From top: Fromer Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, John Wilson; Maurice McCabe
The Disclosures Tribunal will resume at 9.30am with Fianna Fáil TD and former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) John McGuinness will continue to give evidence.
Olga Cronin will be live tweeting for the sheet here.
After Mr McGuinness, Garda Paul Hynes – who was former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s driver – will give evidence.
Scheduled to follow Garda Hynes are the Comptroller & Auditor General Seamus McCarthy and Fine Gael TD John Deasy.
As he gave evidence yesterday, Mr McGuinness recalled events running up to and including January 2014 when, he claimed, there were rumours swirling around Leinster House about Sgt Maurice McCabe.
At this time, Sgt McCabe was attempting to unveil the quashing of penalty points – among other matters – and was scheduled to appear in a private sitting of the PAC on January 30, 2014.
Separately, the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was not pleased that Sgt McCabe had given documentation to the PAC and was scheduled to go before it.
Mr McGuinness, a Carlow/Kilkenny TD, claimed that on two occasions in January 2014, he witnessed Mr Callinan referring to Sgt McCabe as someone who abused children.
Mr McGuinness claims after a meeting of the PAC on January 23, 2014 – during which Mr Callinan made his infamous “disgusting” remark – that Mr Callinan referred to Sgt McCabe as someone who “fiddles with kids” while referring to both Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson as “fucking headbangers”.
In an article about this PAC meeting by Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord, in February 2017, Ms Lord recalled being among the gardai and politicians who milled around after the meeting finished. She wrote:
“I remarked to somebody that I wasn’t at all impressed by his [Callinan’s] attitude and evidence.
“I got back a tirade in the most colourful of language about Maurice McCabe and what an awful person he was and if I only knew the half of it I wouldn’t be so quick to criticise the commissioner.
“The “half of it” included insinuations about inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. This didn’t come as news – the rumours were already floating around.“
Mr McGuinness also claims that, a day later, on January 24, 2014 – when they met in the car park of a hotel on the Naas Road – Mr Callinan told him “[Sgt McCabe] had sexually abused his family and an individual, that he was not to be trusted…”
Mr Callinan is denying he said what Mr McGuinness alleges on both January 23 or January 24, 2014.
The tribunal also heard yesterday that Mr McGuinness told his party leader Micheál Martin of the car park meeting not long after it occurred. Mr Martin has told the tribunal that in February 2014:
“…he [McGuinness] mentioned that a short while previously he had met the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a hotel car park and I recall him mentioning that the Commissioner had told him that Sergeant McCabe was not to be trusted and that he was a child abuser. He gave no further details.”
This notification to Mr Martin was two months before Mr Martin met Ms D with the assistance of Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams.
This week and next, the witnesses are expected to be mainly asked about matters in relation to 2012, 2013 and 2014 and the penalty points controversy over those years.
Media reports – and contacts pertaining to these reports – are also likely to be examined, given Supt Dave Taylor has told the tribunal he was instructed to negatively brief journalists about Sgt McCabe by Mr Callinan with the knowledge of the then deputy commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
As it stands, both Sgt McCabe and Mr McGuinness have told the tribunal that Supt Taylor told them that this smear campaign was circulated to journalists, some senior gardai and certain politicians via text messages.
But Supt Taylor denies telling them he communicated negatively about Sgt McCabe via text and, instead, it was though word of mouth.
As the next week’s witnesses will be discussing matters pertaining to the period in which Sgt McCabe and former Garda Wilson were trying highlight the quashing of penalty points and the media…
The following is a timeline of these matters in 2012, 2013 and 2014…
[Below that are comments that Sgt McCabe has made about certain media reports in relation to him during those years and some actions that he’s taken…]
January 2012: Sgt Maurice McCabe went to the Garda Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly, with a dossier of 12 complaints alleging Garda malpractice and incompetence regarding serious cases of criminality.
The dossier included allegations of malpractice and incompetence in relation to the case of Mary Lynch – a taxi driver who was assaulted by Jerry McGrath who went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly. Mr Connolly handed over details of these complaints to the then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, who then handed the dossier over to the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
GSOC investigated a section of the Sylvia Roche Kelly case and it recommended that disciplinary action be taken against two officers. But Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan declined to discipline the two officers.
February 2012: It’s understood Mr Connolly spoke to Mr Shatter and told him about the whistleblowers and that Mr Connolly met with Mr Shatter again before Easter and discussed the allegations.
February 9, 2012: Mr Connolly met Sgt McCabe, who taped their conversation. They discussed Sgt McCabe’s complaints. Mr Connolly tells Sgt McCabe that no further action will be taken on his complaints. Mr Connolly also warns Sgt McCabe: ‘I’ll tell you something Maurice – and this is just personal advice to you – if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.’ Mr Connolly advised Sgt McCabe to avoid going to the media and to go through the courts system. Mr Connolly assures Sgt McCabe that Minister Shatter looked into Sgt McCabe’s complaints in detail.
March 2012: Garda John Wilson and Sgt Maurice McCabe make a complaint to Mr Connolly about the quashing of penalty points. Mr Connolly gave this complaint to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
May 2012: Sgt McCabe sends Mr Connolly more information, alleging the quashing of penalty points.
July 2012: Sgt McCabe gives Taoiseach Enda Kenny information of alleged misconduct concerning penalty points and offered to meet Mr Shatter, with his legal team, including former Attorney General and former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, and to provide him with files and information. Mr Kenny replies to Sgt McCabe and says Mr Shatter would deal with his request.
August 2012: Sgt McCabe writes to Mr Kenny again, in relation to the penalty points.
September 2012: Sgt McCabe writes to Mr Kenny again.
December 4, 2012: After receiving no response from the Garda Commissioner, the two garda whistleblowers approach then United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly to voice their concerns to her.
United Left Alliance TDs Clare Daly and Joan Collins use parliamentary privilege in the Dáil to name Judge Mary Devins as someone who had their penalty points quashed.
December 7, 2012: Commissioner Callinan issues a press statement in relation to the penalty points, saying he has appointed Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney to look into the allegations before adding: “There is no question of what has been described as a culture of non-enforcement of penalties being tolerated by An Garda Síochána.”
December 11, 2012: Under privilege in the Dáil, United Left Alliance TD, Joan Collins names several high-profile people who had penalty points quashed including rugby player Ronan O’Gara, Irish Independent crime reporter Paul Williams and Judge Mary Devins, again.
December 14, 2012: Sgt McCabe is visited by Chief Supt Mark Curran.
Reading out a document, Chief Supt Curran told Sgt McCabe:
“Correspondence from commissioner.
“Direction to desist searching Pulse and dissemination to a third party, of sensitive personal data regarding cancellation of fixed charged notices.
“The commissioner understands that you have been searching and printing out from pulse documents that contain sensitive personal data regarding the cancellation of the fixed charge notices.
“The commissioner further understands that it is your intention to provide a third party with that documentation. It is noted that sensitive personal data in relation to fixed charge cancellation have already appeared in the public domain.
“The commissioner has sought the advice of the Attorney General and has consulted with the Data Protection Commissioner in respect of this matter.
“You are aware that there is power as set out in the Garda policy procedure and guidelines for canceling these fixed charge notices in certain instances in such circumstances.
“Having consulted with the above mentioned authority, the commissioner is satisfied that you’re continued access Pulse data and disclosure of such it and personal data to a third party is likely to be in breach of the Data Protection Act and other legislation, as well as being prejudicial to the current investigation being undertaken by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony.
“OK, so that is the instructions to you in his direction.
“The direction is as follows: The commissioner is now directing you to desist from the practice of accessing Pulse and or disclosing to third parties sensitive personal data regarding the cancellation of fixed charge notices by members of An Garda Siochána. If you have any further concerns and without prejudice of your rights under the Confidential Reporting Mechanism, such matters can be brought to the attention of Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony, Crime and Security, who will fully investigate those matters.”
Sgt McCabe and Chief Supt Curran then had the following exchange:
McCabe: But I didn’t do any of that?
Curran: Well, I’m only telling you that that is the directions from the commissioner.
McCabe: And what happens under the Garda Siochána Act, where you are allowed hand over stuff, under Section 62 and the whistleblower charter, what about that?
Curran: I think you need to raise that with Assistant Commissioner Mahony, honestly that might be the way you pursue it.
McCabe: That’s a serious accusation.
Curran: The directions on it, and just to make sure we are both clear, I’ll read it out to you again.
McCabe: No, I am very clear. He is accusing me of handing stuff over, [Curran then reads out the first paragraph in the report again] So he is saying I did that.
Curran: The commissioner has facts on which he is basing these comments on. So I’ll read it out one more time so you understand. [He reads it all out again].
McCabe: He is basically saying that I gave the information to somebody else, so the whistleblower charter is gone, finished, cause he is saying there. If the Data Protection Commissioner asks me for stuff what do I do, do I say no to him? He has asked for stuff.
Curran: No, no, don’t. If you want authority to do anything or if you have an issue there in relation to those matters, you can talk to Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony. Or you can send your concerns here in relation to that.
McCabe: So I can’t go near the whistleblower charter anymore? Obviously!
Curran: You cannot.
McCabe: I can. [Curran reads out the report again]. He’s after accusing me of stuff there that I didn’t do and that is shocking. The only person I forwarded stuff to was An Taoiseach, so I’ll have to take it up with him. Cause he must be the third party? Shocking stuff.
Curran: I know but that’s his legal advice.
McCabe: But even the Data Protection Commissioner, he asked me for stuff, so what do I say to him, no?
Curran: Well that’s the instruction and you’ll be in breach of discipline and any other possible acts if you ignore it.
McCabe: So am I allowed email Enda Kenny about that.
Curran: I can give you an answer, my own personal answer but I think you should address it with John O’Mahony. The direction is down here that he will deal with your concerns.
McCabe: Shocking stuff. So basically, I can do nothing.
Curran: What you need to do is do what you’re meant to do, your day-to- day duty.
McCabe: Oh, and not report anything which is wrong which…
Curran: This is a direction from the commissioner, you are searching Pulse for a particular reason.
McCabe: I got a complaint in relation to that from a garda, I carried out my duty.
Curran: Did you report that?
McCabe: I carried out my duty.
Curran: Did you report it here?
McCabe: I carried out my duty, I carried out my duties in relation to that.
Curran: Did you report it thought the channels?
McCabe: I carried out all my duties in relation to it.
McCabe: I used the whistleblowing charter. Let’s not argue, as regards the last paragraph, you’ll have no issue with me here anymore.
Curran: That’s all I want to know.
McCabe: You won’t chief, you won’t, no. But it’s just amazing. I did not think it was that, I thought it was something.
Curran: No, you should follow that, it is a direction.
McCabe: Yes, it is, and I will follow that, I won’t disobey any direction and you can make note of that, Paddy, I won’t disobey any directions in relation to that. You have my full compliance. But, I’m just amazed…
McCabe: Do I get a copy of that?
McCabe: OK, well it won’t happen anyway. I give you my word on that. It’s not your problem anyway, you were sent to read it out to me.
January 29, 2013: Just after midnight, Clare Daly is arrested on suspicion of drink driving. She’s brought in a patrol car to the Kilmainham Garda Station where she is placed in a cell on her own at one point.
She provides a urine sample and when she’s released a female Garda tells her to ‘come back when you are sober’. She is released at around 1.30am.
Ms Daly is handcuffed during her arrest. Details of her arrest are leaked to the press. She says she had taken a hot whiskey for a cold during a meeting at a house prior to her arrest.
At around 4pm, Ms Daly is contacted by RTE and becomes aware for the first time that members of the media knew of her arrest.
February 8, 2013: Clare Daly receives the official result of the urine sample. It was 45 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine – 33% below the allowable limit. Ms Daly tells RTÉ that she made a complaint to GSOC about the leaking of the arrest to sections of the media and that the body was investigating this.
April 19, 2013: Irish Independent publishes journalist Gemma O’Doherty’s story that penalty points attributed to the car of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan were quashed.
More than a week previous – after Ms O’Doherty had called to the home of Mr Callinan to confirm that she had the right address for the quashed fixed charge notice – she was given a dressing-down by her bosses at Independent News and Media and told her behaviour was that of a ‘rogue reporter’.
Some weeks later, she loses her position as Travel Editor and then, another few weeks later, she’s informed that she’s being made redundant.
She’s told if she doesn’t take it voluntarily, she will receive notice of compulsory redundancy. She doesn’t accept it voluntarily and therefore immediately receives compulsory redundancy. Ms O’Doherty goes on to sue INM and Mr Rae.
An Employment Appeals Tribunal would later hear INM apologised to Mr Callinan after INM learned Ms O’Doherty had called to the home of Mr Callinan.
April 21, 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Enda Kenny to relay his concerns over not being interviewed for the internal Garda inquiry by Asst Commissioner O’Mahoney into the quashing of penalty points, saying he had “serious concerns regarding not being contacted or interviewed regarding my allegations. It would appear that the (O’Mahoney) investigation is complete and if this is the case it’s a shocking development. One would imagine that I would be one of the first to be interviewed”.
May 15, 2013: Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s report into the quashing of penalty points concludes there was no widespread quashing of penalty points.
May 27, 2013: Sgt McCabe emails Enda Kenny about the penalty points controversy, in which he refers to what Mr Connolly warned him, writing: “Mr Shatter is in the public spotlight at the moment, and unlike him, I do not intend to play the man and not the ball. It is suffice to say that my figures are correct, my allegations are correct, and despite receiving information that Mr Shatter would ‘go after me’ if I brought the matter further, I am standing firm.”
August 2013: A woman referred to as Ms D – who made an allegation in 2006, when she was aged around 14, against Sgt McCabe which was found to have no foundation by the DPP – speaks to a HSE counsellor about the matter.
The 2006 complaint referred to an allegation of ‘dry humping’ which she told gardai happened in 1998, when she was around six, during a game of hide and seek.
When the complaint was made, in December 2006, it was 11 months after Ms D’s father, a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe, was disciplined for arriving at the scene of a suicide drunk and whom Sgt McCabe told to leave the scene.
After Ms D speaks to the counsellor in August 2013, the matter is erroneously sent to Tusla – erroneous because the matter had already been investigated by the gardai and was found to have no foundation – but it is conflated with a rape allegation wholly unrelated to both Ms D and Sgt McCabe and it sits in the Tusla office until May 2014.
August 15, 2013: Tusla social work team leader Keara McGlone writes a “private and confidential” letter to Superintendent Noel Cunningham – who investigated the 2006 allegation against Sgt McCabe.
In the letter, Ms McGlone wrote:
“I note from the social work file that you conducted a criminal investigation into these allegations in 2007. However, it appears the alleged perpetrator was not met with by Health Service Executive at that time.”
“I would like to meet with you to discuss the case prior to making any contact with the alleged perpetrator.”
Supt Cunningham never replied to Ms McGlone’s letter.
September 16, 2013: Broadsheet reports that penalty points attributed to group editor of the Irish Independent, The Herald and The Sunday Independent, Stephen Rae – incurred on November 5, 2009 – were quashed.
September 20, 2013: A Justice Department senior official writes to Sgt McCabe telling him he should give any material he had to a member of the Oireachtas, or an Oireachtas Committee or to another legally-allowed recipient.
October 1, 2013: The Comptroller and Auditor General issues a report which finds one in five motorists avoided penalty points because their cases were not pursued. For 2011 and 2012 – the C&AG found approximately 2,900 cases were terminated for around 700 vehicles, with three or more cases terminated each. [Sgt McCabe gave the C&AG information to help them with their report into the quashing of penalty points].
October 2, 2013: In light of the C&AG report, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter refers to the two whistleblowers when he accuses them of not cooperating with the garda investigation that had taken place, saying: ‘In so far as individuals who raised issues, are alleging that the Garda reports published are untrue, let them bring forward the chapter and verse and proof of that. I’m open to being convinced, but they haven’t done so. Indeed, having engaged with members of this House, and published material, they didn’t cooperate with the Garda investigations that took place. Now I don’t know why that is.’
Late October [day unknown], 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Minister Shatter asking him to explain who told him that Sgt McCabe was “offered the opportunity… to submit any evidence or other relevant information…. but did not do so”, before adding that he was “never afforded a right of reply or a right of response” after he complained about alleged quashing of points by certain gardaí. Sgt McCabe asks the Justice Department to supply him with any documents that suppoted the claim that he had not co-operated.
November 15, 2013: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan writes to PAC chairman John McGuinness and requests that documentation given to the PAC by Sgt McCabe be returned to him as Sgt McCabe was not authorised to send it to PAC.
Mr McGuinness subsequently replies to Mr Callinan to say the PAC had received legal advice and that the documentation was “lawfully” before the PAC. Mr McGuinness also tells Mr Callinan that the PAC had arranged for personal information on the documentation to be redacted.
December 3, 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Minister Shatter again to say he’s “very concerned that someone has told Minister Shatter information about me of a very serious nature and I am being refused the right to know the identity of the person or persons who advised him. I want to know now who advised Minister Shatter of this and when. If you refuse to give me this information I would like to know the reason why you are refusing me? I have the right to know who passed this information to Minister Shatter and when.”
December 4, 2013: A Justice Department senior official emails Sgt McCabe saying Sgt McCabe was offered the chance to provide more evidence to the head of the internal penalty points inquiry, Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony, saying “our understanding on this comes from the Garda Commissioner”.
December 24, 2013 [Christmas Eve]: Commissioner Callinan writes to the PAC chairman John McGuinness again, repeating his request for the documentation. In this second letter, Mr Callinan tells Mr McGuinness that in his pending appearance at PAC – to discuss the C&AG report into the quashing of penalty points – he will not be able to “discuss individual cases”.
January 2014: According to evidence given to the Disclosures Tribunal by Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, rumours were circulating around Leinster House that Sgt Maurice McCabe was a paedophile.
He claims there was considerable pressure to prevent Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson from raising the issue of the penalty points in the Oireachtas and that “malicious rumours” about Sgt McCabe were spread to that effect.
January 17, 2014: PAC chairman John McGuinness writes back to Mr Callinan and repeats that the documentation in relation to the penalty points controversy is “lawfully” with the PAC and, again, explains that the documentation is “devoid of any information from which any person can be identified”.
In addition, Mr McGuinness tells Mr Callinan that the PAC “shall not discuss any individual case of prosecutorial discretion whereby fixed charge notice may have been cancelled”.
Thursday, January, 23, 2014: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, accompanied by the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, appears before the Public Accounts Committee, during which Mr Callinan makes the infamous “disgusting”comment about Garda whistleblowers Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson.
He said it was “disgusting” that two members of a 13,000-strong Garda force would make “extraordinary allegations” while there’s not a “whisper” from other members of the Gardaí of “corruption or malpractice”.
Mr Callinan has told the Disclosures Tribunal that his comment was in reference to the manner in which Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson brought the matters into the public domain and not the men themselves.
Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, who carried out the internal Garda investigation into the penalty point allegations, attended the same meeting.
During their discussions, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald asked Mr O’Mahoney: “Am I right to state that at no stage in the course of Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney’s investigation did he speak to or interview the whistleblowers?” Mr O’Mahoney replied: “That is correct.”
The TD asked why and Mr O’Mahoney replied: “First and foremost the documentation provided to the Commissioner and subsequently to me was unsigned and unattributed. I proceeded with my examination on the basis I was dealing with anonymous allegations.”
He added: “I waited for their contact but it did not come.”
(Fine Gael TDs John Deasy and Eoghan Murphy are members of PAC at this time).
Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness claims, after the PAC meeting, as everyone milled around outside the committee room, he went to thank Mr Callinan for appearing when, in his words, the following happened:
“I approached the Garda Commissioner, he immediately went into a story, or telling me about an incident involving John Wilson, where there was a difficulty in Grafton Street I think it was, the police were called to that, John Wilson was one of the individual Gardaí that attended at that incident, and in the Commissioner’s words, he pulled the ‘knacker off the horse’, because it involved horses and individuals, he got on the horse himself, rode it back to the barracks and tied it to the railings of the barracks; ‘and the other fella fiddles with kids; they’re the kind of fucking headbangers I am dealing with’.”
Mr McGuinness has told the tribunal that the ‘fiddles with kids’ comment he alleges Mr Callinan made about Sgt McCabe was “disgusting”.
Supt Dave Taylor has told the tribunal he heard Mr Callinan make the ‘fiddles with kids’ comment but not the comment about Garda John Wilson.
Mr Callinan, in a statement to the tribunal, denies making either claim and says they are “simply incorrect and untrue”.
Mr Callinan also claims that after the PAC meeting he asked Mr McGuinness if Garda Wilson would give evidence to PAC and that Mr McGuinness responded: “You must be joking, sure he’s a fucking header.”
Mr McGuinness says this is not true.
Separately, the Comptroller & Auditor General Seamus McCarthy has told the Disclosures Tribunal that he met Mr Callinan at this PAC meeting and that…
“Commissioner Callinan referred to Sergeant McCabe by name and made statements to the effect that Sergeant McCabe was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer, and that there were allegations of sexual offences against him.”
Mr Callinan claims:
I did not at any point state that Sergeant McCabe was not to be trusted nor that he had questions to answer. I did not state that there were any allegations of sexual offences against him.
Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord wrote an article about this same PAC meeting in February 2017, in which she said the following:
“On that day, members of the Garda delegation mingled with journalists and observers as they left the PAC session.
“A lot of them knew each other. There was the usual small talk around the coat racks, but there were mutterings about the commissioner’s evidence.
“I remarked to somebody that I wasn’t at all impressed by his attitude and evidence.
“I got back a tirade in the most colourful of language about Maurice McCabe and what an awful person he was and if I only knew the half of it I wouldn’t be so quick to criticise the commissioner.
“The “half of it” included insinuations about inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. This didn’t come as news – the rumours were already floating around.”
“I looked around at the uniformed officers, the top layer of law enforcement in Ireland, and thought of the venomous denunciation of whistleblowers which had just happened at the committee.
“And I thought about those words in the concourse, and the vehemence of their delivery.
“It didn’t tally with descriptions of McCabe I’d heard from politicians and colleagues. Cussed, dogged individual he might be, but there was never a question about his character.
“The words left a bad taste. There was something not right. I didn’t believe them.
“Then, we weren’t to know that Tusla had received a complaint about McCabe in August of the previous year, claims which were passed onto the Garda. The man at the centre of them didn’t know either.”
Friday, January 24, 2014: It’s reported in the media that Commissioner Callinan has consulted the Attorney General’s office about preventing Sgt McCabe from going before PAC.
Friday, January 24, 2014: Fianna Fail TD and chair of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness meets the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a car park on the Naas Road. It follows phone calls made by Mr Callinan to Mr McGuinness.
Mr McGuinness has told the tribunal his recollection of this meeting is as follows:
“I arrived in the car park, as arranged, and I presumed that we were going to meet in the hotel, so when I saw the Commissioner approach, I was in the process of getting out of the car, but he in turn went around quickly to the passenger side of my car and sat in.
And then he immediately got into the conversation to do with the Maurice McCabe and the issues.
“I suggested to him at the beginning of this conversation, as I did the day before, that like any other employer that perhaps the best way out of this was for him to talk directly to Sergeant Maurice McCabe and to determine what exactly the issues were and resolve it that way, without it having to, you know, go into the public realm and him dealing — trying to deal with it that way.
“And it was at that stage that he said to me that no, it had gone beyond all of that and that there was issues to do with Maurice McCabe and his behaviour and he suggested that there was — he had sexually abused his family and an individual, that he was not to be trusted, that I had made a grave error in relation to the Public Accounts Committee and the hearings because of this and that I would find myself in serious trouble.”
“He gave me to believe that there was an investigation ongoing in relation to the allegations and that they were at an advanced stage and I immediately presumed from that that Sergeant Maurice McCabe would be charged with something or other.
“…I believe that he said that there was a file, I presumed that this was a file that was going to whatever prosecutor would be involved in the case.
Mr Callinan has denied Mr McGuinness’s version of events.
The tribunal has heard of a draft letter written by Mr Callinan for Mr McGuinness – but was never sent to Mr McGuinness – and that Mr Callinan claims he drafted it on either January 23 or January 24, 2014.
In it, Mr Callinan outlines a number of steps he suggested the committee take in respect of Sgt McCabe’s pending appearance before PAC (which eventually occurred on Thursday, January 30, 2014).
The tribunal has heard that it’s Mr Callinan’s case that the matters outlined in the draft letter are the matters they discussed in the car park.
Mr Callinan has further told the tribunal that it was Mr McGuinness who raised the DPP and Sgt McCabe. Mr Callinan has told the tribunal that:
“During the course of the meeting, Deputy McGuinness asked why was Sergeant McCabe raising these issues. He asked if it was because of the file that went to the DPP.”
“”It was clear that he was already aware prior to our meeting that Sergeant McCabe had been the subject of a criminal investigation. His query in this regard was not in response to, nor was it prompted by anything I had said.”
When asked if Sgt McCabe told Mr McGuinness of the DPP directions in respect of Ms D in 2007, Mr McGuinness told the tribunal he wasn’t aware of any criminal investigation until Mr Callinan raised it and that when he previously asked Sgt McCabe about the rumours which had been circulating, Mr McGuinness said the following happened:
“From my memory of it, we were dealing with the gossip and so on, but there was nothing ever specifically said about a prosecution, and the only time that that came into my consideration was when I had met Commissioner Callinan on the 24th.
“It took him [Sgt McCabe] some time to respond to me when I put it to him, because he was quite shocked and upset, and he told me that they were unfounded. That was enough for me.“
At the tribunal, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, put it to Mr McGuinness that he and Mr Callinan’s account of the car park meeting were completely at odds.
“The two can’t be reconciled with each other. He is saying that the meeting was about the fact that Sergeant McCabe was going to be giving evidence, his concern about data protection issues and that he discussed these issues with you and he put the proposals that are set out in the draft letter that I have opened to you, but that you were the one, in fact, who raised the issue in relation to Sergeant McCabe’s motivation in the first instance and that, in fact, it was you who introduced the allegation of a sexual assault as opposed to a number of sexual assaults.”
Mr McGuinness has told the tribunal that his account of events are “absolutely true”. He added:
“All of the issues that Commissioner Callinan raised in terms of data protection, and so on, were already dealt with, and he was absolutely aware of the position of the Public Accounts Committee because we had written to him in December. So those matters had already been dealt with…”
Sunday, January 26, 2014: Celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean is interviewed on RTE’s Marian Finucane show. Kean is on the panel with the then Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, former Assistant Garda Commissioner Martin Donnellan and former Sunday Tribune editor Noirin Hegarty.
During the panel discussion, Kean emphatically tells the panel that Sgt McCabe and former Garda Wilson did not cooperate with Asst Commissioner John O’Mahoney during his investigation of the claims about penalty points.
Both Mr Wilson and Sgt McCabe later sue over the comments.
January 28, 2014: Minister Shatter reveals that GSOC will hold a new penalty points inquiry.
January 30, 2014: Sgt Maurice McCabe gives nearly three hours of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee.
February 2014: Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has given a statement to the tribunal to say that in February 2014:
“[John McGuinness] mentioned that a short while previously he had met the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in a hotel car park and I recall him mentioning that the Commissioner had told him that Sergeant McCabe was not to be trusted and that he was a child abuser.”
February 12, 2014: Enda Kenny announces that he has asked the Department of Justice to furnish him with a report into the alleged comments about Shatter going after Sgt McCabe.
February 12, 2014: Minister Shatter says: “There’s a reference to some transcript. I’m not privy to the transcript, I don’t know anything about the meeting that took place, I don’t know how the transcript was created.”
February 18, 2014: Broadsheet posts the full transcript of the conversation between Oliver Connolly and Sgt Maurice McCabe.
February 19, 2014: Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly is sacked.
February 21, 2014: Broadsheet posts a letter dated December 17, 2012, which was sent from the assistant secretary at the Department of Justice, and which was forwarded to Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar’s departments.
The letter is, in the main, in response to an email Sgt McCabe sent on December 12, 2012 in relation to the quashing of penalty points.
But it also refers to the dossier of serious complaints that Sgt McCabe made to the confidential recipient in January and which had been passed on to the Taoiseach, via Fianna Fáil’s Mícheal Martin.
February 23, 2014: Philip Ryan, the Sunday Independent, reports that attempts were made by Garda colleagues to blame Sgt McCabe for releasing Jerry McGrath from custody before McGrath went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly.
February 24, 2014: At lunchtime, Broadsheet posts a letter sent by Sgt Maurice McCabe to Jon Leeman, of GSOC, on October 27, 2011, after GSOC decided to discontinue its investigation into complaints made by Mary Lynch – expressing his dismay over the decision.
February 24, 2014: At 4.30pm, Broadsheet posts The Thin Blue Timeline – a comprehensive timeline about recent Garda controversies including the matters pertaining to Garda Wilson and Sgt McCabe.
February 25, 2014: In the early evening, RTE’s Paul Reynolds reports that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan claims he ordered Garda Wilson and Sgt McCabe to cooperate with John O’Mahoney while he was doing his report into penalty points and that this instrction was sent to them both on December 14, 2012.
Later, RTE’s Six One news repeats the report that Mr Callinan directed Sgt McCabe to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney on December 14, 2012.
RTE reporter David Davin Power reported:
“We’re told this evening that Maurice McCabe was indeed directed by the Commissioner to cooperate with the inquiry. Now he didn’t in the end give evidence to the inquiry, we don’t quite know the circumstances of that but if, as we’re told, there was a direction given to Sgt McCabe that obviously provides Alan Shatter with a defence because of course he’s in the dock for suggesting that Maurice McCabe didn’t cooperate with the inquiry. If he was given a direction and he didn’t ultimately give evidence to the inquiry, there’s obviously a grey area there, but there is a potential defence for the minister.”
February 25, 2014: Later that evening, on RTE’s Prime Time, a statement from Sgt McCabe is read out by Katie Hannon and she reports details from the transcript of the conversation between Sgt McCabe and Chief Supt Curran (see above) from December 2012.
Sgt McCabe’s statement to Ms Hannon said:
“My attention has been drawn by members of the media today to a statement or press release that appears to have been released to the media earlier today in relation to me.
“The un-headed statement or press release is, I regret to say, both gravely misleading and false.
“It suggests that the Garda commissioner wrote to me 14 months ago ‘and told [me] to co-operate with the investigation into the allegation that penalty points had been cancelled’.
“It claims that the commissioner ‘issued a direction’ to me ‘to co-operate with the investigation being carried out by the assistant commissioner’ and ‘directing’ me to bring any information or concerns I had ‘to the inquiry team’.
“It goes on to say that ‘the Garda Síochána is a disciplined force and that members are required to comply with directions issued by the commissioner’, implying that I wrongfully failed to comply with the commissioner’s direction to cooperate.
“The statement further suggests that I did not comply with the commissioner’s direction during a period when I was on sick leave and that I ‘did not contact’ the assistant commissioner until ‘April 2013, by which time the investigation had been completed’.
“I was never directed by the commissioner to co-operate with the O’Mahony investigation as alleged. On 14th December, 2012, I was asked to remain back after duty in Mullingar Garda Station to meet with Chief Superintendent Mark Curran. I did so.
“When he arrived he read me out a document. I have, fortunately, a full record of what transpired and it is attached to this statement. As appears from the record, the chief superintendent refused my request to furnish me a copy of that document. I presume that this was in accordance with his superiors’ instructions.
“The fact that I was denied a copy of the direction may have encouraged the author of the statement issued today about me to grossly misrepresent the terms of the commissioner’s direction as read out to me and as recorded by me.
“I was never contacted by anyone conducting the O’Mahony investigation which completed its report without making any attempt to speak with me or to seek my input or co-operation into its inquiries. I never withheld any information or co-operation from the O’Mahony investigation as is now suggested.
“When I learned that its report had been completed without making any attempt at all to contact me, I protested at what had happened, as the record shows. At that point I was offered a totally meaningless opportunity to speak with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony.
“As a member of the Garda Síochána, I have tried to uphold its integrity by complying with my duty and being truthful in my dealings with my superiors and with the public office holders with whom I have been dealing in relation to these matters.
“I must leave it to others to judge whether those standards are shared or have been adhered to by those who issued the false and misleading statement concerning me today.”
February 26, 2014: Alan Shatter tells the Dail
“Clearly there is a difference of views and perception between An Garda Síochána and Sergeant McCabe with regard to this issue. I have explained the basis on which I made my statement and I can take it no further. However, I want to make it clear, because of some public comment that has been made, that there is no basis for the suggestion that the Garda Commissioner in any way misled me in relation to this matter. Nor is there any basis for an allegation that I in any way misled the House. I appreciate that different Members of the House may perceive these matters differently. It is unfortunate that perceptions are coloured on occasion by political differences.”
March 3, 2014: It’s reported that Sgt McCabe will write to the Ceann Comhaire Sean Barrett and ask Justice Minister Alan Shatter to correct the Dáil record over Mr Shatter’s comments that he and John Wilson didn’t cooperate with Assistant John O’Mahoney’s penalty points inquiry.
March 8, 2014: Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent, meets and interviews Ms D.
March 12, 2014: The Garda Inspectorate publishes its report into the penalty points controversy. In it, “consistent and widespread breaches of policy” are highlighted, while many of the concerns of the whistleblowers are vindicated.
March 20, 2014: At a Road Safety Authority conference in Dublin Castle the then Minister for Transport and Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar calls on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his ‘disgusting’ remark in relation to the garda whistleblowers Sgt Maurice McCabe and former Garda John Wilson. He calls the two men ‘distinguished’.
March 21, 2014: The Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes publishes the Data Protection Commission’s new audit on Garda compliance with the Data Protection Act. It found ‘disturbing instances of…improper access’ of PULSE by individual gardaí.
Speaking after its publication, Mr Hawkes backs Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s criticism of Sgt Maurice McCabe and former Garda John Wilson.
He told RTÉ:
“Once the whistleblowers had discharged, if you like, their moral duty to report malpractice within An Garda then there was not a basis for them continuing to access the Pulse system and even less so for disclosing confidential information about people to third parties.”
March 25, 2014: Mr Callinan steps down from his position as Garda Commissioner and Noirin O’Sullivan takes over as acting Garda Commissioner.
March 26, 2014: Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologises to Sgt Maurice McCabe and former garda John Wilson for telling the Dáil in October 1, 2013 that they didn’t cooperate with Asst Comm O’Mahoney’s report into the quashing of penalty points.
April 12, 2014: The first of Paul Williams’ articles about Ms D is published.
April 15, 2014: The second article about Ms D, by Mr Williams is pubilshed.
April 16, 2014: The third article about Ms D, by Mr Williams, is published.
April 30, 2014: Tusla social worker Laura Connolly plucked Sgt McCabe’s unallocated file randomly from a filing cabinet and sent a Garda notification, after she further conflated the already conflated allegation of abuse.
Ms Connolly also opens separate files on Sgt McCabe’s four children – two of whom were over 18 at the time. They all include the entirely false allegation that Sgt McCabe was alleged to have abused a six-year-old girl and that the abuse involved both vaginal and anal penetration.
April 30, 2014: On the same day as Sgt McCabe’s unallocated file is taken out of a filing cabinet, Ms D meets the leader of Fianna Fail Micheal Martin.
Mr Williams has told the tribunal that Ms D asked him to organise this meeting but Ms D told the tribunal it was Mr Williams who suggested or advised she meet Mr Martin.
“…he said to me that it was Micheál Martin who brought Maurice McCabe’s cases to the attention of the Dáil and it would be good if you could meet with him and explain why you want your case to be included.”
“…Absolutely nobody prompted me. And I would just like to clarify that Paul did not put me up to going to speak with anyone. He suggested that it may be something that would help as I was very, very frustrated at how my case had been handled and that these were possible people that may be able to get my case to be included in the dossier of cases that were being re-examined.”
Mr Williams has told the tribunal that he gave Ms D a lift from the train station to the Dail, where she met Mr Martin, and then dropped her back to the train station. He said they didn’t discuss what she would say before the interview.
May 3, 2014: The fourth article by Mr Williams – about Ms D – is published.
May 6, 2014: Sean Guerin SC recommends that a Commission of Investigation be held into allegations made by Sgt McCabe – this gave rise to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.
May 7, 2014: Supt Leo McGinn, the district officer in Bailieboro, receives Tusla social worker Laura Connolly’s referral and sends it up the chain of command.
May 7, 2014: Minister Shatter resigns.
May 16, 2014: The false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe is sent to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
May 20, 2014: Gardai in Baileboro receive an amended referral from Tusla – after it becomes aware of the false rape error – but this, the tribunal has been told, was never passed on to Ms O’Sullivan.
The fake rape allegation remains in the commissioner’s office until the start of 2017.
June 17, 2014: Ms D met with the then Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter, who had just recently stepped down from his role as Minister for Justice. [Readers will recall the rape error on Sgt McCabe’s file was discovered in May 2014]
Of this meeting, Paul Williams told the tribunal:
“I think in June Ms D asked me would I get in touch with Mr. Shatter. At this stage he was gone from justice, he had resigned. “
Asked why he was organising this meeting, he said:
“Because she asked me.”
But Ms D told the tribunal:
“It was Paul Williams contacted me and told me that he had been in touch with him and that he was aware of the situation and aware that I wanted my case to be included in the Guerin Report and that he wanted to speak with me about the matter.”
And in a statement to GSOC, Ms D said:
“Within the last two weeks Paul Williams contacted me and said that Alan Shatter had asked to meet me. Paul Williams told me that my case had been known by a few people in senior ranks in the Gardaí and Government for some time. I met Alan Shatter in the Merrion Hotel on Tuesday 17th June. He wanted to speak about my case and told me he was speaking before the Dáil on Thursday and wanted to mention my case to see if it could be fitted into the new investigation that had been conducted in cases in the Cavan-Monaghan area.”
Similar to when Ms D met Micheal Martin, the tribunal heard Mr Williams also met Ms D on the day she met Mr Shatter.
Mr Williams said he couldn’t recall him and Ms D having a conversation about the matter.
Readers may wish to recall evidence given by Sgt McCabe in February of this year at the tribunal – especially when he was asked about the infamous “disgusting” remark made by Mr Callinan at the PAC on Thursday, January 23, 2014.
Sgt McCabe said, if he had his time back, he wouldn’t raise the penalty points matter.
He told the tribunal:
“… if I was to do it over again, I would never, never have highlighted the penalty points, because it was that and that stage when, you know, when I got — I started to get all the hassle. And I think that Martin Callinan — sorry, assistant — or ex-Commissioner Martin Callinan, as I said before, I think after that comment I think the flood gates were opened, you know. It was hard to take. It’s extremely hard to take.”
Sgt McCabe was asked about comments made by solicitor Gerald Kean on RTE Radio One’s Marian Finucane show on Sunday, January 26, 2014 – in which Mr Kean emphatically alleged that Sgt McCabe and Garda John Wilson didn’t cooperate with Asst Comm O’Mahoney.
Sgt McCabe said of Mr Kean’s comments:
“It was a Sunday, I was on duty, I was working in the patrol car, and I heard it on the radio, I was on my own. I pulled in, I was very annoyed, and I rang the programme, and I just said, you know, that is wrong. And they asked me would I go on the programme, and I says I can’t, I’m a serving member, but that’s wrong, what has been said.”
Sgt McCabe subsequently wrote to Mr Kean and Sgt McCabe received a reply from Mr Kean.
The tribunal is expected to hear about this correspondence later this week.
Sgt McCabe and Garda John Wilson went on to sue over the comments.
Sgt McCabe was also asked about Mr Williams’s articles in the Irish Independent in April 2014 and May 2014 – based on the interview Mr Williams carried out with Ms D in March 2014.
Readers will recall that, after the DPP investigated Ms D’s complaint, a letter from the DPP’s office sent to the State solicitor for Cavan Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, stated:
“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.”
Of Mr Williams’ articles, in which he repeated Ms D’s claim against Sgt McCabe, Sgt McCabe told the tribunal:
“…it was awful. I mean, I have been cleared, completely, and I should have been left alone….I can’t prove it, but I knew it was in relation to what I was doing, in relation to penalty points.”
Reader should note Sgt McCabe has sued over one other radio report in 2016.
This was a report by John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, on Northern Sound.
It was about the results of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, before the report from the commission was published.
Previously: Disclosures Tribunal on Broadsheet
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s unintentionally hilarious ‘anti fake news’ approved script snafu performed by the unwitting fake news chorus.
Local news stations now required by Sinclair Broadcasting to parrot the talking points of the President, moving America one step closer to its own version of state run media. And another freedom is assailed under this Administration. https://t.co/LwBnqdhM3b
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) April 2, 2018
At a media seminar on Brexit organised by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), chaired by Conor Brady.
Editors Sebastian Hamilton (Irish Daily Mail), Fionnan Sheahan (Irish Independent), Ian Kehoe (Sunday Business Post) David Nally (head of TV current affairs at RTE) and Paul O’Neill (The Irish Times) gathered to discuss covering Brexit.
Hugh O’Connell tweetz:
“We do have an issue of gender balance up here,” notes Conor Brady as he introduces media editors panel at @iiea Brexit seminar…
— iiea.com (@iiea) June 26, 2017
— HannahmDeasy (@hannahmdeasy) June 26, 2017
— Simon Carswell (@SiCarswell) June 26, 2017
— Andrew (@amgilmore) June 26, 2017
— Alison O’Connor (@alisonoconn) June 26, 2017
Previously: Challenging Times
Thanks Paul Hughes
Earlier: Coronation Street
From top: Brian Cowen; Anthony Sheridan;
Anthony Sheridan, of Public Inquiry, speaks on deferential attitudes in Irish media towards politicians and other power-brokers, with reference to John Lee’s recent work with austerity architect Brian Cowen.
A well-informed, objective media is one of the cornerstones of a healthy democracy. Journalists in a healthy democracy do not just report news and current affairs; they also have a duty to be rigidly impartial in their analysis of events.
Disturbingly, Irish journalism comes nowhere near the standards necessary to robustly challenge the State and its agents particularly when it comes to political corruption.
The recent publication of Hell at the Gates by journalists John Lee and Daniel McConnell is just the latest example of the disquietingly close and frequently grovelling relationship between the media and those who wield power within the Irish political system.
John Lee, writing about an interview he conducted with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen as part of his research for the book provides us with good example of this cringing, extremely deferential type of journalism.
The headline gives a good indication of the tone of the article: An astute, self-aware, intelligent man.
It’s said of Lyndon Johnson, that he was at his best with an audience of one. I think this applies to Cowen. He uses your first name, looks you in the eye, is exceptionally articulate and sharp. In the fog of war that engulfed Ireland during his years at the top, much of this was forgotten. Yet he understands why that is.
He spoke about how he felt the day he became Taoiseach, the enjoyment of appointing a cabinet and the brief summer of calm before all hell broke loose.
Bright man that he is, he knew there were claims about him that he had to confront. As the interview progressed I merely pointed to where we were in the chronology, and without pause he would take on the issues that he has been given so much time to think about over those preceding four years. He happily accepted he had made a mistake in not addressing the nation.
Before making further comment on the article, I want to express my opinion of Brian Cowen, an opinion that I believe is held by the majority of Irish people.
At best, Cowen is a political idiot. I do not say this as an insult (although it obviously is); I say it because it’s a simple fact. Cowen is nothing more than your typical Fianna Fail backwoodsman, gombeen politician who never had to do anything courageous or visionary to reach the apex of political power.
As a privileged member of one of the many political family dynasties that have plagued Irish politics since independence he was effectively handed power following the death of his father.
He was literally enthroned as Taoiseach by the disgraced Bertie Ahern who was forced to resign after his true pedigree was exposed at a tribunal.
But when Cowen, for the first and only occasion in his mediocre career, was called upon to show courage and vision in leading the nation he failed miserably.
As one editorial put it: The worst Taoiseach in the history of the State.
And yet a stranger reading John Lee’s article could easily conclude that Brian Cowen was a politically intelligent, insightful and courageous man whose overriding mission in life was to promote the best interests of the Irish people.
A stranger reading the article would not see what most Irish people see.
That Cowen is a loyal member of the most corrupt political party in Ireland, the party that promotes the interests of property developers, bankers and other members of the golden circle that feed off the wealth of the Irish people.
A stranger reading the article would not see that Cowen is a loyal member of the party principally responsible for the economic disaster of 2008 that destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.
However, a stranger who informed himself of Irish history over the past several decades would immediately recognise the rampaging elephant in the room – which is:
The Irish political system is seriously corrupt. In reaction to this political corruption a significant percentage of Irish citizens have rejected the legitimacy of the State and are in open rebellion.
A disturbingly large proportion of Irish journalists are either blissfully unaware of this dramatic shift in the political landscape or are willing collaborators in defence of the corrupt system.
Either way Irish journalism is suffering from a serious malaise that is not only bad for the profession but is having a very serious negative impact on Ireland and its people.
Top pic: TG4