From top: Supt Noel Cunningham, solicitor at Chief State Solicitor’s office Annemarie Ryan, Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy
At the Disclosures Tribunal.
The current witness Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy is being asked, among other matters, about the provenance of the Chief State Solicitor’s letter which was given to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation on the morning of May 18, 2015 – after Judge Kevin O’Higgins asked counsel for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to set out in writing what exactly her counsel were going to put to Sgt Maurice McCabe after a legal row broke out on May 15, 2015.
Readers will recall that an allegation made in paragraph 19 of the CSS letter – about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – was proven to be false by a tape recording produced by Sgt McCabe which was sorted out on June 24, 2015.
The paragraph stated:
“Having been appointed to investigate Sergeant McCabe’s complaint against Superintendent Clancy, now Superintendent Noel Cunningham, having attempted on a number of occasions to meet with Sergeant McCabe, eventually met with Sergeant McCabe by appointment on the 25th August 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station, to receive details of his formal complaint.
“Superintendent Cunningham was accompanied to this meeting by Sergeant Yvonne Martin. Notes were taken at the meeting and countersigned by Sergeant Martin and a detailed report of the meeting was prepared by Superintendent Cunningham, and its contents agreed with Sergeant Martin and forwarded to Chief Superintendent Rooney. In the course of this meeting Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.”
Chief Supt Healy has told the tribunal this morning that the wrong claim arose out of consultations between gardai and their counsel on May 12 and May 13, 2015 during which counsel were asking gardai ‘what triggered all of this’ ahead of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.
Readers should note that, on June 11, 2015, when submissions were made to the commission, on the part of the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and senior gardai, this claim was repeated – more explicitly.
The submissions even went further, stating that “evidence” would be given in respect of this.
The submission stated:
“It is understood that Superintendent Cunningham and Sergeant Martin will give evidence that Sergeant McCabe said at this meeting that the complaint which he had made was a bid by him to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him and to the complaining party. This is recorded in a report of the meeting prepared jointly by Sergeant Martin and Superintendent Cunningham.”
Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, asked Chief Supt Fergus Healy this morning, if the submissions of June 2015 were submitted on behalf of the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and other senior gardai and if they had been signed off by Ms O’Sullivan and other various clients.
Chief Supt Healy was also asked what Ms O’Sullivan knew at this point and she told the tribunal that she knew what he told her, which was that there had been consultations between gardai and counsel and that, at those consultations, counsel were told Sgt McCabe’s request for DPP directions to be given to D family was refused and that that was “linchpin” for “all these issues”.
On June 24, 2015, when Supt Cunningham gave evidence at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, after Sgt McCabe’s tape was produced, Supt Cunningham told Sean Gillane SC, for the commission, that his notes and report matched Sgt McCabe’s tape.
Further to this.
Yesterday, just as solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office was finishing giving evidence, she had the following exchange with Ellen Gleeson BL, for Colm Smyth SC, Michael MacNamee BL, and Garret Byrne BL.
Ellen Gleeson: “Ms. Ryan, I think you indicated, Mr. McDowell asked you earlier to confirm that it was only when the record of the Mullingar meeting came to light that the error in the letter of the 18th of May was revealed?”
Annemarie Ryan: “That is correct.”
Gleeson: “But in fact, I think you had handed in to the Commission and I think also to Sergeant McCabe’s team, as I understand it, Noel Cunningham’s report of the September 2008 with the letter of the 18th May, you had made that available, I think you said earlier in your evidence on day 42, at page 140, that you had handed in those enclosures, including that report on that date?”
Ryan: “Yes. The 18th May 2015, I recall Mr. O’Hagan [solicitor for the commission] wanted the letter immediately and, as I said, I was late for other reasons getting over there, out of my control, and I gave the letter over, I was then copying the documentation, there was three documents and they followed within a couple of minutes, and the hearings commenced and I do recall a part — and then a copy of it I was directed to give it to Maurice McCabe’s legal team. My notes show I gave over three copies and with the letter, with the documentation and no other party received that letter or documentation.”
Gleeson: “Thank you. And the September 2008 letter, of course, referred to the complaint being to Superintendent Clancy, isn’t that right?”
Gleeson: “And would you agree, therefore, that the September 2008 report, which revealed that mistake in relation to the complaint against Clancy, was made available to everyone by your clients before the transcript of the Mullingar meeting was provided by Sergeant McCabe?”
Ryan: “Yes, it was. I received it directly from the clients that morning of the 18th of May 2015.”
The tribunal has now heard the claim that Supt Cunningham’s report of the August 2008 meeting – which matched Sgt McCabe’s tape – was given to Sgt McCabe’s counsel on the morning of May 18, 2015, along with the CSS letter which contradicted the tape.
This would appear to be confusing.
Why then, did the Mr Smyth, SC, for former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Supt Cunningham, put the wrong claim to Sgt McCabe when they had the following exchange on the afternoon of May 18, 2015 – if it was known that Supt Cunningham’s notes didn’t match the CSS letter and, as a consequence, contradicted the very allegation that Mr Smyth put to Sgt McCabe?
Smyth: In the course of that [August 2008] meeting, Sergeant, you advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason you made a complaint against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow you to have the full authority directions conveyed to you?
McCabe: “That is absolutely false.”
#DisclosuresTribunal hears Supt Cunningham stood down from O’Higgins Comm as his report of meeting in Mullingar WASN’T given to McCabe counsel on May 19, 2015. But yest counsel for Colm Smyth SC told tribunal NC’s report WAS given to McCabe’s counsel on morning of May 18
— broadsheet_ie (@broadsheet_ie) January 19, 2018