A vast and
exhausting exhaustive overhaul to our Thin Blue Timeline covering all aspects of the Garda trouble of late. A graphic version will be completed tomorrow for those who like pictures with their text. Thanks to all who suggested entries. All errors will be corrected.
Behold then the diary of an appalling vista.
December 22, 1996:
French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier is beaten to death outside her holiday home near Toormore, Schull, Co. Cork on the night of December 22, 1996. Her murder remains unsolved.
1997 – 1998 2007:
[Dates unknown] Ian Bailey is twice arrested over the course of 1997 and 1998, for questioning about Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder. During both arrests he was taken to Bandon Garda Stations, where he denied killed Ms Du Plantier and was released without charge.
December 2, 2003:
Kieran Boylan, from Ardee, Co. Louth is caught by members of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in a ‘Garda stakeout’ receiving more than €700,000 worth of cocaine and heroin at Dublin Port. He’s charged and released on bail.
October 6, 2005:
Boylan is caught with €1.7million of cocaine and heroin in Ardee, Co. Louth, by members of the Garda National Drugs Unit.
December 21, 2005:
It’s reported Boylan was remanded on bail by Judge Desmond Hogan pending sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in relation to the Dublin Port charges. The court heard a detective garda agree with Boylan’s defence lawyers that Boylan believed the heroin he collected was cocaine and that this indicated that he was not ‘in the hierarchy of the operation’. The court also heard the detective accept that Boylan was in debt and under pressure from his associates in England – whom Boylan was involved with before when he was jailed for 7 and a 1/2 years in England over cannabis possession, in 1997.
February 16, 2006:
It’s reported that Judge Desmond Hogan – again in relation to the Dublin Port charges – sentences Boylan for five years and suspends the final two years, on condition Boylan keeps the peace.
It’s reported on March 30, 2014 that three gardaí told an internal inquiry, carried out by now retired Assistant Commissioner Ray McAndrew, that Ms Farrell received preferential treatment during the early stages of the investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, as she was considered an “important” witness. RTÉ’s This Week reported: “This includes one allegation in 2006 that a senior garda inquired about whether garda funds could be used to pay for fines, including speeding fines, owed by Ms Farrell. That internal report, carried out by a now retired assistant commissioner, Ray McAndrew, over 2006 and 2007, has never been published. However, sections of it have been released under discovery in the legal action taken by Mr Bailey. RTÉ’s This Week has also learned that another senior officer was tasked with investigating the allegation that Ms Farrell was offered preferential treatment as a witness. That report has also not been published.”
January to December, 2007: A series of calls between members of Gardaí and Marie Farrell were recorded.
February 4, 2007: John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that charges against Boylan, in relation to the €1.7million drugs haul, were struck out in June 2006 because the DPP failed to give detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit any direction in the case. Mr Mooney also reports that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour’s Brendan Howlin are demanding to know why the charges in relation to the €1.7million drug haul were not pursued against Boylan. It’s reported that Boylan is said to have boasted that he is ‘untouchable’ and will never stand trial in relation to the €1.7m drugs find, while an internal Garda inquiry into the case is under way by Garda Commssioner Noel Conroy and Chief Superintendent Kevin Ludlow. It’s reported that Mr Kenny said: ‘Drugs are the single greatest threat to Irish society. I want the government to give a full explanation on this case. I will be tabling questions on the nature of the inquiry into Boylan and why he isn’t before the courts when he was caught with such a large amount of heroin and cocaine’.
February 4, 2007: It’s reported that Mr Kenny said: ‘Drugs are the single greatest threat to Irish society. I want the government to give a full explanation on this case. I will be tabling questions on the nature of the inquiry into Boylan and why he isn’t before the courts when he was caught with such a large amount of heroin and cocaine’.
February 11, 2007: Mr Mooney reports that his sources informed him Boylan evaded prosecution because he knows of ‘rogue Garda operations’ with drug dealers. Mr Mooney reports a source saying: ‘Boylan cannot be charged because he will start talking. They (the gardai) can’t afford for him to air his allegations in a public forum because he could cause a tribunal.’
April 30, 2007: Taxi driver Mary Lynch is violently assaulted by Jerry McGrath in Virginia, Co. Cavan. McGrath had his zip undone as he bit her, viciously kicked her and pulled out lumps of her hair. He left her with a black eye, bruising down her side and bruises on her neck, as he held his hands around her neck during the assault. McGrath was released on station bail of €300 the next day, before Mary Lynch gave a statement. McGrath was never questioned about details of her statement. He was charged with assault with no conditions attached to his bail.
May 20, 2007 to June 4, 2007: Eight conversations were secretly recorded at Bandon Garda Station which suggest gardaí gave money and drugs to Martin Graham in return for gathering incriminating evidence against Ian Bailey in relation to the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. In one, a detective a detective tells Graham that he would give him ‘stuff’ [This is reported by John Mooney of The Sunday Times on March 30, 2014].
October 2007: [Date unknown] A file on Mary Lynch’s assault is finally sent to the DPP with a recommendation that the case be dealt with in the district court. Micheal Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, has reported that “the file came back within three weeks, upgrading the charge to Section 3, “assault causing harm” and a robbery charge. The DPP instructed that it should be dealt with by the district court only if a guilty plea was entered on both charges. Otherwise, it should go to trial in the Circuit Court.”
October 9, 2007: McGrath tried to abduct a five-year-old girl from a house which he had broken into, in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary. The girl’s father managed to overpower McGrath and hold him until the gardaí arrived. McGrath was charged with assault causing harm, burglary and false imprisonment. He was held in Limerick Prison.
October 18, 2007: McGrath’s Cavan assault case involving Mary Lynch was due for a routine review of bail in Virginia District Court. McGrath’s solicitor was told McGrath didn’t need to attend the two-minute routine hearing. No objection was made at Virginia District Court to renew McGrath’s bail on the Cavan assault charge – even though it was known that McGrath was in custody for assault causing harm, burglary and false imprisonment.
October 30, 2007: An application for bail by McGrath was made in Clonmel Circuit Court on the Tipperary false imprisonment charge. Detective Sergeant John Long objected but the court was not told about the Cavan assault and McGrath was granted bail. Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, has reported: “In a subsequent investigation, Sgt Long said that prior to the bail application, he had checked McGrath’s background on the garda Pulse system. (This would be second nature to any garda investigating a violent incident). On seeing an entry about Cavan, he rang an “unidentified garda” in a “Cavan station” — also unidentified — and was told that the case involved a minor assault over a taxi fare.”
December 7, 2007: McGrath murdered separated mother-of-two Silvia Roche Kelly in the Clarion Hotel in Limerick.
December 11, 2007: Gardaí issue a request to tender for a digital recording system for 21 garda stations to replace old dictaphone system. The stations are: Garda Headquarters Phoenix; DMR Headquarters, Harcourt Sq., Dublin 2; Anglesea Street, Cork; Drogheda, Co. Louth, Castlebar, Co. Mayo; Bandon, Co. Cork; Ennis, Co. Clare; Fermoy, Co. Cork; Henry St., Limerick; Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Mill St., Galway; Monaghan; Mullingar, Co. Westmeath; Naas, Co. Kildare; Portlaoise, Co. Laoise; Roscommon; Sligo; Thurles, Co. Tipperary; Tralee, Co. Kerry; Waterford and Wexford.
January 5, 2008: Mary Lynch, who at this point was eventually told her case would be heard in Virginia District Court on January 7, received a phone call, telling her there was no need for her to show up at the case hearing as it would be held over.
January 7, 2008: Mary Lynch received a call from an inspector saying McGrath received a nine-month sentence for the assault on her. The Irish Examiner reported Ms Lynch saying: “I told him that I was told the case was not going ahead and he said he knew nothing about that. I told him I was informed I would be given the opportunity to make a victim impact statement to the court. He said he did not know anything about that and he was only handed the case file that morning and told to go into the court. He also told me that if I wanted to see Jerry McGrath he was still in Virginia garda station. I said I do not want to see Jerry McGrath in a garda station, I wanted to see him in court.”
January 15, 2008: It’s reported that the charges against Boylan in relation to the €1.7m drugs haul are to be reinstated.
Sigma Wireless wins a €550,000 contract to install the digital recording system into 21 garda stations.The stations are: Garda Headquarters Phoenix; DMR Headquarters, Harcourt Sq., Dublin 2; Anglesea Street, Cork; Drogheda, Co. Louth, Castlebar, Co. Mayo; Bandon, Co. Cork; Ennis, Co. Clare; Fermoy, Co. Cork; Henry St., Limerick; Letterkenny, Co. Donegal; Mill St., Galway; Monaghan; Mullingar, Co. Westmeath; Naas, Co. Kildare; Portlaoise, Co. Laoise; Roscommon; Sligo; Thurles, Co. Tipperary; Tralee, Co. Kerry; Waterford and Wexford.
May 2008: Sgt Maurice McCabe made a series of complaints to then Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy in relation to about 20 cases of alleged neglect of duty. Separate Garda and GSOC inquiries into the claims yielded no further action. It’s believed one of the cases involved a female taxi driver claiming two men attempted to rape her. The Irish Times reported [on February 24, 2014] that: “While gardaí called to her the following day and made efforts to have an unpaid fare returned to her, Sgt McCabe alleged no substantive investigation was conducted into her claims of attempted rape. When GSOC investigated the complaints, it believed an allegation of attempted rape had been made at the time but the woman declined to make a formal statement to it. When the 2008 allegations were supplied to confidential recipient McCarthy, the then Garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy instigated an investigation led by assistant commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Supt Terry McGinn.”
June 2008: Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy sets up an internal inquiry to examine Boylan’s relationship with certain members of the Gardaí.
June 2008: Sgt Maurice McCabe transfers out of Bailieboro Garda Station in Co. Cavan to Mullingar [where he works now]. Sgt McCabe had details of cases he believed were not investigated properly at Bailieboro, including false imprisonment and physical and sexual assaults, which he relayed to the then Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy. Mr McCarthy notified then Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy of Sgt McCabe’s complaints. Commissioner Murphy ordered an internal inquiry to be led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne.
July 31, 2008: On the day the courts recessed for the summer, the charges against Boylan are dropped in an unscheduled court hearing, with the State entered a nolle prosequi. The barrister for the DPP said the decision was made at a high level but didn’t give any further explanation.
August 3, 2008: John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that the charges against Boylan were dropped because he had threatened to reveal details of his involvement with certain members of the gardaí. Mr Mooney also reports that Boylan claimed that he was involved in several entrapment-style operations where gardai would deliver drugs which he supplied to petty criminals, who were then later arrested and charged with certain gardaí’s careers benefiting from such operations. Then Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and his deputy Martin Callinan both refused to comment on the matter to The Sunday Times.
It’s also reported that the then chief superintendent of the GNDU wrote to Martin Callinan asking if Boylan was a Garda informer. Mr Mooney reported that Callinan had confirmed in writing, on December 2, 2005, that Boylan was ‘not a registered source’. [Since the Morris Tribunal, all Garda informers have to be officially registered in the Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) system]
March 5, 2009: In the Dáil, Labour TD Pat Rabbitte spoke in relation to the charges dropped against Boylan, saying: “The only reasonable inference is that Boylan was saved from prison by the intervention of corrupt gardai or he was protected because he is a garda informant.”
April 19, 2009: John Mooney reports that in September 2008, the Department of Transport contravened its own rules and issued Boylan a road-haulage operator’s licence, following discussions with gardaí. He registered the licence under the Irish version of his name, Ciaran O’Baoighallan and that, while officials at the haulage licensing department in Galway at first refused to make the name change, they were instructed to do so by the Department of Transport. As proof of his identity, when he was getting the licence, Boylan produced a new passport and driving licence. The licence allows him to travel freely across Europe until September 2013.
September 2010: Gemma O’Doherty publishes in the Irish Independent an extensive exposé on the 1985 murder of Fr Niall Molloy. She makes a five-hour statement to the Gardai following a two-month investigation and hands over a volume of damning evidence to them, pointing to a cover-up of staggering proportions involving the Gardai, a Fine Gael judge, Fianna Fail politicians, the medical profession and the Catholic church. After hearing the testimonies of dozens of individuals, she uncovers a catalogue of alarming revelations and allegations that Gardaí suppressed evidence. She meets Alan Shatter, as he prepares to enter Government, and he assures her the case will be prioritised under Fine Gael. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern orders a new investigation of the case based on her findings. Two years later, justice campaigners and friends of Fr Niall are utterly disillusioned with the Garda investigation and the failure to bring to justice the person who brutally murdered Fr Niall.
November 14, 2010: It’s reported how an internal garda investigation into allegations of malpractice in the Cavan/Monaghan division – following complaints made in 2008 by Sgt Maurice McCabe, moved from Cavan to Mullingar, Co. Westmeath after he made his complaints – upheld some of the complaints but found no evidence of corruption. The investigation is led by Assistant Garda Commissioner Derek Byrne. Among Sgt McCabe’s allegations are claims that gardaí in Cavan, where he previously worked, didn’t carry out proper investigations into incidents including physical assaults, sexual assaults and false imprisonment.
It’s also reported a second internal probe was launched a month previous (October 2010) after Sgt McCabe claimed Assistant Commissioner Byrne assaulted and falsely imprisoned Sgt McCabe in the Hillgrove Hotel in Co. Monaghan on October 11, 2010, after Sgt McCabe revealed that he had removed hundreds of files from Pulse which showed gardaí had falsely claimed that certain people were involved in criminality. Sgt McCabe produced the files in front of Assistant Commissioner Byrne at the hotel when they – and two other officers – met to tell Sgt McCabe the results of the first investigation. Sgt McCabe claimed Assistant Commissioner Byrne would not let Sgt McCabe leave the hotel with the files. Assistant Commissioner Byrne took the files from Sgt McCabe.
It’s reported Nacie Rice, the deputy Garda Commissioner was appointed to investigate these claims of false imprisonment and assault, while the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission had been notified of the allegations.
June 14, 2011: Justice Minister appoints Oliver Connolly as Garda Confidential Recipient. Mr Connolly contributed €1,000 to one of Mr Shatter’s election campaign.
[Date in early 2012 is unknown] An internal Garda investigation got under way in Baileboro Garda Station in Cavan after it emerged that a hard drive that had been seized from a Fr Michael Molloy who was later convicted of child abuse and child pornography had vanished. This was noticed after Bishop Leo O’Reilly contacted the station in September 2010, requesting that the hard drive be returned to the diocese. Michael Clifford of the Irish Examiner reported [on January 20, 2014] that there was an attempt to blame the disappearance of the hard drive on Sgt Maurice McCabe. Mr Clifford reported that a disciplinary process dragged on for 18 months before Sgt McCabe was cleared of any wrongdoing.
[Date in January 2012 unknown]: 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 – the taxi driver who was assaulted by Jerry McGrath who went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly – cases of assault causing harm, charges that were allegedly not properly investigated, a case involving abduction and false imprisonment – a case which was not investigated and resulted in an attempt being made to offer the victim money on behalf of the suspects, and one involving falsification of records. Mr Connolly handed over details of these complaints to the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, who then handed the dossier over to the Mr 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 [day unknown] 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 12 complaints, including a previous complaint Sgt McCabe made against the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in relation to his intentions to the promote a senior officer. 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 [day unknown] 2012: Garda John Wilson and Sgt Maurice McCabe make a complaint to the Garda Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly, about the quashing of penalty points. Mr Connolly gave this complaint to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
March 7, 2012: In an interview with Paul Byrne, of TV3 news, Maire Farrell, a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case, claims she was forced to perjure herself by Gardaí in order to incriminate Ian Bailey. She had told a 2003 libel trial that she had seen Mr Bailey the night Ms du Plantier died but retracted her evidence in 2005. She tells Mr Byrne: “Well between 1997 and the libel trial I had made, I had signed numerous statements. A lot of them I didn’t even know what was in them, I was just asked to sign statements. I found out afterwards you know that they had been saying Ian Bailey had been harassing me and all sorts of things like that and none of that was true. But the Gardai just kept putting more and more pressure on me. I was just getting in deeper and deeper and it was just like, getting out of control”
She also said: “For the whole week of that trial I kept saying, you know, that I wasn’t going. There was no way I was going to court. But I had certain Gardai ringing me, sometimes three or four times a day telling me that I had to go to the court. My husband was telling me I wasn’t to go. I was adamant I wasn’t going, I told them. There was no way I was going to court and telling lies. But then I got a phone call the day before I appeared at the libel trial, and a garda told me that if I didn’t go an application would be made to the court to have me arrested. He said “You’ll probably be brought there in handcuffs, which is worse.” So he said I had to meet a different garda that morning and that he’d run through everything with me and that I had nothing to worry about, stick to the story and there was nothing to worry about. So the morning that I did appear at the libel trial, I met a garda just outside Cork city. He told me what I had to say, and stick to it, and there would be no problems. When I got up on the stand I was panicking, and I was thinking ‘Will I tell the judge the truth here?’ and then I looked down to the back of the court and there was, you know, the Gardai standing there watching me with their arms folded and I thought, you know ‘I have no way out of this’, but at the same time I couldn’t remember what I was meant to say. So it was a relief then when that was over.”
When asked what made her retract her statements, she said: “I got a phone call from a garda, and we were just talking in general and then he said to me that Sophie’s parents were taking a civil action against Ian Bailey for Sophie’s wrongful death. And he said: ‘You know that’s going to end up in court and you’re going to have to go in there again?’ And I said there is no way that I would ever, ever go to court and tell lies for the guards again. And I said, you know, if you keep pushing me now I’m going to go and see Frank Buttimer [Ian Bailey’s solicitor]. He said: ‘You know, no one is going to be interested in what you have to say.’ And I said, ‘You know, maybe Ian Bailey will be interested?’ And I said I’m going to tell them the whole truth about what happened. And he said “if you go down that road you will never again have a day’s peace as long as you live.”
May [day unknown] 2012: Mr McCabe sends Mr Connolly more information, alleging the quashing of penalty points.
July [day unknown] 2012: Mr McCabe gave 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. Enda Kenny replied to McCabe and said Mr Shatter would deal with his request.
August [day unknown] 2012: Mr McCabe wrote to Mr Kenny again, in relation to the penalty points.
September [day unknown] 2012: Mr McCabe wrote to Mr Kenny again.
November 11, 2012: John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that the conviction of Andrew Kearns is one of several being investigated by GSOC, as part of its public interest inquiry into Boylan’s relationship with certain gardaí. Mr Mooney reports that Kearns, a single father from Crumlin, had agreed to collect a shipment of cocaine in March 2005, in order for a gang to waive a debt of €3,000. His contact was Boylan. When Kearns collected the cocaine in Ardee, Co.Louth, Boylan was present at the handover of cocaine worth €280,000. Mr Mooney reported certain gardaí used Boylan as an agent provocateur in order for the gardaí to secure promotions and praise in the media.
November 13, 2012: In response to reports that Garda management had blocked and obstructed GSOC’s investigation into the Boylan affair, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan rejected the claims and insisted he and members of the gardaí fully assisted the four-year investigation into Boylan.
November 13, 2012: Justice Minister Alan Shatter announces that he will extend Commissioner Martin Callinan’s retirement from August 2013 to August 2015.
December 2012: Ten detectives are put on the Fr Molloy investigation following new evidence given to Gardaí by Gemma O’Doherty. Gemma is nominated crime journalist of the year for her work on the case and receives widespread praise for her work including a Prime Time programme on her investigation. In Leinster House, the Molloy murder is described as the biggest cover-up in the history of the State. Former murder squad detective Gerry O’Carroll reiterates the statement. Stephen Rae, former editor of the Garda Review and security correspondent with the Evening Herald is made editor of the Irish Independent by Denis O’Brien. Rae brings his close friend crime reporter Paul Williams to the paper.
December 4, 2012: After receiving no response from the Garda Commissioner, the two garda whistleblowers approach 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 has 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 9, 2012: John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that GSOC’s report into Boylan is due within a week and that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, and his predecessor Fachtna Murphy, may be embarrassed by GSOC’s eventual findings, given that they oversaw three internal investigations into the links between Boylan and certain gardaí which didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing.
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 16, 2012: John Mooney reports in The Sunday Times that GSOC’s investigation resulted in a 500-page report which was sent to the DPP, and recommends that charges be brought against Boylan and a garda. Mr Mooney reports that the inquiry found some operations were run ‘off the books’ and not in line with regulations brought in after the Morris Tribunal. It’s reported that GSOC were also critical of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who it’s reported, made representations to the DPP about Boylan’s €1.7m drugs case before the charges were dropped in July 2008. And it’s reported that GSOC questioned the reliability of information sent from gardaí to the DPP after Boylan’s €1.7m drugs arrest in Ardee.
December 17, 2012: A letter is sent to Sgt McCabe, from the assistant secretary at the Department of Justice, which is also forwarded to Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar. 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. However, it also refers to the dossier of serious complaints that Sgt McCabe made to the confidential recipient in January. It states: “While your email mainly relates to the current allegations regarding the cancellation of fixed charge notices, you also refer back to a response by the Minister in February to the Garda confidential recipient in relation to an investigation by the Garda Commissioner of other allegations. As you know, of the 12 individual allegations made in the report to the confidential recipient, the Commissioner advised that 11 had already been thoroughly investigated by an Assistant Commissioner and a Chief Superintendent, that this investigation had been reviewed by a Deputy Commissioner (because of a related complaint made against the Assistant Commissioner), and that no evidence of corruption or malpractice had been discovered. You will also recall that the Commissioner, as regards the other case, was of the view that the investigation complained of was in fact efficiently and speedily carried out.”
January 28, 2013: Clare Daly is arrested on suspicion of drink driving. She’s brought in a patrol car to the Kilmainham Garda Station where she was 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’. 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.
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 published journalist Gemma O’Doherty’s story that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had penalty points quashed. More than a week previous, after she confirmed that the address she had was that of Martin Callinan – and essentially confirmed her story – she was given a dressing-down by her bosses at Independent News and Media, including Ian Mallon, Michael Denieffe and editor Stephen Rae – who told Ms O’Doherty that her behaviour was that of a ‘rogue reporter’. Some weeks later she lost her position as Travel Editor, which it’s reported Mr Rae ordered and then, another few weeks later, she’s informed by managing director Declan Carlisle that she is being made redundant. She is told that 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 is now suing INM and Mr Rae.
April 21, 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Enda Kenny to relay his concerns over not being interviewed for the internal Garda inquiry 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’Mahony) 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“. [This is reported by RTÉ on February 23, 2014].
May 2, 2013: Former Garda John Wilson meets with Cavan/Monagha District Court Judge Sean MacBride in the Hotel Kilmore in Cavan, with his brother Fianna Fáil Senator Diarmuid Wilson. Mr Wilson alleges that the judge asked him to withdraw a complaint Mr Wilson made about a senior garda quashing penalty points. Mr Wilson alleges that Judge MacBride said the garda ‘had married late in life, had a young family, and that he was a good Fianna Fáil man’. He also claimed Judge MacBride called the penalty points story ‘a ball of smoke’ and that the judge warned him to stay away from Sgt Maurice McCabe. The complaint was being investigated at the time of the meeting. A file consisting of 20 instances of penalty points being quashed was subsequently sent to the DPP and no charges followed [The meeting is reported by Justine McCarthy in the Sunday Times on March 9, 2013 and the detail that Diarmuid Wilson was present was reported by her on March 30, 2013. The name of the judge is not reported].
At the same meeting, former Garda John Wilson claims Judge MacBride called United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly ‘a fucking bitch’ for naming other judges who had penalty points quashed. Mr Wilson also claims Judge MacBride spoke about Ms Daly’s arrest for suspected drink driving (she was subsequently cleared) and that it was ‘karma’ for naming judges and other well-known people who had penalty points quashed in the Dáil in December 2012 [That the judge called Ms Daly a ‘bitch’ is reported by Philip Ryan in the Sunday Independent on March 30, 2013. The name of the judge is not reported]
May 5, 2013: Philip Ryan, in the Sunday Independent reports that the original allegations made by Sgt McCabe and John Wilson include details that some motorists, who were involved in fatal accidents, had penalty points quashed both before and after fatal accidents.
May 9, 2013: GSOC publishes a 12-page report in relation to its Boylan inquiry on its website but can’t publish its actual findings or report. The publication of the 12-page report follows the decision by the DPP – on April 23, 2013 – that no prosecutions were warranted after it received a 500-page report into the Kieran Boylan collusion allegations by GSOC in December 2012. GSOC reports ‘grave concern’ about ‘deficiencies’ in the Garda informant management system and criticises An Garda Síochána for delaying their investigation.
It states that: “Delays in access to documentation and intelligence held by the Garda Síochána were a consistent feature of this inquiry. The Ombudsman Commission, under the present protocols, is wholly reliant upon assurances from the Garda Síochána that the evidence and information they have supplied represents the totality of such information held. This leaves scope to question the completeness and independence of oversight.”
It also stated: “The Ombudsman Commission is reliant upon Garda members to access the PULSE System and other computerised intelligence systems on its behalf. The absence of any independent access to these systems again raises issues around the effectiveness of the Ombudsman Commission’s oversight investigative function.”
And it recommended that: “…the disclosure and transfer, to the Ombudsman Commission, of evidence and information belonging to, held by or in the possession of the Garda Síochána, in criminal investigations, be bolstered, either through legislation or other means, to ensure full, verifiable, timely and unredacted provision. This should include the supply of sensitive and/or informant-related intelligence to the Ombudsman Commission.”
The report also states that GSOC believes that many of the recommendations made by the Morris Tribunal remain relevant. Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan rejects the criticism and says gardaí did co-operate with GSOC.
May 9, 2013: Gemma O’Doherty, in the Irish Independent, reports that summonses for three different motoring offences were not served on Fianna Fáil’s Robert Tory, by gardaí. The three summonses related to alleged speeding in August 2011 and March 2012 and for parking on a footpath in June 2011.
May 10, 2013: Robert Troy issues a statement in relation to the summonses that weren’t served, saying: “The Minister for Justice is currently awaiting a report from the Garda Commissioner into issues concerning the application of penalty points. I welcome this process and look forward to the publication of the report. I currently have six points on my licence and if the gardaí believe that there any further outstanding cases then I will of course co-operate fully in this regard
May 10, 2013: Ian Bailey wins discovery order in the High Court. He’s suing the State alleging wrongful arrest.
May 15, 2013: An internal Garda report into the penalty point allegations led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney concludes there was no such widespread quashing of penalty points.
May 16, 2013: Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Mick Wallace appear on Prime Time to talk about the Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s penalty points report. During their discussion, Mr Shatter accuses Mr Wallace of having been stopped by the Gardaí in May 2012. Mr Shatter says Mr Wallace was on his phone while driving, saying: “Deputy Wallace himself was stopped with a mobile, on a mobile phone last May, by members of An Garda Síochána and he was advised by the guard who stopped him that a fixed ticket charge could issue and you would be, he could be given penalty points.”
May 20, 2013: Mick Wallace goes on RTÉ’s Pat Kenny Show and says he can recall an incident involving Gardaí a the Five Lamps on the North Circular Road but that he was neither stopped nor warned. Instead, he says: “I was parked at the lights and a Garda vehicle came up beside me. And I was on the phone…which I know, I was wrong, I shouldn’t have been on it. The guard..I rolled down the window, the guard rolled down his window. There was two guards there. And I said ‘oh’, I just had my hand up and they said ‘it’s OK’. And, left it at that. And we just, we made small talk after for maybe about 15/20 seconds and the lights went green and I drove on straight and they pulled out. The guards were friendly.”
Mr Wallace says he plans to make a complaint to the Standards In Public Office Commission (SIPO). He lodges a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes about the disclosure of information by Minister Shatter.
May 21, 2013: Minister Shatter tells the Dáil, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told him about Mr Wallace and the incident at the Five Lamps.
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.” [This is reported by Michael Clifford, in the Irish Examiner on February 20, 2014]
May 31, 2013: Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne writes to Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, on foot of his report, requesting that that the allegations be sent on to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, so a public interest investigation is held. Mr Byrne also says Sgt Maurice McCabe and former Garda John Wilson should have both been interviewed as part of the investigation.
[Date in the summer is unknown] It’s understood GSOC decided to take out a section of a report into Kieran Boylan out of the report, prior to publication but a couple of weeks later this section was mentioned to GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien. The person who mentioned the section was Martin Callinan. A few months previous a senior member of Garda management rang GSOC and threatened to use analysts to find out where The Sunday Times were getting their information from [John Mooney, of the Sunday Times, reported this on Tonight With Vincent Browne on February 18, 2014].
June 16, 2013: An Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission releases a report into the arrest and assault of Anthony Holness, left, which says the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ‘may wish to re-evaluate his practice regarding the recording of such calls and the consents required if it is to be permissible to use such recordings in evidence’. Justice Minister Alan Shatter later says he wasn’t made aware of this report, telling the Dáil on March, 26, 2014, that it was not sent to his department and that it was a press release. GSOC issued only eight press releases and four reports in 2013.
July 2013: A file on Fr Molloy file is sent to the DPP resulting in no charges being brought.
August 22, 2013: Former Garda John Wilson makes a statement to gardaí about his meeting with Judge Sean MacBride in the Hotel Kilmore in Cavan.
September 2013: GSOC hires UK security experts Verrimus to carry out a secret surveillance sweep of its offices in Upper Abbey Street, Dublin 1. Two ‘technical anomalies’ or security threats were discovered by Verrimus.
September 16, 2013: Broadsheet reports that group editor of the Irish Independent, The Herald and the Sunday Independent, Stephen Rae had penalty points, which were incurred on November 5, 2009, quashed.
September 20, 2013: A Justice Department senior official wrote to Sgt MCabe 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. [RTÉ reports this on February 23, 20140].
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. [On February 22, 2014, Fianna Fáil John McGuinness said on RTÉ Saturday With Claire Byrne that 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 Shatter referred 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.’
October 7, 2013: Verrimus identifies a third security threat and it’s understood the equipment used is only available to government-level agencies.
October 8, 2013: GSOC launches a public interest investigation under the Garda Síochána Act on suspicion surveillance may have originated from within the force.
[Date in late October unknown] 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 asked the Justice Department to supply him with any documents that suppoted the claim that he had not co-operated. [RTÉ reports this on February 23, 2014]
November 11, 2013: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan informs the Attorney General, Máire Whelan, about the recording of incoming and outgoing garda station calls and a working group is established to report to him on the issue.
November 20, 2013: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan appears before the Public Service Oversight and Petitions Committee in relation to GSOC’s Boylan report. Responding to claims that certain informants were run ‘off the books’, Mr Callinan said neither he nor any of his senior team was aware of gardaí bypassing the Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) system. He said: “I can assure you that, as far as I am aware, I am not aware of any such activity and if GSOC have any evidence that that is occurring I will deal with it very, very firmly. ” When asked how a person could have the oversight to catch gardaí who worked outside of CHIS, he said: “How do you cater for something you don’t know about?”.
He also said that if GSOC had any information that informants were being run ‘off the books’ then it should be passed on to him and he’d deal with it firmly.
November 21, 2013: It’s reported that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has written to the Public Accounts Committee asking for the return of a ‘box of evidence’ that a whistleblower [Sgt Maurice McCabe] gave to the chair of the committee, John McGuinness. It’s believed to contain previously undisclosed information about the alleged quashing of points and subsequent loss of revenue to the State.
November 22, 2013: The Dáil hears a debate on the Road Traffic Bill 2013. During the debate Fianna Fáil TD Timothy Dooley proposed that the maximum jail sentence for fleeing the scene of an accident causing injury would be up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to €5,000 instead of the current six months. He also proposed that the length of time a garda can test a hit-and-run suspect for alcohol and drugs be extended from three hours to 24 hours after the incident. Mr Dooley was approached by hit-and-run victim Shane O’Farrell’s family about these legislation changes. During the debate Independent TD, Finian McGrath addressed Transport Minister Leo Varadkar about how the man who killed Mr O’Farrell, 23 – and who was later acquitted of his killing – was stopped by gardaí just an hour before the hit-and-run.
Mr McGrath said: “An hour before her [Lucia O’Farrell’s] son, Shane, was killed, the particular individuals were pulled up an hour earlier at a Garda checkpoint and there was no alcohol on the driver. The driver was asked to switch as he was also uninsured. This implied that an hour earlier he was alcohol free when he murdered her son, Shane. This was not a Garda checkpoint. This was an unmarked drug squad car, sitting in a ditch that had pulled up this car as the registration was flagged on their system. No breathalyser was used, no drink test at the side of the road. They were asked then to switch the drivers and they were searched. They were waved on.”
November 25, 2013: State lawyers told the High Court there had been a “fresh and unexpected” phone traffic found during the process of discovery of material involving 16,000 documents, some electronic, in relation to Ian Bailey’s civil action against the State over allegations of wrongful arrest in relation to the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Justice John Hedigan told the State to unscramble the material, believed to be recorded phone calls, by March 25, 2014. Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas, left, are separately seeking damages for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, oppressive behaviour by gardaí and infringement of their constitutional rights.
November 27, 2013: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ordered the end of the recording of non-999 calls at garda stations nationally and the Attorney General Máire Whelan is notified of this.
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.’ [RTE reports this on February 23, 2014].
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“. [RTÉ reports this on February 23, 2014].
December [day unknown] 2013: GSOC decides to improve the security at its offices on Abbey Street, in Dublin. GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien decides not to tell Justice Minister Alan Shatter of Verrimus’ findings.
December [day unknown] 2013: GSOC decides to improve the security at its offices on Abbey Street, in Dublin. GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien decides not to tell Justice Minister Alan Shatter of Verrimus’ findings.
December 29, 2014: The Sunday Times reports that Garda whistleblower John Wilson made a complaint to the Garda Confidenital recipient Oliver Connolly, against Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan alleging that surveillance of Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas for 12 years violated their constitutional rights. With his complaint to Mr Connolly, it’s reported Mr Wilson included PULSE logs of sightings of the couple by on and off-duty gardaí. It’s also reported that Wilson never got a response to his complaint.
January 23, 2014: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan appears before the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the C&AG report in relation to the fixed charge notice system. Commissioner Callinan was accompanied by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, who carried out the internal Garda investigation into the penalty point allegations. 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.” Also during his appearance, the Commissioner describes it as ‘quite 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’.
January 23, 2014: At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, Waterford Fine Gael TD John Deasy asked Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan: “Has the Commissioner come across any evidence of deliberate non-serving of summonses by gardaí?” Mr Callinan replied: “No”. Mr Deasy also asked Commissioner Callinan: “Has the Commissioner taken disciplinary action against any garda with regard to the non-serving of summonses? Again, Mr Callinan replied: “No.” Mr Deasy then asked the Commissioner: “Has the Commissioner ever detected multiple non-serving of summonses by a particular garda?”. Mr Callinan replied: “To be fair, no. It is a volume issue. It is a difficult area for us and we accept it is a difficult area for us but we are working to try to reduce the level.”
January 24, 2014: It’s reported that Commissioner Callinan has consulted the Attorney General’s office about preventing Sgt McCabe from going before PAC.
January 28, 2014: Minister Shatter reveals that GSOC will hold a new penalty points inquiry.
January 29, 2014: GSOC’s chairman Kieran Fitzgerald says, in relation to its investigation into the quashing of penalty points, it would seek access to the Garda PULSE system. He also said he hopes the probe will get better and quicker co-operation from Garda management than in previous investigations.
January 30, 2014: Sgt Maurice McCabe gives nearly three hours of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee. He later requests a transcript of this meeting, the outcome of which is understood to be still pending.
January 30, 2014: John Mooney reports in the Sunday Times how evidence from the scene of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s murder in west Cork in December 1996 has been lost – including a gate with traces of the victim’s blood. Mr Mooney also reports that documents relating to Ian Bailey, with some explaining why Mr Bailey was being treated as a suspect, have also gone missing or been destroyed.
February 5, 2014: Independent TD Mick Wallace reads into the Dáil record a section of a transcript of a conversation between Sgt McCabe and the Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly, from February 9, 2012. Mr Wallace says: ‘It includes the following: “I’ll tell you something, Maurice, and this is just personal advice to you. If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.’ This is the second time Mick Wallace reads this into Dáil record. He first read it out on December 4, 2012.
February 2014: Gemma O’Doherty launches three cases against INM for wrongful dismissal, defamation and personal injury.
February 8, 2014: Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, writes that a complaint was made to the Garda Confidential Recipient in January 2012 against Commissioner Martin Callinan – over his intentions to promote a senior officer who was under investigation. Mr Clifford writes that the complaint against the Commissioner was given to the Commissioner to deal with. The Commissioner ‘quickly responded that the complaint had no basis’.
February 9, 2014: John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, reports there were three attempts to either spy on or bug GSOC’s offices in Dublin.
February 10-16, 2014: A team of detectives is set up to transcribe and collate hundreds of telephone conversations secretly recorded as part of the Garda investigation into the death of Sophie Toscan du Plantier [This is reported by John Mooney of The Sunday Times on March 30, 2014].
February 10, 2014: Taoiseach Enda Kenny claims that GSOC should have reported the Verrimus investigation to Minister Shatter but this is not the case. The minister holds a two-hour meeting with Mr O’Brien, who later makes a statement to say the threats could not be comprehensively explained, that ‘there was no evidence of Garda misconduct’ and that he regretted not telling Minister Shatter about the Verrimus investigation. Fine Gael/Labour coalition reject calls for an independent inquiry.
February 11, 2014: Mr O’Brien and Mr Callinan meet for two hours and both agree to move on from the incident. The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors call on Mr O’Brien to resign. Minister Shatter tells Dáil the claims of bugging were ‘baseless innuendo’. He says GSOC ‘ concluded that no definitive evidence of unauthorised technical or electronic surveillance of their offices was found. Moreover, they have informed me that their databases have not been compromised. In other words, it has not been established that the offices of the Ombudsman Commission were subject to surveillance.’ He also said: ‘There was no specific concern which caused GSOC to organise the security sweep, which was carried out by a security firm based in Britain. It was a routine sweep.’ Also in the Dáil, Enda Kenny said: ‘If you’re asking me ‘was the office bugged, what I’m saying to you, in the words of GSOC that they found, following the investigation, no evidence of sophisticated evidence of unauthorised technical or electronic surveillance of their offices found, I think that’s pretty clear.”
GSOC’s Kieran Fitzgerald goes on RTÉ’s Prime Time and says that while GSOC cannot say definitively they were under surveillance, the chance that one of the anomalies being innocent was ‘remote to zero’.
February 11, 2014: Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin, during Leader’s Questions, repeats some of what Mr Wallace read into the Dáil a week previous and some more – from the taped conversation between Sgt McCabe and Oliver Connolly on February 9, 2012.
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 12, 2014: Mr O’Brien tells the Public Service Oversight and Petitions Oireachtas Committee that he suspects GSOC was bugged and that it could have been gardaí. He tells the committee that GSOC held meetings in cafés on Capel Street in Dublin because they were afraid they were being bugged.
February 13, 2014: Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore tells the Dáil he believes no State agency was involved in any suspected GSOC bugging. On RTÉ’s Prime Time, Minister Shatter is asked why his account of events in the Dáil on February 11 was different to that given by the GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien to the Oireachtas committee on February 12, and to that of Kieran Fitzgerald on Prime Time on February 11. Mr Shatter put it down to general confusion while also insisting what he said in the Dáil was exactly what GSOC told him.
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 19, 2014: Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin says he has documents, obtained from Sgt McCabe, suggesting that gardaí failed to act on allegations of abduction, assault, murder and other serious crimes. He says he’s passed them on to the Department of the Taoiseach for full investigation.
February 19, 2014: Government appoints retired High Court Judge John Cooke to conduct the Independent Inquiry into Reports of Unlawful Surveillance of GSOC.
February 20, 2014: Minister Shatter releases a statement into the sacking of Mr Connolly, saying: “I informed him that in the context of his failure to unequivocally repudiate the content of the alleged conversation or take the necessary action to restore public confidence in the office of Confidential Recipient, I believed his position was untenable and I had no alternative but to relieve him of the position.”
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. As mentioned above, 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 has been passed on to the Taoiseach, via Fianna Fáil’s Mícheal Martin.
February 22, 2014: Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, speaking on Saturday With Claire Byrne, reveals a third whistleblower, believed to be a female Garda, is set to come forward with fresh allegations against Garda practices within the next week. Mr McGuinness also recalls the case of 23-year-old Shane O’Farrell who was killed in a hit-and-run outside Carrickmacross, Co.Monaghan on August 2, 2011 by Zigimantas Gridzuiska, 39, from Lithuania. Gridzuiska had 42 previous convictions in three different jurisdictions and was out on bail at the time of the killing. Judge Pat McCartan acquitted him of dangerous driving causing death. He was then given the choice of eight months in prison or to leave the country within 21 days. He chose to leave.
February 23, 2014: Philip Ryan, in 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 23, 2014: It’s reported that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to receive a new dossier with a further 200 files in relation to alleged Garda misconduct over the next week. The new dossier is reported to include cases involving drugs and dangerous driving offences and files being amended on the Garda computer system.
February 24, 2014: Sylvia Roche-Kelly’s husband Lorcan stars his €4m action against the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the Irish State. He claims his wife’s death was caused by neglect and default by the gardaí who dealt with Jerry McGrath before she was murdered.
February 24, 2014: Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is asked if Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s role is at risk, in light of the Garda dossier revelations and he says ‘no’.
February 24, 2014: The Irish Independent reports that email correspondence, seen by the Irish Independent, shows that Mr Shatter’s claim that Sgt McCabe didn’t cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s inquiry into the penalty point allegations was based on a briefing from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
February 24, 2014: It’s reported that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has been in contact with the female Garda whistleblower and with another male Garda whistleblower, and that the man gave Mr Martin a dossier about a murder case which he claims wasn’t dealt with properly. Mr Martin says all the details will be given to Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
February 24, 2014: Labour leader Eamon Gilmore claims Fianna Fáil’s dossier handed to Taoiseach Enda Kenny is ‘incomplete’ because appendices referred to in the dossier weren’t handed over by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin. Mr Martin calls Mr Gilmore’s claim a ‘red herring’.
February 24, 2014: Broadsheet posts: A letter sent by Sgt Maurice McCabe to Jon Leeman, of the GSOC [Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission], on October 27, 2011, after GSOC decided to discontinue its investigation into complaints made by Mary Lynch and to refer the case back to the Garda Commissioner. https://www.broadsheet.ie/2014/02/24/whistling-in-the-wind/
February 24 to March 2, 2014 [Date unknown]: Donegal councillor Frank McBrearty Jnr, who was wrongly accused of murder by gardaí, tells Justice Minister Alan Shatter about John Wilson’s complaint concerning Judge MacBride.
February 25, 2014: Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces that he has appointed criminal lawyer Seán Guerin SC to investigate the allegations raised by Sgt Maurice McCabe since 2008 with hopes that Mr Guerin will report back to Mr Kenny by Easter. Mr Kenny tells the Dáil:
“The Government today made three decisions. First, we approved an amendment to the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013, currently before the House, which will enable serving gardaí to bring complaints directly to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Second, we decided that pending the enactment of this legislation, an interim confidential recipient will be appointed to receive complaints from serving gardaí. The Minister for Justice and Equality was mandated to proceed with the required consultation with those who have to be consulted so that an appointment can proceed quickly. Third, we decided to appoint Mr. Seán Guerin SC, an experienced and respected criminal lawyer to conduct an assessment of the various issues and allegations that have been raised by Sergeant Maurice McCabe since 2008.
Mr Kenny also tells the Dáil that 11 of 12 allegations have already been investigated, saying:
“12 distinct allegations were made in respect of a superintendent. The Secretary General sought a report, which was received four days later. A reply was received by the end of January of last year. In that reply, which was quite extensive, the Garda Commissioner outlined how 11 of the 12 allegations had already been made through the confidential recipient system and had been thoroughly investigated in an investigation headed by an assistant Garda commissioner and a chief superintendent. The report of that investigation, together with all the supporting documentation, was presented in ten volume files to the DPP. After considering the material, the DPP directed that no prosecution should be pursued, on the basis that no criminality was disclosed against any member. That is the decision of the DPP’s office, which is completely independent of the Oireachtas.”
February 25, 2014: RTÉ News website reports that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ‘wrote to Sergeant Maurice McCabe 14 months ago and told him to co-operate with the [Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney] inquiry’ without direct quotes. Later, on RTE’s Six One News repeats the report that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan directed Sgt Maurice McCabe to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney on December 14, 2012. 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: It’s reported that the State is to apply to have murdered Syliva Roche Kelly’s husband Lorcan Kelly’s €4m claim against Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and the State struck out on the grounds that there is no reasonable cause of action and that it ‘constitutes an abuse of process’. The High Court sets May 26, 2014 as the date to hear the State’s application for the dismissal.
February 26, 2014: Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner reports on the RTÉ News website story, saying: “A call to the Garda Press Office confirmed the commissioner had not issued any statement.”
February 26, 2014: In the Dáil, Independent TD Róisín Shorthall asks Justice Minister Alan Shatter about Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s ‘disgusting’ comment in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson. She asks: “What is the Minister’s view of that comment? Does he agree with it? If not, is he prepared to take this opportunity to disassociate himself from that assessment of the two gardaí?”
Minister Shatter replies:
“I do not know the context of the comment made by the Commissioner. I am conscious that Sergeant McCabe raised serious issues, including in regard to ticket charges. In a number of areas he has been proved correct, and in a number of areas he has been proved incorrect. I also know that he has alleged that a variety of members of An Garda Síochána are corrupt. There has been widespread currency given to these allegations outside this House. He has conducted himself in a manner which if any other member of the force had so behaved would give rise to uproar in this House. We now know that he secretly taped a conversation with a senior officer, a transcript of which has been published and was referenced today in the House. I would think there are concerns in this area.”
He later adds:
“I also believe it is important that those who make allegations have the evidence to substantiate them. They should not make allegations that are unsubstantiated and they should behave lawfully. I am not going tocomment on what the Deputy is putting to me because I do not know the context in which the Commissioner made that comment. I have not read the transcript and I am not a member of that committee.”
Later, in relation to the matter of Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson and the O’Mahony report, Justice Minister Alan Shatter told the Dáil:
“I said in the House that I expected that Sergeant McCabe would be engaged with the investigation and I expected that he would be interviewed. I also made reference to a matter on which other Members of the House are taking a different view. In the context of what is referred to as “the direction”, he clearly was not directed to engage but he was invited to engage with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony.”
February 26, 2014: Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness tells the Dáil:
“Lucia O’Farrell and her husband Jim have asked that the Minister would consider that case and what happened to them. I appeal to the Minister to now address the matter because I know he has the papers – he has acknowledged them. In the past 18 months Lucia O’Farrell has received no response bar acknowledgements. She is calling on the Minister to consider the case she is making regarding the death of her son. I am appealing to the Minister today to do precisely that not only for her but for the many other cases in which people and families believe they did not get recognition, due process or justice. This is not politics, it is a Member of this Parliament appealing to the Minister for Justice and Equality to investigate. I would appreciate it if the Minister took note of that after he has finished whispering to Deputy Buttimer.
The next matter I wish to address is the independence of the confidential recipient. The Minister referred in a statement this morning to a sexual harassment case in the Garda as if it was the only case – that is what the lady concerned has picked up – but it is not the only case. There is another case that has been processed through all of the available procedures in place but it has got nowhere. I question the fact that the Minister sacked the confidential recipient rather than keep him in place until this matter has been fully dealt with. I would like to have asked the confidential recipient why he said to the lady that the last man who used the service was now washing cars in Navan.”
He later added:
“The garda then went on to ask the confidential recipient to process the complaint, questioned the fact that nothing was happening and then asked for an update on the position. I would like to ask the confidential recipient whether he said to her that it had gone too high to cover it up and that it had to be investigated. He then suggested to her not to forget his proximity to the Minister and not to think that he had not had a word in his ear. I am simply repeating to the Minister what the garda has said.”
February 28, 2014: It’s reported that Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins has asked the Justice, Defence and Equality Committee to invite sacked Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly to come before it. It comes a day after Justice Minister Alan Shatter said it was a ‘complete mystery’ to him as to why Mr Connolly told Sgt Maurice McCabe “if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.
February 28, 2014: It’s reported that the female Garda whistleblower, who has asked to remain anonymous, was subjected to 10 years of sexual harassment. Senan Molony, in the Irish Daily Mail, reports: “The female garda had gone to see Mr Connolly after preliminary emails and contacts as a result of an alleged decade-long campaign of sexual harassment against her. The woman said she was stopped in her tracks by Mr Connolly’s claim, made at a private meeting in a Dublin hotel in March 2012. She said: ‘He was perfectly serious. He looked me in the face and said it. I didn’t see any reason he would say it to me if it wasn’t true. That was said on the very first occasion he met me.’ She said she fully believed it was possible that the man who he said was washing cars could come forward and identify himself. There was no hint of it being a metaphor. ‘I am just another of these poor unfortunates who has been crushed [while] trying to tell the truth,’ she said. The female garda of 20 years, who asked to be referred to as Catherine, said yesterday: ‘I feel under pressure now it has come out. It’s not easy walking in my shoes. I don’t have anybody to talk to.’ It is understood she transferred stations but that the alleged sexual harassment against her continued.”
February 28, 2014: The Garda Inspectorate report into the operation of the penalty points system is sent to Justice Minister Alan Shatter.
February 28, 2014: The Department of Justice is formally advised that recordings of conversations related to Ian Bailey’s civil action had emerged [This is reported by John Mooney of The Sunday Times on March 30, 2014].
March 1, 2014: Philip Ryan, in the Irish Independent, reports that the Justice4All group, organised by TDs Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, Mick Wallace, Clare Daly and Joan Collins, sent 24 signed affidavits from victims of crime who believe they’ve been treated unfairly by the State’s justice system to Justice Minister on October 14, 2014.
March 3, 2014: It’s reported that Sgt Maurice 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’Mahony’s penalty points inquiry.
March 4, 2014: Sacked Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly issues a four-page statement saying he has a duty not to disclose, acknowledge, or otherwise comment about anything reported to him by a garda. He said he told the Secretary General of the Department of Justice “when invited to repudiate the alleged transcript” that “I should not have been required to validate and I shall not validate, either by way of confirmation or repudiation, the contents of an alleged transcript unlawfully procured”. In his statement, Mr Connolly also says “The Minister is often misunderstood, and strange as it may seem to some, despite recent events, I remain an enthusiastic supporter of the Minister in his programme of reform.” It also emerges that Mr Connolly says he’s “uncertain” about going before the Oireachtas justice committee to discuss the whistleblower controversy.
March 6, 2014: Former Garda John Wilson organises a rally in support of Sgt Maurice McCabe outside Mullingar Garda Station in Co. Westmeath – where Sgt McCabe is stationed. Some 150 people attend the rally.
March 9, 2014: In an interview with Philip Ryan of the Sunday Independent, the Garda Inspectorate Chief Inspector Bob Olson says he never received a whistleblower report from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, as is required by law.
Mr Ryan reports: ”Legislation states that once the Garda Commissioner receives a complaint from the confidential recipient he is required to get the complainant’s permission to forward the allegation to Mr Olson’s office. However, the commissioner is not supposed to know the garda’s identity because the system for reporting malpractice protects their anonymity. Mr Olson said the “logical” thing for the commissioner to do is contact the confidential recipient, who could in turn seek the whistleblower’s permission to send the allegations of malpractice to the inspectorate’s office. But his office has never received a single whistleblower report, Mr Olson claimed.”
March 10, 2014: Mr Callinan writes to the Department of Justice General Secretary Brian Purcell informing him of the practice of recording incoming and outgoing telephone calls in garda stations. It later emerges that this letter contains details of recordings between gardaí in Bandon Garda Station and Marie Farrell. Ms Farrell was a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case. In 2012, she told TV3 she was forced to perjure herself by gardaí in order to incriminate Ian Bailey. She had previously told a 2003 libel trial that she had seen Mr Bailey the night Ms du Plantier died but retracted her evidence in 2005. The letter requested Mr Purcell to inform Minister Shatter of recordings between Marie Farrell and members of the gardaí. In his letter, Mr Callinan says the Attorney General’s office was informed of the matter four months previous and that transcripts were forwarded to the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Justice [Details of Martin Callinan’s letter is reported by RTÉ This Week on March 30, 2014].
March 10 to 16, 2014 (Date unknown): Transcripts of relevant conversations pertaining to Ian Bailey are given to his and and his partner Jules Thomas’ lawyers.
March 10, 2014: Lawyers representing the State in the case taken by Ian Bailey and his partner Jules Thomas meet officials from the Department of Justice to discuss the implications of the recordings.
March 11, 2014: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, the Attorney General Máire Whelan, members of the Department of Justice and the office of the chief state solicitor’s office hold a meeting on the matter of the garda recordings specifically those pertaining to Ian Bailey. Alan Shatter didn’t attend the meeting and later says he wasn’t made aware of it before he left for Mexico for his St Patrick’s Day jaunt on March 15.
March 11, 2014: In the Dáil, Justice Minister Alan Shatter is questioned by United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly and Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn about former garda John Wilson’s allegations that gardaí have placed Traveller children on PULSE, some as young as 16 days old. It follows a letter of complaint Mr Wilson sent to Garda management on the matter in October 2011. Minister Shatter replies:
“The management of the PULSE system is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. While An Garda Síochána does not comment on individual cases, I am informed by the Commissioner that PULSE does not solely capture information on offenders, but is also used to store information on Garda interactions with individuals, whether adults or children, such as victims of crime, persons injured in road traffic accidents and child welfare incidents.
All persons are subject to the same PULSE recording policy and procedures.
I have also been assured by the Garda Commissioner that the Garda Síochána does not engage in ethnic profiling, and specifically that it does not engage in data gathering or data mining based upon discriminatory profiling in respect of race, colour, language, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin, ethnicity or membership of the Traveller community.”
March 12, 2014: The Garda Inspectorate report is published. The damning report finds there were widespread breaches of policy by some gardaí charged with administering the penalty points system. In relation to the matter of summonses not being served, it found that in 2011 and 2012, 93,000 summonses were not served, resulting in a minimum loss to the Exchequer of €7.4million.
March 14, 2014: Following the Garda Inspectorate report into penalty points, Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he has confidence in Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
March 15, 2014: In a letter to the Irish Times, Labour’s Robert Dowds, TD; Anne Ferris, TD; Sean Kenny, TD; Gerald Nash, TD; Derek Nolan, TD, Senator Ivana Bacik, TD; and Senator Susan O’Keeffe, call for a greater debate on Garda accountability and oversight, claiming the current system is not working. It also expressed the politicians’ concerns about how Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is only held to account by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in ‘private’.
March 16, 2014: On Lyric FM, Road Safety Authority Chairman Gay Byrne says Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter should apologise to Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, saying it’s the ‘right thing to do’. He said both men and been ‘grossly wronged’.
March 19, 2014: The Garda Commissioner’s office contacts the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes to get advice on whether gardaí should destroy the tapes pertaining to Ian Bailey, and others, but is warned not to.
March 19, 2014: The DPP Clare Loftus meets with the Garda Commissioner to discuss the recordings of incoming and outgoing telephone Garda station phone calls.
March 20, 2014: Attorney General Máire Whelan formally instructs the Garda Síochána not to destroy the garda station recordings after learning the legal affairs section of the Garda Commissioner’s office contacted the Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes about destroying the tapes. It’s believed Ms Whelan didn’t know about the working group set up to report to Garda Commissioner about the recordings [This is reported by Geraldine Kennedy in the Irish Times on March 31, 2014].
March 20, 2014: At a Road Safety Authority conference in Dublin Castle 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: In response to Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar’s call for Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his ‘disgusting’ remark, Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells reporters in Brussels: “I’d certainly have a preference that if any minister who has an issue to raise that they raise it at the Cabinet or raise it where we could have discussions and deal with them, rather than have them aired in public.”
March 21, 2014: After former Garda John Wilson has emergency surgery for bowel cancer, his wife Anne Wilson tells Pat Kenny on Newstalk that she believes the stress Mr Wilson has endured over the previous few years, in relation to his attempts to bring Garda malpractice to light, has contributed to his cancer.
March 21, 2014: It’s reported that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan will not withdraw his ‘disgusting’ comment about the whistleblowers. The Irish Examiner reports: “When asked if Mr Callinan would withdraw the “disgusting” comment, the Garda press office would only state that he had “clarified” the term last week, saying it was not used in reference to the character of the two men, but “the manner in which personal and sensitive data was inappropriately appearing in the public domain without regard to due process and fair procedures”.”
March 21, 2014: Labour Education Minister Ruairi Quinn calls on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his remarks about the whistleblowers in order to ‘end the controversy’. Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton say it would be ‘helpful’ if his comments are withdrawn.
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 backed 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 23, 2014: Gemma O’ Doherty in the Sunday Times writes that the two children of Caroline Dunne, a Traveller who lives in Cork, were placed on the PULSE system after Ms Dunne went to a garda station to get passport forms signed in 2011. Ms Dunne’s children, Francis and Mary, were aged two and one at the time. Ms Dunne first learned about her children being on PULSE when Ms O’Doherty told her. Ms Dunne later calls for a meeting with Justice Minister Alan Shatter to discuss the matter.
March 23, 2014: Attorney General Máire Whelan informs Taoiseach Enda Kenny of the practice of recording incoming and outgoing Garda station phone calls. On March 23, Mr Kenny rang her about something else and she said she had a matter to discuss with him but wouldn’t tell him what it concerned over the phone. She later told him that evening.
March 24, 2013: Justice Minister Alan Shatter is told of the practice of recording phone conversations at Garda stations and Shatter is told of the Ian Bailey tapes. There is a meeting held in the Taoiseach’s office involving Shatter, Enda Kenny, Brian Purcell, the secretary general of the Department of Justice, and Martin Fraser, a senior civil servant. Kenny sends Purcell to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s home to talk about the Government’s unease about ‘recent events’.
Mr Callinan is also informed of the Government’s decision to hold a commission of inquiry into the garda station recordings with 2,500 tapes believed to be in
March 25, 2014: Just before a Cabinet meeting, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan steps down from his role after being in An Garda Síochána for 41 years , saying: ‘In the best interests of An Garda Síochána and my family, I have decided to retire.’ Several hours later, according to a statement made by Justice Minister Alan Shatter to the Dáil a few days later, Minister Shatter receives the March 10 letter from Mr Callinan. Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces that he has set up a Commission of Inquiry to examine the widespread recording of incoming and outgoing phone calls at Garda stations across Ireland, over approximately 30 years, up until November 2013.
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 the two whistleblowers didn’t cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony’s report into the quashing of penalty points. In his statement to the Dáil, Minister Shatter said:
March 26, 2014: Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin accuses Taoiseach Enda Kenny of effectively sacking Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. In the Dáil, Mr Martin says: “You essentially sacked him. You sent a senior civil servant out to the commissioner the day before the cabinet meeting.”
March 26, 2014: It emerges that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has launched an investigation into allegations that gardaí have been secretly reading journalists’ phone records. The Guardian reports how Sunday World journalist Nicola Tallant received a letter from GSOC saying it was investigating her allegations that copies of her 02 mobile phone records have been seized over four years. The letter says GSOC will deal with her complaints as a criminal investigation. Ms Tallant tells The Guardian: “I am 100% certain that my O2 records have been seized and read by Gardai. And I am prepared to speak publicly to any inquiry the government has established and be questioned about this. This all began in April 2010, I understand, after I started investigating corrupt practices in the Garda witness protection programme for the Sunday World newspaper. I do not believe regular rank and file Gardai are involved in this but rather an elite group of people at the top who just do this kind of thing because they can.”
March 31, 2014: Justice Minister Alan Shatter is told that telephone calls between prisoners and solicitors have been recorded.
April 1, 2014: Taoiseach Enda Kenny tells the Dáil that telephone calls between prisoners and their solicitors were recorded. He said Mr Shatter is seeking a report from the prison service. Mr Kenny told the Dáil some 84 prisoners but a statement released by Irish Prison Service later states the number of inmates affected is 139 and that that figure may rise. It’sthe calls were inadvertently recorded by a system installed in July 2010 when secretary general of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell was head of the Irish Prison Service.
Sources: Sunday Times, Irish Examiner, The Phoenix,, The Journal, Village magazine, RTÉ, Sunday Independent, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Daily Mail, Irish Mail on Sunday, TV3, Newstalk, Today FM and Oireacthas.ie.
Previously: The Thin Blue Timeline