From left: Conor Brady; Judge Peter Charleton
During the Disclosures Tribunal, Judge Peter Charleton repeatedly called out for journalists, or anyone else, with any knowledge of any smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe to come forward and make it known to the tribunal.
The judge made a specific appeal after editor of The Irish Mirror John Kierans gave evidence, and told how it was his understanding that former Garda Press Officer Supt Dave Taylor had “peddled” the story about Sgt McCabe and Ms D to various newsrooms in Dublin in early 2014.
Judge Charleton said:
“I would be grateful if the message would go forth through whatever media are present in the room, there is actually a duty on people who actually know something about this to come forward.
“I made that plea back in February 2017, and here is yet another variation of people not coming forward, perhaps, perhaps suppressing matters, here is a view being expressed in relation to a situation where an individual has completely waived their privilege.
“If people say they have a privilege but they know something, I would much rather know that, than for them to simply, if it is the case, sit in their office blocks and not come to the Tribunal and not communicate. There is a website. You can communicate. There is a phone line. It is manned. It will be manned indeed all day on Saturday.
“This matter is coming close to an end. And I regard it as not a legal obligation, but much, much more serious than that: a patriotic obligation of people who know something to come forward so that the people of Ireland aren’t left in the daft situation that people who know things in the journalistic profession have not come forward to speak, but, nonetheless, will be able to write articles about what happened to them in the aftermath of the Tribunal report appearing.
“Now, in the event that that happens, the people of Ireland will no doubt take their own view as to the credibility of the persons who do that and that may indeed cause damage to the media outlets who may be involved in this, and I don’t know if they are or not, much worse than any libel action on earth; in other words, people simply stop trusting journalists.
“And it is important that they do, because journalists fulfil an extremely important function within our society and one which personally I value very highly.”
In yesterday’s The Sunday Times…
Former Garda Ombudsman Conor Brady, in an opinion piece about An Garda Síochána, wrote:
Many gardai passed on the word to whoever would listen that McCabe was a “bad one”. A businessman friend of mine was told this by a superintendent on the golf course.
One senior official solemnly assured me, in the company of others, that there was a “whole other side” to McCabe.
Mr Brady did not appear as a witness at the Disclosures Tribunal.
In a statement to Broadsheet, a spokesman for the Disclosures Tribunal said:
‘The tribunal wishes to advise, Mr Brady never contacted the tribunal and or/gave us a statement and we were not aware of this information.
Mr Brady was never mentioned to us as a journalist we should pursue. He did however, have a GSOC involvement – he was a member of the board from 2005 to 2011.
The tribunal has no further comment to make.’