time.

Ms Leader put it to Ms O’Sullivan: “So former Commissioner Callinan has said these were to discuss security issues, but I’m suggesting to you that — where did you think that letter, the draft letter of the 23rd had disappeared to, if it was never actioned on or anything of that nature?

Ms O’Sullivan replied saying “..events often overtake letters or draft letters or draft proposals that would be on the table. And as it transpired, the meeting went ahead with Sergeant McCabe and I don’t know where the letters went to. But it wouldn’t be unusual that events would overtake proposals…”

Ms Leader suggested that, given her level of involvement in the PAC hearings and what happened thereafter it wasn’t really a “satisfactory” answer.

Ms O’Sullivan said:

“I wasn’t in Dundalk that day and I wasn’t informed of the fact that, or consulted in relation to Commissioner Callinan meeting Deputy McGuinness and I wasn’t told about it afterwards either.”

Moving on to February and March of 2014 – when journalists were calling to the D house – Ms Leader put the evidence of Alison O’Reilly to Ms O’Sullivan [Ms O’Reilly claims Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, told her that Supt Taylor and Ms O’Sullivan confirmed the Ms D story to her].

Ms O’Sullivan, who said she does know Ms McCann’s father retired detective superintendent John McCann, was adamant that she did not give Ms McCann, or anyone else, any information about Ms D.

As for Paul Williams’ first article on Ms D in the Irish Independent – on April 12, 2014 – Ms O’Sullivan said she “vaguely” remembered reading it.

Asked if she knew they concerned Sgt McCabe – as he wasn’t named as the person being referred to – Ms O’Sullivan said: “Not necessarily at that time. But subsequently I would’ve become aware it was in relation to that issue, yes.”

She added: “I can’t remember the exact sequence, Chairman, but I would have been aware that that issue — shortly after that, it became evident that the person at the centre of that was going to meet with the leader of one of the parties..”

“…Also, I believe in or around that time I was aware, or subsequently became aware, that there had been a complaint made to GSOC.”

Following on from that, Ms O’Sullivan was asked if she could recall discussing the articles with anyone in An Garda Siochana and she said “no”.

She said: “…What I would do is, we would go through the press articles and I would read them and just distill them down for myself into what were the issues arising for us. There didn’t appear to me to be anything that needed to be done with that particular article because there wasn’t sufficient detail in relation to it.”

Paul Williams’ first article on Ms D, as mentioned above, was published on April 12, 2014.

The day before, April 11, 2014, was the day Ms O’Sullivan held her first management meeting as Garda Commissioner, following on from Mr Callinan’s stepping down in March 2014.

It was held in Waterford Garda Station and notes of the meeting recorded Ms O’Sullivan saying:

“Number of reports over next 12 months. None will be good. John Cooke report, Roma report. Agenda is racial profiling in the media. Seán Guerin’s report. Need to be ready for this. Manage bad news and build on good news”.

Sean Guerin’s report investigated complaints made by Sgt McCabe about policing in Baileboro.

Meanwhile, Ms Leader referred to texts between Ms O’Sullivan and Mr Williams – whose billing records show they weren’t in contact by phone from April 28, 2013 until February 21, 2014 – on the evening of April 12, 2014, the day of Mr Williams’ first article on Ms D was published.

The tribunal didn’t see the text and when asked if it was about his article, Ms O’Sullivan said “no”.

She said: “I can’t recall what the text was about, but I certainly didn’t text him about the article in the Independent.”

Ms O’Sullivan said it was most likely to be about personal security arrangements for Mr Williams.

Ms Leader then turned to another management meeting on May 9, 2014 in which Sgt McCabe and the then published Guerin report were being discussed – as well as the idea of “embracing whistleblowers”.

[May 2014 was also the month that Supt Taylor was moved out of the Garda Press Office]

And then five days after the May 9 management meeting, Ms O’Sullivan received the false rape allegation in her office – but she can’t recall reading it.

As part of the documentation on the referral, there was a letter from Chief Supt Jim Sheridan stating:

“The allegations have been the subject of a previous Garda investigation, that Ms. D has made a complaint based on the allegations set out in the attached referral form to Micheál Martin, that he has subsequently referred the matter to An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny, and the Ombudsman, and, in the circumstances, he is recommending that we await further communication from the parties listed above prior to commencing a review of the investigation.”

Ms Leader put the following to Ms O’Sullivan:

“…Did this not come, or why didn’t it, if it didn’t – you are, the week before, discussing reaching out to Sergeant McCabe, to managing the outcome of the Guerin investigation, you are looking ahead to a commission of investigation arising out of the Guerin investigation. Linked in with that is Superintendent Sheridan telling you that Ms. D had gone to Micheál Martin and who had referred the matter on to the Taoiseach, who has some control over the terms of a commission of investigation, and also a complaint to GSOC, so what was your reaction to receiving this at that particular time?

Ms O’Sullivan repeated that she couldn’t recall the matter being brought to her attention but accepts the evidence of her private secretary Supt Frank Walsh that he showed it to her and she did read it and, as a consequence, told him to write to Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny about it.

Judge Charleton stepped in and said to Ms O’Sullivan:

“In terms of — we are all familiar with, if you like, a ladder of sexual assaults, and when you are at the top of the ladder – I know it’s kind of wrong to classify these things, but there has to be some method of doing it – if you are at the top of the ladder, you — say you are on step 10.

The DPP decided vis-á-vis the D allegation that it wasn’t even at the ladder. Nothing happened that, if it happened at all, would have constituted even an assault or a sexual offence. But here, someone has taken off someone else’s clothing, there has been digital penetration and it is ascribed through the Commissioner of the Northern Region to Sergeant McCabe. Now, that moves us on to the ladder and it moves us up to maybe step 9 of the ladder in terms of sexual assault. That’s why this is important and that’s why Ms. Leader is asking you about your reaction to it.

Ms O’Sullivan said:

“As I said, I have no memory of seeing this document. I have read the superintendent’s evidence; I’m not in a position to dispute it, but I have no memory of seeing this document. And taking the Chairman’s point, it was something that I would have been very conscious of, if I had seen a document like this, I would have read it in its entirety and I would have been aware from my 2008 synopsis of events that there was a difference in the allegation that was made and then I would direct a different type of action.”

Ms Leader then read out correspondence from June and July 2014 between the Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny and Supt Frank Walsh – which Supt Walsh sent to Mr Kenny on behalf of Ms O’Sullivan about this false rape referral (which had been presented to her as a real allegation by Ms D – even though both Mr Kenny and Mr Sheridan knew this was not the case).

In a response to Supt Walsh, Mr Kenny said that it was decided that Supt Sheridan would contact the HSE about it and that Mr Kenny would contact the Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane.

Supt Walsh responded to Mr Kenny saying the content of his letter had been noted by Ms O’Sullivan.

Either way Mr Kenny, the tribunal heard, did not contact Mr Ruane and Mr Sheridan did not contact the HSE.

[It should also be said that, at this time, Mr Kenny was attending management meetings about the Guerin report and An Garda Síochána’s preparation for the then pending O’Higgins Commission of Investigation. Mr Kenny was actually the first liaison officer appointed to the commission]

In addition, Mr Williams had three other articles published over April and May of 2014 with the May 3, 2014 article headlined: “[Enda]Kenny to set up probe into Garda sex abuse claim.”

On August 7, 2014, along with Asst Commissioner Kieran Kenny, Ms O’Sullivan met with Sgt McCabe to discuss his workplace issues – and the false rape allegation was never divulged to him.

And all this time, it’s Ms O’Sullivan’s evidence that she didn’t discuss the Ms D allegation with anyone.

Ms Leader then had this exchange with Ms O’Sullivan:

Leader: So did you make a decision just to park the Tusla notification?

O’Sullivan: No, Chairman. Absolutely not.

Leader: Well, another, maybe, reasoning for the matter being left as it was is, maybe you decided that too much attention had been given to the D allegation in or around the time of the Public Accounts Committee and you were happy just to leave it there, to give it no attention at all?

O’Sullivan: No, Chairman, that is not the case. My entire focus was on making sure that there were supports in place for Sergeant McCabe and that Sergeant McCabe, and not just Sergeant McCabe, and I think this is very important: in terms of what I was trying to change in the culture of An Garda Síochána was in terms of being able to make sure that people knew that they could be empowered to speak up and that they would be supported, and that, from the very top, that all of the assistant commissioners and the executive directors knew that that was the stance that we were going to take and that that would continue.”

Leader: All right. Well, maybe that supports the theory that perhaps you wanted the D matter to be left where it was in 2006 and 2007 and not deal with the matter again other than to leave it there?

O’Sullivan: No, Chairman, I am not sure how it supports that proposition.

Leader: Yes.

O’Sullivan: As far as I was concerned, from the knowledge I had in 2008, the D matter had been directed upon by the Director and — who said that there was no basis for a prosecution. So the matter did not arise again. As I say, in this correspondence, if I had seen it and read it in detail, I would have instructed or directed a different action, which was to contact the HSE and make sure that the matter was clarified immediately.

Leader: Well, I think the information you had was that there were consultations to happen with the HSE, that certainly would seem to be the case from the letter of the 28th July 2014?

O’Sullivan: Yes, but I wouldn’t have allowed it just to continue to be notified in the normal course, I would have directed that immediate contact be made and the matter be clarified immediately.

Leader: Yes. Well, I suppose another possibility is that you decided that the matter should be dealt with at the Commission of Investigation and you were leaving it until then to leave the Commission deal with all matters in relation to Sergeant McCabe and his motivation?

O’Sullivan: No, Chairman, that is not the case. My understanding of the Commission of Investigation was always as a result of the recommendations of the Guerin Report and the matters that would be dealt with by the Commission of Investigation would relate to the complaints that Sergeant McCabe made in relation to practices in Bailieboro.

Leader: So the matter was just left, in any event, in your office, in July 2014?

O’Sullivan: Yes, Chairman, the file only came to my attention when we were seeking to reply to a request from the Department in February 2017.

Leader: Yes. And that was as a result of Sergeant McCabe’s questions that he had put to the Minister, is that correct?

O’Sullivan: Yes, Chairman, that is correct.

Ms Leader, raising the point that Mr Kenny was the initial liaison officer for her at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, put it to Ms O’Sullivan:

So we again have the same personalities involved in the O’Higgins Commission involved in the management meetings dealing with the aftermath of the Guerin investigation, and the same person who was liaising with you and your office with regard to the Tusla notification and indeed meeting Sergeant McCabe in August 2014?

Ms Leader said it’s “really inconceivable that the two of you [Ms O’Sullivan and Mr Kenny] wouldn’t have had a conversation around the Tusla notification”.

But Ms O’Sullivan said: “Assistant Commissioner Kenny never mentioned it to me, Chairman, and it wasn’t discussed between us at all.”

Leader pressed on: “You see, it would suggest that people are dealing with things on different spheres, that for some reason the Tusla notification was totally taken out of everything got to do with Sergeant McCabe, Guerin and O’Higgins, and what I’m suggesting to you is, that cannot be credible?”

Ms O’Sullivan said when she located the Tusla file in 2017, it was “allocated a different file number so it wasn’t attaching to any file relating to Sergeant McCabe and it was a completely different file heading”.

It was at this point that Ms Leader put it to Ms O’Sullivan that a theme was emerging in her evidence.

Ms Leader said: “…From January of 2014 your evidence to the Tribunal has also been that you never heard mention of the D allegation, whether it be in the pre-PAC meetings or anything former Commissioner Callinan may or may not have said to you, do you understand what I’m saying? It seems to be just wiped from everything, bar the mention of it in 2008?

Ms O’Sullivan repeated the Ms D allegation was never discussed in her presence between 2008 and 2015.

The Tusla Files:

Mr Keena, in his Irish Times article, referred to the false Tusla referral and Katie Hannon’s reporting of the same on Prime Time the night after Mr Howlin made his comments in the Dáil.

Mr Keena reported:

The Oireachtas eventually charged the tribunal it established to examine whether the false Tusla file had been used by senior Garda officers to discredit McCabe.

As a result, it appears, of separate claims made by another Garda whistleblower, Keith Harrison, the tribunal was also charged with examining whether there was a “pattern” of false Tusla reports being created and their being used by senior gardaí to target whistleblowers.

No evidence to support either of these enormously serious suggestions has been produced at the tribunal, though there are continuing concerns expressed by McCabe about how the Garda dealt with the false reports it received in relation to him following the “clerical error” made by the counsellor and the creation of the false file. The tribunal may express a view on this matter in its final report.

Mr Justice Charleton has already dismissed Harrison’s claims against Tusla as being “without any validity”.

The issue of a pattern of Tusla files being used against Garda whistleblowers was not explored during the tribunal’s sittings and no one has argued at the tribunal that there is any evidence to support such a scenario.

It should be noted that Mr Keena didn’t mention – and it hasn’t been widely reported – that when Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace gave evidence to the tribunal, it was put to him by Conor Dignam SC, for An Garda Siochana, that he “championed the cause” of Mr Harrison.

Mr Wallace replied:

“We highlighted the fact that Garda Harrison was, when he also — when he got into difficulties with An Garda Síochána, the manner in which he was treated by them left a lot to be desired. And if you — if you check, you’ll find that at no stage did we say one word about how Tusla had handled him.

“And he came in here in the wrong module and paid a price for it, because Tusla were found, if they had behaved any different they would have been negligent and they were right to behave as they did. But it wasn’t our doing.

“And on the night that the terms of reference for this Tribunal were being set up, we actually went to the Minister for Justice for that night, Frances Fitzgerald, and we told her that it was a mistake to put Harrison in that module.

“Now, but did we — did we raise issues about his treatment in An Garda Síochána? Yes, we certainly did. And we would still insist that he was poorly treated by An Garda Síochána after he falling foul of them.”

Finally, Mr Keena’s summing up of the Disclosures Tribunal allowed for one final omission.

The fact that, over a February 2017 article, Sgt McCabe is suing The Irish Times for defamation.

Tomorrow: Maurice McCabe And The Sunday Times

Yesterday: Maurice McCabe And The Irish Times: Part 1

Tuesday: Maurice McCabe And RTÉ

Charleton evidence raises questions about damaging claims made (Colm Keena, The Irish Times)

Previously: How Did He Get Here?

Garda Nicky Keogh

This afternoon.

The Disclosures Tribunal has posted an update to say it is now considering term of reference P which is:

To consider any other complaints by a member of the Garda Síochána who has made a protected disclosure prior to 16th February, 2017 alleging wrong-doing within the Garda Síochána where, following the making of the Protected Disclosure, the Garda making the said Protected Disclosure was targeted or discredited with the knowledge or acquiescence of senior members of the Garda Síochána.

It’s understood this includes the complaints made by Garda Nicky Keogh.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton will not be overseeing this final term of reference.

The updates states:

Report on matters relating to Garda Keith Harrison pursuant to term of reference (n) and (o) issued in November 2017.

The tribunal has now completed all its evidence in respect of terms of reference (a) to (o).

The chairman is considering all submissions received on terms of reference (a) to (o), excluding matters already reported on, and the tribunal hopes to issue a final report in October 2018.

Papers are being gathered on a preliminary basis as to term of reference (p).

Hearing this matter is outside the responsibility of the current chairman and a further announcement may be made.

Disclosures Tribunal

Related: Ex-drug squad whistleblower seeks damages (John Mooney, The Sunday Times)