Members of senior Garda management are fielding questions in the Oireachtas justice and equality committee in light of the Crowe Horwath report for the Policing Authority on the fake breath tests and issuing of summonses.
Readers will recall how, on Sunday, November 27, 2017, Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace, while speaking about the gardai, told TV3’s The Sunday Show:
“Myself and Clare Daly have some new stuff to break very soon that would make the hair stand on your head about stuff that’s happening at present.”
Further to this…
At the justice committee this morning, Mick Wallace said:
“Only this week, we met a member of An Garda Siochana, he’s just put in a protected disclosure and he’s out sick for a while due to stress from work.
“And he’s given us incredibly detailed information about things that have been happening, right up unit recently.
“To be honest, we found it hard to believe that such things that he told us about could still be happening. And the way that, when he raised concerns about several issues, how they were dealt with by senior management.
“It was really disheartening for us because you know what, people might think that ‘oh, Daly and Wallace just want to be giving out about things’. But you know what, we won’t be vindicated until we have a police force that everyone will be proud of.
“And we’ve been tackling issues for over five years and if nothing has changed, well, that means, we’re wasting our time and we’ve failed. We want things to be done right.
“But it was really disappointing to look at the information he gave us around this, he’s put in a protected disclosure, we haven’t put it into the public domain yet.
“But, I suppose his basis to it was, not much has changed yet.”
“Now, I still believe, I’m an optimist by nature and I think things will change but sadly not enough has changed. And poor Maurice McCabe…is lucky to still be alive, that he didn’t do away with himself when the pressure was so great at times.
“But it would be very sad for him if nothing changes and very disappointing for him because nobody wanted change in the gardai, and having done his work, than of the people that came forward anyway, than Maurice McCabe.”
Today’s Irish Daily Mail; Jobstown protest in 2014; Ken Purcell arriving at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin last month
Further to a jury last Thursday returning a unanimous ‘not guilty’ verdict to the Jobstown protesters – who had been charged with the false imprisonment of former Tánaiste Joan Burton and her adviser Karen O’Connell…
It’s being reported that on Friday, two superintendents who recommended to the DPP that the protesters be charged with false imprisonment – an offence which carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment – were promoted.
The two superintendents who recommended that the recently acquitted Jobstown protesters be charged with false imprisonment have been promoted to the rank of chief superintendent.
Superintendents Brian Sutton and Peter Duff, both based in Dublin Metropolitan Region South, led the investigation into the so-called Jobstown Seven.
…On Friday, 15 superintendents were informed that they have been promoted to the rank of chief superintendent following an interview selection process. Their appointments were made by the independent Policing Authority.
Further to this.
Readers will recall how the false imprisonment charges against one of the Jobstown protesters, Ken Purcell, were dropped on June 12 after Judge Melanie Greally ruled that an extension to Mr Purcell’s detention was unlawful.
Mr Purcell had been arrested at his home in Tallaght at 7.28am on February 13, 2015, by Garda Darren Rooney.
Mr Purcell’s initial detention was authorised by Sergeant Carlin Cullen – based on information Garda Rooney gave Sgt Cullen which he had obtained from viewing video footage, and information which Judge Melanie Greally later found to be “inaccurate and exaggerated”.
On February 13, 2015, Mr Purcell’s detention was extended by Supt Peter Duff, at 1.11pm, also based on information given to him by Garda Rooney. This extension was found to be unlawful.
Judge Greally ruled:
The information imparted by Garda Rooney was based on his viewing of video footage and for the purposes of this application can be divided into three limbs. The first limb is the description of the accused at two stages where he is said to have struggled with gardaí.
The second is an account of the accused behaving aggressively in front of the jeep when it was attempting to leave the grounds of Saint Thomas’s Church and the third is what is accepted to be accurate information concerning his participation in a sit down in front of the jeep on Fortunestown Road.
In Garda Rooney’s description of Kenneth Purcell’s conduct around the Avensis he stated he was start of the crowd and could be seen struggling with gardaí. Similarly, during the transfer from the Avensis to the garda jeep he was said to have struggled with gardaí.
A viewing of the footage by this Court showed no identifiable physical engagement between the accused and any member of An Garda Síochána, either at the Avensis or during the transfer.
A more accurate appraisal of his actions during the transfer from the Avensis to the jeep is that he can be seen in the footage moving from a somewhat peripheral position towards the advancing group of gardaí and protesters and he is subsequently visible in the thick of it.
Therefore the information imparted to Sergeant Cullen in this regard was inaccurate and exaggerated.
It’s being reported that a report by the Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon (above) on Ireland’s child protection system – looking at 5,400 cases, from 2008 to 2015, where gardaí removed children from their parents under Section 12 of the Child Care Act – is to be published.
Section 12 of the act allows gardai to remove a child if they believe there is a serious risk to the child’s health or welfare.
It’s being reported that both Tusla and the gardaí are criticised in the report.
Further to this.
Aoife Hegarty, of RTÉ Investigates, spoke to Audrey Carville on Morning Ireland earlier, ahead of her own report on the matter this evening.
Ms Hegarty said, in addition to a report on Mr Shannon’s examination, she’ll be looking at “disturbing revelations” concerning a boy in the south east of Ireland.
Ms Hegarty said:
“We’ve been following a number of child protection cases. They include a case that’s currently before the courts in which our child protection services again come under the spotlight. In terms of the actions that the Child Family Agency Tusla has, or indeed hasn’t, taken in terms of vulnerable children.
“We also examine another case which we came across again a child was left in a foster placement, despite allegations of sexual abuse and we’ll show various documentation from that case which we’ve seen and lastly, we’ll feature new revelations on the quality of care provided by child protection services in the south east.
“I suppose by now we’re all well familiar with the very sad story of Grace, that young woman with profound intellectual disabilities who was left in a foster home in the south east for 20 years, despite serious allegations, a woman who was recently awarded over €6million in the High Court.
“But tonight, we reveal yet more disturbing revelations from the Waterford area. This time in relation to the care provided to a young boy. In all, the programme raises very serious questions for our child protection authorities and whether, in all cases, they’re functioning adequately.“
RTÉ Investigates is on RTÉ One at 10.35pm this evening.
From top: Maurice McCabe; Katie Hannon and David McCullagh on Prime Time last night
On RTÉ’s Prime Time.
Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon gave a further update on the allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe which are now being investigated by the Disclosures Tribunal, headed by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, of the Supreme Court.
Readers will recall how, in her original Prime Time report on the matter, on February 9, 2017, Ms Hannon explained the sequence of events that led to Sgt McCabe becoming the subject of a false allegation of child abuse in a Tusla file, due to a “clerical error”.
In her February 9 report, Ms Hannon reported that an email from May 2014 indicated the counsellor – after realising she made the serious error in a referral letter about Sgt McCabe to Tusla –
“believed that the local superintendent, the superintendent in the relevant district, had been asked to meet the Garda Commissioner in relation to this case. And there was some anxiety that this superintendent hadn’t been brought up to date about the error in the file and it had to be sent to him immediately”
The Garda press office told Prime Time that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan had no meeting with the superintendent in question in May, 2014 and did not request such a meeting.
Further to this, and having seen this email, Francesca Comyn, of TheSunday Business Postreported, on February 12, that the email from the counsellor to Tusla stated:
“I had another call in relation to the retrospective report which as you are aware contains a clerical error. I was informed that the superintendent in the jurisdiction referred to in the report was not yet aware of the clerical error and has been asked to meet with the Garda Commissioner in relation to the case.”
Further to this…
From last night’s (2 mins and 25 second) report from Katie Hannon on Prime Time…
David McCullagh: “The Disclosures Tribunal into allegations there was a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe is under way but it will be some time before public hearings commence. Before that, our political correspondent Katie Hannon joins us to clear up one key issue in relation to the revelation of a Tusla file containing false allegations of a serious sexual assault. Katie, what’s tonight’s story all about?”
Katie Hannon: “There’s two terms of reference, within the 16 terms of reference that Peter Charleton is going to be looking at, at this tribunal. One is to inquire whether this Tusla file was knowingly used by senior members of An Garda Siochana to discredit Sgt McCabe and another of the terms asks what the former and current Garda Commissioners [Martin Callinan and Noirin O’Sullivan] knew about these matters.”
“So, go back to that Tusla file. Questions have already been raised. I discussed it in this studio about an email that was in that file released to the McCabes which seemed to indicate that the Garda Commissioner had asked for a meeting way back in May 2014 – in relation to what was in that file. Now, we put this to the Garda Commissioner at the time and she told us she had not requested that meeting, that meeting did not happen.”
McCullagh: “So, do we know what that email actually referred to?”
Hannon: “So, we now can say what that meeting, what that email referred to. I’ve now learned that the “commissioner” referred to in that email was actually the assistant commissioner for the northern region at the time, the former commissioner Kieran Kenny. According to an informed source, assistant commissioner Kenny met with the superintendent, the relevant superintendent that month, in May 2014 and, crucially, he sent a full report of this meeting to Garda Headquarters.
So, basically, the upshot of this is that we now know that, two and a half years ago, Garda Headquarters were made aware that there was this allegation of child rape recorded by Tusla against Sgt Maurice McCabe and also that it had been subsequently withdrawn and described as a clerical error.”
And the questions that will be raised, presumably at the tribunal will be: what did they do on foot of that? We know, for a fact, that they did not contact Maurice McCabe. In fact, I understand that Sgt McCabe has yet to have any contact from Garda Headquarters even since this whole story broke a short time ago. We asked the Garda Press Office about this, they said they were precluded from commenting because the tribunal is now up and running. We asked the Justice Minister [Frances Fitzgerald] if she’d been briefed about it and, again, she declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate because the tribunal has now commenced.”
In addition to reports of contact being made between the gardai and the counsellor after the discovery of the error, in May 2014, it has also been reported that there was at least an attempt by a Tusla social worker to contact a garda just after the false allegation/error was initially communicated by the counsellor to Tusla in August 2013.
Following an allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006, a file was sent to the DPP – with the recommendation that there was no grounds for a prosecution – and that the DPP directed that no prosecution should be taken, with the observation that it was doubtful the allegations should constitute a crime at all.
In her original report on the matter, on February 9, Ms Hannon reported that, within days of the counsellor notifying Tusla of the false allegation – presumably without realising her referral contained a mistake/false allegation – a Tusla social worker contacted the garda who investigated the original 2006 complaint made against Sgt McCabe, to request a meeting.
However, it’s not known if that meeting took place.
“I witnessed a scene straight from Hot Fuzz this morning. Five Gardaí going door-to-door in Dartmouth Square, Dublin 6 investigating the cutting down of a protected tree in the park in recent weeks. They did seem highly embarrassed to be fair. It’s lucky we’re so blessed with an abundance of police resources!”