From top: Michael Flahive, of the Department of Justice; Frances Fitzgerald with William Lavelle in 2011; Yesterday’s Irish Mail on Sunday (click to enlarge)

The Irish Mail on Sunday analysed the email sent to Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald at the centre of the current political crisis.

Michael Flahive, the Department of Justice assistant secretary, sent the email to Christopher Quattrociocchi, Ms Fitzgerald’s private secretary, on Friday, May 15, 2015, at 4.57pm.

Mr Flahive also sent it to three other people: the Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters, the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary and principal officer (policing) Martin Power.

In the email, Mr Flahive said he received a call from Richard Barrett, Deputy Secretary General in the Office of the Attorney General, and that, according to Mr Barrett, a disagreement had taken place at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation between the legal counsel for Sgt Maurice McCabe and the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

Mr Flahive claims Mr Barrett told him this occurred because the counsel for Ms O’Sullivan wanted to introduce a complaint that the 2006 investigation into Ms D’s ‘dry humping’ allegation against Sgt McCabe wasn’t investigated properly.

Mr Flahive outlined that Michael McDowell, SC for Sgt McCabe, objected to this being raised and asked if Ms O’Sullivan had authorised the argument that this claim was relevant to Sgt McCabe’s motivation.

Mr Flahive explained that Mr Barrett said Ms O’Sullivan had authorised this approach.

As can be seen from the email, within around seven minutes of receiving this email, Mr Quattrociocchi forwarded it to three people, including Ms Fitzgerald.

The other two people were Ms Fitzgerald’s special advisors William Lavelle, a Fine Gael councillor, and Marion Mannion.

On Tuesday night, Sgt McCabe told Taoiseach Leo Varadkar the alleged events outlined in this email never happened and that the transcripts of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation will prove this.

Sgt McCabe also told the Taoiseach that what was at issue at the commission, on May 15, 2015,  was the fact he had been accused of wanting the DPP’s directions – in respect of a ‘dry humping’ allegation in 2006 – overturned.

Sgt McCabe explained to Mr Varadkar that this couldn’t possibly have been the case as he was very pleased with the DPP’s directions and had no desire for them to be overturned.

In any event…

Ms Fitzgerald was Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, which oversees Tusla, from March 2011 until May 7, 2014 – when the then Minister for Justice Alan Shatter resigned.

Ms Fitzgerald became Minister for Justice from May 8, 2014.

The Disclosures Tribunal has already heard that, in May 2015, she received a lengthy report from GSOC which stated the 2006 investigation into Ms D’s complaint was carried out correctly.

Readers will recall Ms D made her retrospective ‘humping’ complaint in December 2006, 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.”

Mr Hayden verbally briefed Sgt McCabe of the full DPP’s instructions but Sgt McCabe didn’t tell anyone this.

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.

On April 30, 2014, Tusla social worker Laura Connolly allegedly 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 said she was aware the 2006 allegation had already been sent to the gardai and DPP had ordered for no charges to be brought.

Ms Connolly combined 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 was making against Sgt McCabe.

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, Supt Leo McGinn, the district officer in Bailieboro, wrote a letter to Chief Superintendent James (Jim) Sheridan with Ms Connolly’s botched referral attached.

It was May 6, 2014, a day before Supt McGinn received Ms Connolly’s referral, when Sean Guerin SC recommended that a Commission of Investigation be held into Sgt McCabe’s complaints.

This gave rise to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Ms Fitzgerald, in May 2015, received the aforementioned report from GSOC after a complaint was made by Ms D, which was discussed at the Disclosures Tribunal when Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams gave evidence.

When Ms D gave a statement to GSOC, on July 3, 2014, Ms D told GSOC Mr Williams told her senior members of An Garda Siochana and Government were aware of her allegations.

When asked about this, Mr Williams said it was a “throwaway remark” that the then head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor said to him and that he later relayed it to Ms D.

Readers may recall Ms D’s father also made a statement to GSOC.

When they gave their statements, neither Ms D nor Mr D told GSOC about the “monumental cock-up” by RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy and Tusla in relation to the elevation of a ‘dry humping’ allegation to an allegation of rape.

The Disclosures Tribunal has already heard that, after looking at Ms D’s complaint, GSOC reported, in May 2015:

“GSOC established that Inspector Noel Cunningham carried out appropriate inquiries and uncovered no evidence of any criminality on the part of him in the investigation or any other Gardaí and how the investigation was conducted.”

Readers should note Marion Mannion was seconded from Tusla to the Department of Justice on May 8, 2014.

William Lavelle was re-elected to South Dublin County Council in 2014 and would have held this position when he received the email.

And Martin Power has “responsibility at Principal Officer level for ensuring support for the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and the Garda Síochana Inspectorate to enable them to carry out their mandates”.

Earlier: The People Have Spoken

‘Stuff That Would Make The Hair Stand On Your Head’

Previously: Unredacted

Meanwhile…That email and the Department of Justice (Katie Hannon, RTÉ)



The Attorney General’s office did not provide Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald with legal advice in 2015 when it contacted her then department about a legal dispute relating to the treatment of Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission, RTÉ News has learned.

….This evening, the Department of Justice confirmed to RTÉ News that the contact from the Attorney General’s office was for information purposes only and “not legal advice”.

Politicians on the Government side have defended Ms Fitzgerald claiming she could not have intervened on the basis of what they said was the Attorney General’s legal advice at the time.

There you go now.

Attorney General’s office ‘did not provide legal advice’ to Tánaiste (John Burke, RTÉ)



Oh dear.

51 thoughts on “A Closer Look

    1. Dinger

      If this mess removes Paul Williams from newstalk breakfast show it’ll all be worth it. There’ll be no more ‘scumbags out to exploit the vulnerable’ spin when they’re actually talking about the most mundane nonsense

      1. Twunt

        He is the most insufferable bore in broadcasting. I cannot listen to the breakfast show while he is on.

  1. GiggidyGoo

    The plot is getting thicker and thicker. Or should I say, the thicks are getting plottier and plottier. So FitzGerald promoted from Tusla responsibilities to Justice. That keeps the status quo (basically the lid on) Sgt. McCabe issue. She would have the complete picture over many years. She would have dealt with it during Shatters and Callinans time.
    Too much above to repeat. The outcome of Varadkar and Martin’s soujourns will be watched closely.
    Enda Kenny ain’t blameless.

  2. Gringo

    This debauchery is the result of years of bad behaviour by the Dept. of justice and the garda top brass. Both the Failures and the Blueshirts will now conspire to kill this story and keep that bunch of clowns out of jail, where they surely deserve to be.

    1. GiggidyGoo

      Michéal Martin is skating on very thin ice now within his own party. One March to the top of the hill and back down again too much if that is what he does. The backbenchers are getting very nervous. I mean, who would trust such a modus operandum? They go to the polls say later next year, and we get FF promises? Up the hill, down the hill.
      Time to s… or get off the pot Michéal.

  3. Charger Salmons

    Sadly,and you probably might expect me to say this,the police in Ireland have a terrible reputation abroad.
    Often it comes down to something mundane like the spokesman put up for television interview in a major investigation is often some deadbeat in a peaked cap and uniform who looks like he should be directing traffic.They never look very detective-y.
    The Guards’ seeming inability to properly investigate major corruption,fraud and even Republican activity is perceived as a mixture of incompetence and corruption.
    The whole issue of fake breathalyzer numbers just make them look like the Keystone Kops most of the time.
    Even the one or two decent cops I know express helplessness at a system where nepotism and favours are the rules and not the rules themselves.
    The fact that the entire state seems arraigned against a single honest copper is an extraordinary sight to behold.
    More worryingly the Fourth Estate,with few exceptions such as BS and Mick Clifford,seemed all too willing to gobble up the lies being fed to them.
    Sad times for the good cops.

      1. Warden of the Snort

        Like Farage, sadly he’s right about a lot of things

        buffoons like Nigel prefer to just shout racist and chant slogans and point fingers about one off hand comment he made about the humphreys case because actually engaging with his substantive points as many are doing would be doing actual work

        1. Nigel

          I know! You have one – sorry two – sorry now three – goes at a victim of a paedophile rapist and SOME people never let you forget it! So unfair! But you’re right, seriously, the paedoophile-apologist fake/real/who-knows Brexit racist fascist clown has some good points. Well said.

      2. Charger Salmons

        I just do the knockabout stuff to keep my hand in.
        This is too serious to joke about.I know people who have been the victims of police incompetence.

    1. bertie blenkinsop

      I’m no apologist for the guards but…
      Birmingham Six
      Guildford Four
      Miners strike

      Your boys make ours look positively saintly.

      1. Charger Salmons

        There is a difference.All those events happened decades ago.
        All were thoroughly investigated and bent coppers were prosecuted.
        Inquiries that went on years actually produced results instead of making lawyers millions and being kicked into touch.
        What’s making this country look a joke is happening now.

        1. Warden of the Snort

          Well I’m not sure there have been any repercussions for those who warped justice in the Guildford Four or Birmingham Six cases, would you care to elaborate on what if any prosecutions were brought on those who perpetrated those particular appalling vistas?

          1. Charger Salmons

            This may shock you to hear this but not everyone is convinced of the innocence of all those involved.
            And the IRA has certainly never provided names of the guilty to free those who were.
            Let’s call it a 1-1 draw.

          1. Charger Salmons

            I don’t recall a police corruption case threatening to bring down the government of the day because a minister is alleged to have conspired to smear a police officer.

            Do you ?

          2. Brother Barnabas

            Because incidents of corruption in the UK rarely come to the surface. That’s a not a good thing, but the way.

            From the last HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report (2016):

            “Nearly half of 17,200 officers and staff surveyed said that if they discovered corruption among their colleagues and chose to report it, they didn’t believe their evidence would be treated in confidence and would fear ‘adverse consequences’. This appalling lack of protection for whistle-blowers — often amounting to persecution — has become commonplace throughout the public services and creates a climate in which dishonesty and malpractice flourish.”

            There’s little to celebrate in that nation of shopkeepers, chump.

          3. Charger Salmons

            So no,you can’t recall such an incident.
            At least show some humility when you’ve been called out,Maris Piper.

    2. Brother Barnabas

      “a terrible reputation abroad”

      What would a limey chav know about what people abroad think?!

      You’re only halfway to sobering up when you touch down in Stansted after your fortnight in Magaluf like the rest of your compadres.

  4. Charger Salmons

    Jesus – now there are three emails received by Fitzgerald.
    She needs the strongest fingertips in Dublin this evening.

  5. Charger Salmons

    I suppose the questions for Socks Verruca now are

    1. Did you know about the three emails before giving your unequivocal support for Fitzgerald ?
    2. If you did why did you do it ?
    3. If you didn’t why didn’t you wait until the DoJ document trawl had finished before going out on a limb ?

    This clown’s incompetence is beginning to show now and even if Fitzgerald does the honourable thing and falls on her sword his reputation is badly damaged.
    He’ll have less of a swagger in his step next time he’s catwalking in Brussels – if there is a next time.

    1. Steph Pinker

      Charger, ether way, Varadkar is going to end up smelling of roses, and that’s all that matters to him. BTW, I like your sardonic interpretation(s) and your attention to detail, notwithstanding that, you make many valid points which are lost as a result of your aforementioned style of writing, and your attitude towards others on BS; more to the point, though, I don’t think you’re trolling.

      1. Charger Salmons

        I call it gonzo posting.It’s hit and miss sometimes but mostly in between the serious stuff it makes me laugh.
        Too many pompous prodnoses on here puffed up with their own self-importance.
        A fair amount of hypocrites too. Happy to dish out the anti-English racism but gather up their underskirts and shriek in horror like a grand dame who’s seen a rat at the first mention of a potato !
        Spudtastic !

        1. Listrade

          As a fan of Hunter S Thompson I object to the use of Gonzo. Especially when used in reference to poo posting.

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