From top: Former Garda Commissioners Martin Callinan and Nóirín O’Sullivan, former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor, solicitor Gerald Kean, (from left) former Assistant Commissioner for the Northern Region Kieran Kenny, former Chief Supt Jim Sheridan, Det Supt John O’Reilly, and Inspector Pat O’Connell; Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine McCabe
This afternoon, statements will be made in the Dáil in respect of Judge Peter Charleton’s report on the Disclosures Tribunal from 4.50pm this afternoon.
It follows the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan telling the Dáil this morning that, since the publication of Judge Charleton’s report, he has apologised to Sgt McCabe and his family.
In addition, Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine will this week meet the newly appointed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss Judge Charleton’s report.
Ahead of this…
Mr Justice Peter Charleton found it was “a dreadful struggle to attempt to uncover what may have gone on behind closed doors” in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe before he ultimately found that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor acted together to denigrate the Garda whistleblower’s character.
He said such a “struggle” should not happen, adding:
“People are obligated by patriotic duty to cooperate with judicial processes, whether in the police or public service or not.”
In his report, Judge Charleton praised the truthfulness of several witnesses.
But, elsewhere, he wrote how some witnesses from An Garda Síochána, TUSLA and the media frustrated the tribunal’s efforts to effectively find out what exactly happened to Sgt McCabe.
In relation to members of An Garda Síochána…
Judge Charleton said the tribunal wrote to more than 430 different individuals at assistant commissioner, chief superintendent and superintendent rank, including retired senior officers.
“none of these individuals replied with any relevant information, apart from two officers” before adding that “no inference can be drawn as to whether these other senior officers had any relevant information which they chose not to share”.
He did find that after accepting the evidence of four individuals – namely that of Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy, Fine Gael TD John Deasy and RTÉ journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes and rejecting Mr Callinan’s denials of the same – it is likely that other people close to Mr Callinan were told similar things about Sgt McCabe.
Judge Charleton accepted Mr McGuinness’s evidence that Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe “fiddles with kids” and referred to both Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson as “fucking headbangers”.
He accepted that Mr Callinan told Mr McGuinness, during a meeting in a car park of Bewley’s Hotel on the Naas Road, Dublin, on Friday, January 24, 2014, that Sgt McCabe sexually abused his children and nieces.
And he accepted that Mr Callinan led him to believe there was a live investigation of some kind, causing Mr McGuinness to believe that charges against Sgt McCabe were imminent.
Judge Charleton accepted that Mr Callinan told Fine Gael TD John Deasy, on the way to the same PAC meeting, that Sgt McCabe was not to be believed or trusted with anything.
He also accepted the evidence of the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy – whose report into the quashing of penalty points was being discussed at that PAC meeting – that Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer, and that there were live allegations of sexual offences against him.
And he accepted that Mr Callinan told Mr Boucher-Hayes, before a broadcast of RTE’s Crimecall, that Sgt McCabe was a “troubled individual” with a “lot of psychological issues and psychiatric issues”.
Because of the evidence of the four witnesses above, Judge Charleton wrote:
“The tribunal does not find it probable that interactions of a similar nature were not had with at least some of those who were close to Martin Callinan in An Garda Síochána.
“No such evidence was volunteered to the tribunal or otherwise given in evidence by any serving or former officer. The tribunal is not able to make any finding of fact in this regard against any particular person.”
While finding that the then Deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan played no part in the smear campaign, Judge Charleton did note:
“It is also improbable that she did not have an inkling at the very least about Commissioner Callinan’s views. At the very least, it was more than improbable that nothing emerged in the car journey with him back to Garda Headquarters from the meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on 23 January 2014. It was disappointing to hear her evidence on this.”
Judge Charleton also found the manner in which Mr Callinan briefed solicitor Gerald Kean about Sgt McCabe ahead of a broadcast on RTE’s Marian Finucane in January 2014, and assisted Mr Kean in responding to a legal letter from Sgt McCabe post-broadcast, as “strongly speaking to a strong animus by Commissioner Martin Callinan against Maurice McCabe”.
[Sgt McCabe took a defamation action against Mr Kean and RTE following the broadcast with Sgt McCabe ultimately settling with RTE and not pursuing the case against Mr Kean]
The judge said he was satisfied Mr Kean knew of the tribunal’s public appeal for information but noted that “it was only through the diligence of tribunal counsel, sorting through tens of thousands of items of discovered documents”, that it learned of the episode concerning Mr Callinan and Mr Kean.
Specifically, Judge Charleton had the following to say about other members of An Garda Síochána.