The Disclosures Tribunal heard claims that Supt Dave Taylor (above) told Sgt Maurcie McCabe (top) that a ‘spiritual person’ had told him to confess his role smearing the whistleblower
At the Disclosures Tribunal…
Which is examining allegations of a smear campaign being orchestrated by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, with the knowledge of fellow former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, against Sgt Maurice McCabe…
Sgt Maurice McCabe told the tribunal details of information relayed to him during a meeting Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness in Dublin’s Merrion Hotel in May 2016 and, separately, Supt Dave Taylor on September 20 2016, at Supt Taylor’s home.
While giving evidence about both of these meetings, Sgt McCabe became very upset.
Readers should note, the tribunal has heard Mr McGuinness agrees with everything Sgt McCabe has told the tribunal about their meeting, save for one minor detail.
In contrast, it’s heard Supt Taylor’s account of his meeting with Sgt McCabe differs greatly.
However, the tribunal has also heard that Supt Taylor’s own evidence to the tribunal has also changed over time with chairman Judge Peter Charleton noting:
“…there has been perhaps a somewhat, look, one could say a softening or a vagueness in relation to the three statements made by David Taylor, particularly to our investigators, in relation to Nóirín O’Sullivan and what she knew…”
In any event.
Of his meeting with Mr McGuinness – the date of which is unclear other than it was May 2016 – Sgt McCabe told the tribunal on Monday that Mr McGuinness, who was then chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), told him that he had met Martin Callinan in a car park on the Naas Road on January 24.
This would have been a day after Mr Callinan made his “disgusting” remark to PAC about Garda whistleblowers and days before Sgt McCabe was due to appear before the committee to talk about the quashing of penalty points.
Sgt McCabe told the tribunal:
“He told me that he met the former Commissioner Martin Callinan at the Red Cow Inn, or that pub, and he said that I wasn’t to be trusted and he said that I had sexually abused all my children and my nieces. He said to me, I didn’t like to tell you before — you know, up to this point.
“At times I’m glad that he actually didn’t. But I asked him what was the circumstances about it, and he said he was asked to meet him at the Red Cow and he said this is what he said. And he also said that he grabbed his arm as he was getting out of the car and said, ‘it’s very serious, it’s very serious’.
Yesterday, JohnMcGuinness’ legal representative Daren Lehane BL said his client’s evidence will be the same as Sgt McCabe – except he will say he told Sgt McCabe Mr Callinan told him that Sgt McCabe had abused “your children” and nieces, as opposed to “all” your children and nieces.
Readers should note on May 26, 2016, during a speech in the Dail about the death of Shane O’Farrell in Monaghan, Mr McGuinness mentioned this meeting with Mr Callinan in the Dail.
He told the Dáil
Every effort was made by those within the Garda Síochána at senior level to discredit Garda Maurice McCabe.
The Garda Commissioner confided in me in a car park on the Naas Road that Garda McCabe was not to be trusted and there were serious issues about him.
The vile stories that circulated about Garda McCabe, which were promoted by senior officers in the Garda, were absolutely appalling. Because they attempted to discredit him, he had to bring forward various pieces of strong evidence to protect his integrity.
Sgt Maurice McCabe will give evidence in respect of all the tribunal’s modules.
It will be the first time Sgt McCabe will have spoken in a public forum.
He will field questions on a false rape allegation which was levelled against him in a Tusla file and sent to the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May 2014 – which he didn’t learn of until he received a letter from Tusla stating the organisation was investigating him for rape on December 29, 2015.
Sgt McCabe will also be asked about his treatment at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which took place between May and December 2015, and looked at his allegations of poor policing in Cavan/Monaghan.
He will also be asked about an alleged smear campaign against him by senior gardai – as alleged by former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.
Sgt McCabe is also scheduled to give evidence tomorrow morning, also from 10am.
On Thursday, the legal representatives for the various parties are scheduled to give oral submissions on the O’Higgins module – which attempted to decipher whether or not the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan inappropriately used unjustified grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at that commission.
Broadsheet will be tweeting live from the proceedings here
Michael Clifford and Cormac O’Keeffe reported on an answer to a parliamentary question put down by Social Democrats TD Roisin Shortall to the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan.
The answer, published on Tuesday, revealed that the email accounts of the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and her special advisers were not looked at as part of the “trawl” for documents in the Department of Justice relevant to the Disclosures Tribunal.
The tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whisteblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
On the same day, Mr Flanagan, in an answer to a separate parliamentary question, revealed the Disclosures Tribunal issued discovery orders on the Department of Justice in February, April and September of this year.
Readers may wish to note that, in response to the question asked by Ms Shortall, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said:
“While the email accounts of the then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and her advisors were not specifically examined as part of the recent trawl for documents, I can confirm that the email accounts of officials working in relevant areas of the Department were searched and that this exercise would of course encompass emails sent from or to the then Minister and her advisors on any such matters.
“I would point out that all discovery orders issued by the Tribunal were complied with fully. The Department has also made extensive voluntary disclosure of other matters including three protected disclosures, reports from the Garda Commissioner under section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act and, most recently, the two email threads that were uncovered following a trawl of documents in the Department.
“In acknowledging receipt of the emails, the Tribunal made reference to my Department’s already extensive discovery which has allowed the Tribunal to place the current documents in context.
“I am assured that in the event of further documents being located that may be of relevance to the Tribunal’s work that these will of course be furnished to the Tribunal and I would point out that, the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach has announced that there will be an external examination of the way in which my Department fulfilled its obligations in relation to discovering documents to the Tribunal, to conclude before Christmas. That is a step I welcome.”
“I can assure the Deputy that any further Discovery Orders to be made by the Tribunal will also be complied with in full and the Tribunal has been assured of my full and ongoing support in that regard.”
After the a meeting of the joint Oireachtas committee on justice and equality, which was attended by Deputy Secretary General at the Department of Justice Oonagh McPhilips…
In the Dail…
Labour TD Alan Kelly said to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar:
“There is an element of denial about what is going on. I spent a period of time at the Joint Committee on Justice and Equality this morning and genuinely ask the Taoiseach to ask his colleagues, Deputy Colm Brophy and Senator Martin Conway, who made good contributions about what happened. It was extraordinary.
“Given everything that has gone on and the information we have received through persistent questioning and with help from the media, we still have departmental officials coming to the committee to state the Department provided the information that it had been requested to provide during discovery.
“That is it – nothing has changed. The meeting was deeply worrying. I asked a specific question. I asked if private email addresses that potentially had been used by senior officials for departmental business and mobile phone records had been provided for the tribunal. The answer was that they had not been asked for them.
“I had to ask the officials to ask Mr. Justice Charleton if he wanted this information. Is that not crazy? Has anything changed? We were also told that the information provided had been provided based on the questions asked and that there might be other documentation available.
“In effect, they are acting as judge and jury and as a filtering system in providing information for the Charleton tribunal. The trawl has not changed anything. The culture has not changed.
“There are three specific issues. First, the way in which parliamentary questions are answered has not changed. The Taoiseach made a commitment in the Dáil that it would. I have evidence from yesterday. I am receiving far more text, but I am not getting answers in seeking facts, not speculation.
“Second, when it comes to the information being provided for the Charleton tribunal, we need a volte-face in attitude. The Department needs to provide everything. It needs to err on the side of providing too much. Information on the specific issues I have raised has not been sent.
“The tribunal will be live for the next couple of months and we need this unit to be dealt with. We need answers quickly because it is having a dramatic impact on the operations of the tribunal.
“The Taoiseach should remember that the Department has received lots of correspondence from certain witnesses who have issues and concerns about this issue, on top of the 29 parliamentary questions from me.”
From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Sgt Maurice McCabe
On January 8, 2018, the Disclosures Tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, will resume.
The tribunal is mainly investigating allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.
It had been expected to hear allegations of former head of the Garda Press Office Dave Taylor – who has claimed that he was instructed to negatively brief journalists about Sgt McCabe.
But Justice Charleton released a statement last Friday to say the tribunal’s next module will focus on the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s legal strategy at the O’Higgins Commission.
Broadsheet has learned Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will appear as a witness and give evidence.
As Minister for Transport, Mr Varadkar defended Sgt McCabe’s actions as ‘distinguished’.
He told a road safety conference in March, 2014:
“I think it is very important to bear in mind that the Garda whistleblowers only released information about people after they tried to use the correct procedures and those procedures failed them and when they did release the information, they did it through Oireachtas members which is provided for under the Garda Act of 2005.”
Mr Vardkar thanked Sgt McCabe and fellow Garda whistleblower, John Wilson:
“…on my own behalf and on behalf of the thousands of families who have had to endure the pain and loss that flows from the death of a loved one on the road.”
A Government press officer said he could not confirm if Mr Varadkar would appear as a witness. He said: “This is a matter for the tribunal.”
A spokesman for the Disclosures Tribunal said:
“I can’t confirm one way or the other whether Mr Varadkar or anybody else is going to be a witness at the tribunal in the next module. So you will have to wait for a witness list to go up [on the tribunal’s website].
“The work, as such, of the tribunal would be confidential. So until the witness list goes up, you wouldn’t be able to say whether anybody is going to be a witness at the next module or who would be a witness at the next module.”
Readers may recall how in May 2016, it emerged that, at the privately held O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, held during 2015, the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan employed a legal strategy which attacked the credibility and motivation of Sgt McCabe.
In February 2017, just prior to the establishment of the Disclosures Tribunal and when there was talk of setting up a second commission of inquiry involving Sgt McCabe, he and his wife Lorraine McCabe made a statement.
“Today, we have heard one Minister, Simon Harris, state that we are entitled to “truth and justice”.
“We wish to make it clear that we are definitely not agreeable to that entitlement being wholly postponed so that another Commission of Inquiry can conduct a secret investigation behind closed doors and make a report, into which we have no input as of right, in nine or eighteen months’ time.
“We are entitled to the truth today – justice can follow in its wake.
“… the public has little or no appreciation of what was done, and attempted to be done, to Maurice in the course of its hearings.”
Last week it emerged that an email of May 15, 2015 circulated to the former Minister for Justice and other justice officials which should have been sent to the Disclosures Tribunal wasn’t sent.
Sgt McCabe told Mr Varadkar in a phonecall that evening that the sequence of events alleged in the email did not happen and that the transcripts of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation will prove this.
Following a call by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, for the Department of Justice to do another search for documents relevant to the tribunal, further emails were found and subsequently sent to the Disclosures Tribunal.
The email thread showed, among other things, how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan phoned the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to tell him a press query about the stance taken by An Garda Siochana against Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation had been sent to the Garda Press Office.
The garda weren’t commenting on the matter.
Mr O’Leary subsequently advised the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on what to say, if she was asked about the matter during a scheduled interview on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5.
In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about it.
Amid these revelations, the Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has resigned.
Of her resignation, Mr Varadkar told the Dail he accepted her resignation with regret and that “It is my strong view that a good woman is leaving office without getting a full and fair hearing”.
The Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters yesterday announced that he’s resigning with immediate effect as opposed to next February – which he announced last week on the same day the May 15, 2015 email surfaced.
Meanwhile, questions remain over the current Minster for Justice Charlie Flanagan’s handling of related matters.
Readers will also recall how, on March 20, 2014, when Mr Varadkar called Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson “distinguished”, he also called on the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his “disgusting” remark in relation to the two men.
Mr Callinan made that remark at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in January 2014.
Finian McGrath and Shane Ross of the Independent Alliance this morning
“A source contacted me, a short time ago, and I stress it’s one source but it’s quite senior within the Independent Alliance. Basically saying, that they’re not backing her and that she needs to go. So that to me seems to be pretty clear as to the Independent Alliance’s stance, albeit not publicly but privately, indicating that this has reached the end game…”
Hugh O’Connell, political correspondent of the Sunday Business Post, on Today with Sean O’Rourke in the past 20 minutes, discussing the fall-out of the emails published last night in relation to Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
Sgt Maurice McCabe outside the Disclosures Tribunal this summer
Further to questions being asked about what former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and the Department of Justice knew of the legal strategy used by the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and several gardai in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015 – in which allegations made by Ms O’Sullivan’s legal counsel were dropped after Sgt McCabe proved them to be false…
And reports of a phone call from Ms O’Sullivan to the then acting Secretary General at the Department of Justice Noel Waters on May 15, 2015 – the same date Sgt McCabe first gave evidence at the O’Higgins Commission which delivered the first blow to Ms O’Sullivan’s legal strategy…
And how within hours of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar saying on Tuesday, during Leaders’ Questions, that he could not be sure if there was such a call or not, Mr Waters announced he’ll be stepping down in February as he is approaching 40 years of service…
Garda Headquarters has directed officers of all ranks to scrutinise their personal email accounts, handwritten notes and laptops for any material relating to Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
In an unprecedented move, an assistant commissioner has been appointed to oversee the collation of potentially reams of electronic and written data from gardaí that will then be forwarded to the Disclosures Tribunal.
In a memo sent to all Garda divisions, seen by the Irish Independent, Garda management laid down the diktat ahead of the next phase of the tribunal, which is examining an alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.
The blanket search even includes emails sent from officers’ own personal Gmail accounts.
…The news of the major fishing expedition is believed to stem from previous criticism levelled at management by whistleblower Keith Harrison.
…Gda Harrison is taking separate High Court action against the Garda Commissioner for breaching a court order.
Former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was accused of failing to fulfil an order to furnish Gda Harrison with the full Garda file in relation to a personal injury claim.
Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin may be forced to appear in court to defend the claim.
It centred on questions put to the Department of Justice, by Labour TD Alan Kelly, in relation to what knowledge, if any, the department had about the legal strategy employed by An Garda Siochana at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015.
Readers will recall how at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – which was set up to examine complaints of Garda malpractice made by Sgt McCabe – legal counsel for former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said it would argue that Sgt McCabe made his complaints because of a grudge and that evidence of this would be based on a particular meeting Sgt McCabe had with two other gardai.
This line of argument was dropped after Sgt McCabe produced a recording of the meeting which proved this was untrue.
Mr Kelly has written to the Department of Justice asking what knowledge the former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald had of this legal strategy.
He’s also written to the Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl, the now Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the same.
He’s now calling for Mr Varadkar to make a public statement on the matter.
He also said he believes that, if the Department of Justice was aware, then the terms of reference for the Disclosures Tribunal – which is being overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton and is examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe – need to be widened to include the department.
Further to this…
Mr Kelly spoke to Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One this morning in which he reiterated his questions.
From the interview…
Sean O’Rourke: “You lay particular emphasis on contacts between the Commissioner’s office and the office of the Secretary General of the Department of Justice on the 15th of May 2015. Why is that date important?”
Alan Kelly: “It’s very important because this is the day that everything changed in relation to O’Higgins and that Maurice McCabe became aware of a different strategy as regards the Commissioner and their legal strategy to him. And, in relation to the whole aspect of whether he had had motives, different motives…”
O’Rourke: “Yeah, a grudge.”
Kelly: “An agenda or had a grudge in relation certain aspects of the gardai and that’s why he acted in the way in which he did. It was proven to be false…”
Kelly: “If they [Department of Justice] come out and say ‘no, they weren’t aware in any way, shape or form, this dies. Because it’s effectively saying look no they weren’t privy to anything. The issue is this: in the questions and answers that I’ve got back from Minister Flanagan, he doesn’t deny that there were meetings. He doesn’t deny that there was something going on.”
Readers may wish to note that, although it hasn’t been mentioned on RTE, Broadsheet previously reported how, at the outset of the O’Higgins Commission, the legal counsel for Ms O’Sullivan argued that the reason for this so-called grudge was that Sgt McCabe wanted the directions made by the DPP in 2007 – in respect of a “dry humping” allegation made by the daughter, Ms D, of a guard previously disciplined by Sgt McCabe in 2006 – overturned.
But the DPP’s directions were categorically in Sgt McCabe’s favour.
And what the gardai didn’t know, going into the commission, was that Sgt McCabe had been fully briefed of the DPP’s directions back in 2007 when they were first issued.
These were the DPP’s directions:
I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 1st March 2007 together with copy Garda investigation file.
I agree with you and the Guards, that the evidence does not warrant a prosecution. There was no admission. The incident as described by the injured party is vague. It appears that it was only when she was eleven/twelve that she decided that whatever occurred was sexual in nature.
Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault.
Further, the account given to her cousin [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards.
There is no basis for a prosecution.
And the date Sgt McCabe informed the O’Higgins Commission that he was fully aware of the DPP’s directions, knew they were strongly in his favour and, therefore, had no desire for them to be overturned?
May 15, 2015.
(Readers should note the ‘humping’ allegation mentioned above was revived in 2013 when Ms D went to a counsellor and the counsellor sent a botched referral outlining a much more serious allegation of rape to Tusla.
This botched referral would eventually reach Ms O’Sullivan’s office in May 2014 and the false allegation against Sgt McCabe remained on file in the Commissioner’s office until the Disclosures Tribunal began earlier this year).
Clockwise from top left: Sgt Maurice McCabe, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kieran Kenny; former Chief Superintendent Jim Sheridan and Superintendent Noel Cunningham, who is also president of the Association of Garda Superintendents
John Mooney, in The Sunday Times, wrote that the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald received a protected disclosure in the summer.
In it, it was claimed that the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan “was informed in May 2014 about a referral from Tusla, the child and family agency, which alleged garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe had been accused of raping a child”.
It’s not known if, on receipt of this information, Ms O’Sullivan notified Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald about the allegation.
Mr Mooney reported that the protected disclosure has been referred to the Disclosures Tribunal where Judge Peter Charleton is examining claims that the circulation of this false rape allegation was part of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.
The Sunday Times‘ article didn’t report what specific day in May 2014 Ms O’Sullivan was supposedly informed.
Nor did it make clear whether the protected disclosure stated that Ms O’Sullivan was told the false rape allegation was a bona fide referral, or if she was told that a false rape referral had been made against Sgt McCabe and that there had been a catastrophic mistake.
This would appear to be crucial as May 2014 was both the month Tusla presented the false referral to the gardai as a bona fide referral and the month Tusla later informed senior gardai that the referral was botched.
The Disclosures Tribunal has already been told by retired senior gardai that the fake rape referral travelled up the chain of command in An Garda Siochana and reached the Garda Commissioner’s office in May 2014 and that an update to inform Ms O’Sullivan that it was false was never passed on to Ms O’Sullivan.
Readers will recall…
A complaint by a Ms D was made in December 2006 some 11 months after her father, a guard, Mr D “lost his position and was reverted to other duties” after Sgt McCabe “caused the institution of serious disciplinary procedure against” Mr D in January 2006.
After the DPP investigated Ms D’s complaint, a letter from the DPP’s office was sent to the State solicitor for Cavan Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, which 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.”
The tribunal has heard how Mr Cunningham never gave or informed Sgt McCabe of the DDP’s full instructions but, unbeknownst to Mr Cunningham, Sgt McCabe had been fully briefed of them by Mr Hayden on April 5, 2007.
Readers will recall how Ms D’s 2006 allegation resurfaced during a counselling session, seven years later in the summer 2013, in Cavan, with RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy.
An erroneous allegation of rape against Sgt McCabe ended up being attributed to Ms D when Ms Brophy sent a botched referral to Tusla in August 2013.
Then, readers will recall, on April 30, 2014, Tusla social worker Laura Connolly plucked Sgt McCabe’s file randomly from a cabinet which contained unallocated cases and sent a notification of Sgt McCabe’s file to the gardai even though she was aware the 2006 allegation had already been sent to the gardai and that the DPP had ordered for no charges to be brought.
Ms Connolly made a monumental error by combining both the 2006 allegation, which was found to have no foundation by the DPP, and the 2013 allegation of rape pertaining to a Ms Y which had nothing to do with Ms D but was wrongly recorded by counsellor Laura Brophy as an allegation Ms D had made against Sgt McCabe.
Readers will recall on May 6, 2014, Sean Guerin SC, after examining allegations of Garda misconduct made by Sgt McCabe, Mr Guerin recommended a Commission of Investigation be held into the complaints.
(This would eventually lead to the setting up of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015, during which An Garda Siochana said it would argue that Sgt McCabe acted out of malice and that evidence of this would be based on a meeting Sgt McCabe had with two gardai, Supt Noel Cunningham and Sgt Yvonne Martin, in Mullingar in August 2008.
It was also claimed at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation that the reason Sgt McCabe was acting in such a way was because he wanted the 2007 DPP’s directions overturned.
An Garda Siochana dropped both claims when Sgt McCabe produced a recording of the meeting in Mullingar and told the commission he had been fully briefed of the DPP’s directions and was very satisfied with them and, therefore, had no reason to want them overturned.)
The tribunal has heard that on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 – the same day then Justice Minister Alan Shatter resigned – Supt Leo McGinn, the district officer in Bailieboro, on receipt of Ms Connolly’s referral, forwarded Ms Connolly’s botched referral to the then Chief Superintendent Jim Sheridan, stating that he recommended the 2006/2007 investigation be reviewed.
Then, on May 14, 2014, the then Chief Superintendent Sheridan sent a letter to the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny.
This was the same day Ms D informed RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy that her referral to the gardai was incorrect.
In addition, Mr Sheridan told the tribunal that Supt McGinn told him the referral was incorrect on May 13, 2014.
When Chief Supt Sheridan sent this letter to Mr Kenny on May 14, 2014, Mr Sheridan attached the referral with the unrelated digital penetration error and said the “the allegations contained in the attached referral have been the subject of a previous Garda investigation” which resulted in the DPP directing that there be no prosecution against Sgt Maurice McCabe.
He also stated that it was his understanding that Ms D had made complaints, based on the allegations set out in the attached referral, to Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and GSOC.
Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, asked Mr Sheridan why he didn’t tell Asst Comm Kenny that the allegation in the referral was incorrect.
Mr Sheridan said he perhaps should have but he was trying to establish how the error had occurred.
“Perhaps in hinsight, I should have,” Mr Sheridan said.
Asked, in regards to the mention of complaints to Mr Martin and GSOC, was he of the understanding that Ms D had made complaints based on the digital penetration allegation, Mr Sheridan said no, he didn’t think that.
Once again, Ms Leader asked Mr Sheridan why he didn’t state that in the letter?
Mr Sheridan accepted that, in hindsight, he should have and said that there was no malice in his actions.
Ms Leader also asked Mr Sheridan about his knowledge of the complaints to Mr Martin and GSOC.
Mr Sheridan said he knew of the complaints based on media reports and he doesn’t recollect any official notification from GSOC.
The tribunal has heard that, similar to Mr Sheridan, Mr Kenny knew the 2006/2007 investigation had nothing to do with any rape allegation.
When former Mr Kenny gave evidence to the tribunal he told how, on May 16, 2014, he sent a letter to the Commissioner’s office [Noirin O’Sullivan], with the wrong referral attached.
The letter included the line:
“You will note that the allegation identifies the alleged perpetrator as Maurice McCabe.”
Mr Kenny was asked, while passing the matter on to Ms O’Sullivan, if he advised her that the allegation he was sending was different to the allegation of 2006.
He said: No.
The tribunal has previously heard that Mr Sheridan received an amended referral from Tusla on May 20 and that Mr Sheridan then passed this on to Mr Kenny.
But Mr Kenny said henever passed this on to the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
The tribunal has also heard evidence from Ms O’Sullivan’s private secretary Frank Walsh who said that, despite a later letter sent by Mr Kenny to the Commissioner’s office on July 28, 2014, stating that “developments will be reported” in regards to the matter – no such developments were reported.
In addition, Det Sgt Walsh told the tribunal that the false allegation against Sgt McCabe was still on file in the Commissioner’s office until the tribunal began earlier this year.
In his article, Mr Mooney also reports: “The tribunal is trying to establish whether the Department of Justice was told about the file, or whether garda management decided to withhold the information pending further inquiries.”
Readers may also wish to note that on February 12, 2017, following a report about the false rape allegation on RTE’s Prime Time on February 9…
Frances Fitzgerald told RTÉ’s The Week In Politics:
“I had no knowledge of all of the things that have emerged on Prime Time in relation to referrals to Tusla and how inadequately they were dealt with; the problems with the counsellor, those issues were absolutely … I was stunned watching those on Thursday night as the public were and as concerned and that’s the truth.”
“…I had no reason to put Tusla in the terms of reference because, as I said to you, I had no knowledge of the facts that emerged on the Prime Time programme on Thursday evening. That’s the reality of the situation. I did not know those details.”
However, later, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told RTE :
“Mrs Frances Fitzgerald is saying she wasn’t aware of the Tusla file until Thursday. I think she needs to clarify that. I need to put on record that our spokesperson for justice, deputy Jim O’Callaghan, met with Frances Fitzgerald on Wednesday evening, specifically to broaden the terms of reference of the Charleton inquiry, to take on board the Tusla file because we had been alerted to it and I had spoken to Maurice McCabe on the Wednesday.
“I was anxious the terms of reference would include the Tusla file. Jim O’Callaghan met Frances Fitzgerald, alerted her to the existence of the file and that it needed to be covered.”
Readers may recall how the Disclosures Tribunal is currently on a break.
It will resume on September 18 when it will look at matters concerning Garda Keith Harrison and public bodies including Tusla.
The tribunal will then take another short break.
After that, in November, Judge Peter Charleton is scheduled to look at what information former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and then Deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan may have briefed to former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor in 2014.
This section of the tribunal is also scheduled to look at a meeting between Mr Callinan and Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, on January 24, 2014, in the carpark of Bewley’s Hotel, Newlands Cross, Co Dublin.
It’s also supposed to examine the broadcasting of a report by Paul Reynolds on RTÉ, on May 9, 2016, in respect of a leaked account of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, in which Mr Reynolds reported that the commission found Sgt McCabe “lied in a report to a senior officer” and to see if Ms O’Sullivan had any influence over that report.
And Judge Charleton will also be looking to see if the false allegation of rape that was circulated about Sgt McCabe “or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by the Commissioner during the hearings before Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins” during this segment of the tribunal.
Readers will also recall how, after the report of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation was published in May of last year, it emerged that claims made by Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan’s senior counsel to the O’Higgins commission – that Sgt McCabe was acting out of malice – were proven to be untrue.
The allegations of malice were allegedly based on a meeting which took place back in 2008 in Mullingar, apparently between Sgt McCabe, Sgt Yvonne Martin and Supt Noel Cunningham. As Sgt McCabe recorded the meeting, he was later able to disprove the claim of malice alleged at the O’Higgins commission.
But the events described above were not included in Justice O’Higgins’ findings.
Further to this…
Mary Regan, in yesterday’s Sunday Business Post, reported…
The government has been urged to act to remove the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Garda Commissioner who is being linked to a senior position in the EU law enforcement agency, Europol.
The Labour Party said reports and rumours about her candidacy are “unhelpful, particularly at a time when an Garda Síochána requires operational certainty”.
Last month The Sunday Business Post reported that Nóirín O’Sullivan, who is facing a number of controversies at home, is among those being considered for a senior position in the area of specialist operations.
The post becomes available in November, meaning O’Sullivan could potentially leave her current role in the autumn.
Asked if he or his department were made aware of her candidacy before she took her six week’s annual leave, the Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan said: “She is expected back at her desk, I’m sure, in early September and I look forward to working with her on the subject of her ambitious reform programme.”
Garda Commissioner Noriin O’Sullivan and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald
At the Disclosures Tribunal.
Legal counsel for Sgt Maurice McCabe Michael McDowell SC, while questioning Fiona Ward – a director of counselling with RIAN – claimed he was of the understanding that the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald was informed of “the whole situation” pertaining to Sgt McCabe in 2015.
Mr McDowell made the point as he was asking Ms Ward why “nobody bothered” to tell Sgt McCabe about the allegations that he said led to his reputation being “shredded in private”.
When this was queried by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, Mr McDowell said he could be wrong but repeated it was his recollection that Ms Fitzgerald was informed in 2015.
Readers will recall that Sgt McCabe was not made aware of the matters until December 29, 2015.
In February of this year, Ms Fitzgerald said she was not aware of the Tusla error and released a statement saying the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone had informed her in January, 2017, that she intended to meet with Sgt McCabe but that Ms Zappone did not inform Ms Fitzgerald of any details in relation to Tusla.
At the same time, Taoiseach Enda Kenny also said that he was also aware of Ms Zappone’s meeting with the McCabes and was also not made aware of the details of their meeting.
Readers will also recall how two protected disclosures were made to Ms Fitzgerald by Sgt McCabe and former head of the Garda Press Office Superintendent Dave Taylor, in relation to the same matter, in October 2016.
Ms Fitzgerald later appointed Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill to investigate the disclosures and Justice O’Neill’s report was given to Ms Fitzgerald in December 2016.
Ms Fitzgerald then announced that it was establishing the current Disclosures Tribunal on February 7, 2017.