Tag Archives: Disclosures Tribunal

Garda Keith Harrison and Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton

Yesterday morning.

In the High Court.

Garda Keith Harrison made a judicial review application asking for Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton’s Second Interim Report of the Disclosures Tribunal to be quashed.

He’s also seeking orders prohibiting the further publication of the second interim report and the parts of the third interim report which relate to him, and that Justice Charleton is precluded from dealing with any other matters relating to Garda Harrison and the tribunal.

He further seeks a declaration that the judge has acted in breach of the garda’s rights to natural and constitutional justice and under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Garda Harrison had claimed his working life was difficult since he allegedly raised concerns about a garda’s conduct in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

It was his contention gardai manipulated domestic incidents involving him and his partner Marissa Simms and this resulted in a referral being made to Tusla in February 2014.

Last November, Justice Charleton, in his second interim report, rejected all allegations made by Garda Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms.

In his report, Justice Charleton wrote:

“Very serious allegations were made by Garda Keith Harrison and by Marisa Simms. While they presented themselves as being the victims of others, the reality that should not be forgotten is that to be wrongly accused is a deeply upsetting experience. Essentially, they accused the gardai in Donegal of interfering in their home and family life. This was due, they claimed, to malice against him.

“All of the allegations of Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms examined by the tribunal are entirely without any validity. They have claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so.

“They claimed to have been the victims of others. There is another side to this.

“The allegations which they made must have taken a considerable emotional toll on several of the multiple persons accused by them of very serious misconduct. It is appropriate here to exonerate everyone in social services and in policing accused by them of discreditable conduct.

“That is the only possible conclusion to the tribunal’s enquiry. It is also amply corroborated by the supporting evidence analysed in this report.”

In his protected disclosure, prior to the setting up of the Disclosures Tribunal, Garda Harrison claimed Chief Supt for Donegal division Terry McGinn had directed certain gardai to target him.

Justice Charleton, in his second interim report, categorically rejected this allegation.

Garda Harrison is seeking the report into him to be quashed based on previous interactions Justice Charleton had with Chief Supt McGinn during the Morris Tribunal which Garda Harrison believes gives rise to a presumption of bias and doubts as to Justice Charleton’s independence or impartiality.

At the Morris Tribunal, Chief Supt McGinn was the garda liaison officer to the tribunal while Justice Charleton was one of the tribunal’s counsel.

In his judicial review, Garda Harrison has highlighted two newspaper reports from The Irish Times in 2006 about the proceedings at the Morris Tribunal, and the transcript of the same.

One report, dated march 30, 2006, stated:

RTÉ was criticised today after it aired a misleading reconstruction from the Morris tribunal that gave the impression a trusted garda aide to the inquiry had no interest in uncovering the truth.

Mr Justice Frederick Morris, tribunal chairman, agreed the broadcast was badly edited and created a deeply unpleasant impression of highly regarded liaison officer Chief Supt Terry McGinn.

In a brief address, counsel for the tribunal Peter Charleton SC said the reconstruction, aired on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, had left listeners with the feeling that she was unsupportive.

Chief Supt McGinn, who has liaised with dozens of officers since the tribunal began in 2002, has been praised in the past by Judge Morris for her work.

But Mr Charleton said the broadcast left the impression that the senior officer had no interest in assisting the tribunal or uncovering the truth.

He revealed if the reconstruction had carried on through the next few minutes of evidence it would have shown the high regard in which Chief Supt McGinn was held by gardaí and tribunal staff.

Judge Morris said: “There is no doubt that if the broadcast terminated at the point you (Mr Charleton) indicated it may well convey the entirely wrong impression of what the evidence was.

“Hopefully the record would be corrected and set right, because it would be quite wrong if anybody should be left with the idea that Chief Superintendent McGinn was not extremely helpful to the tribunal in the carrying out of its work.”

Mr Justice Morris added that it would be unfair to leave the public with the impression that she was not interested when Garda John Dooley came to her preparing to come clean about abuse meted out to mother-of-three Katrina Brolly.”

A second report, dated March 31, 2006, stated:

A deeply unfortunate and unpleasant impression was created on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the Garda liaison officer to the tribunal was not interested when a garda came to her wanting to tell the truth, the hearing was told.

The programme featured a re-enactment from the transcript of Tuesday’s evidence concerning Chief Supt Terry McGinn, who was Garda liaison officer to the tribunal, tribunal counsel Peter Charleton SC said.

She fulfilled that post with distinction for three years before being promoted to chief superintendent running the Donegal division, he said.

During the course of the reconstruction of evidence given by Det Garda John Dooley, a “deeply unfortunate and unpleasant impression has been created” concerning Chief Supt McGinn in the way it was edited.

The extract dealt with how Det Garda Dooley came to a position where he was determined to tell the truth.

It said the garda had said he had gone to then Supt McGinn but “I didn’t think she wanted to hear it, I was so upset at the time”. That was where the broadcast ended.

The transcript went on and said Det Garda Dooley said he very much received appropriate support from Chief Supt McGinn. She visited him regularly in hospital and told him to be honest and tell the truth. She contacted him regularly by phone and was extremely supportive.

Mr Charleton said all who had worked with Chief Supt McGinn had great respect for the assistance she had given to the tribunal and it would be unfair to her that listeners might think she just was not interested in the truth.

The chairman, Mr Justice Frederick Morris, said it might well convey an entirely wrong impression, so hopefully, the record might well be corrected and set right. It would be quite wrong if anybody was left with the idea that Chief Supt McGinn was not extremely helpful to the tribunal in its work.”

The Disclosures Tribunal did hear that Chief Supt McGinn acted as the Garda Liaison Officer at the Morris Tribunal.

But Garda Harrison claims there was no significant discussion or questioning about the nature of Chief Superintendent McGinn’s involvement with the Morris Tribunal and its legal team at the Disclosures Tribunal.

It’s also understood Garda Harrison, in his judicial review application, states he wasn’t interviewed by the tribunal’s investigators before he gave evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal – unlike other gardai who made protected disclosures.

Justice Seamus Noonan granted permission to bring the action yesterday, on an ex parte basis, and the matter will return before the courts in two weeks’ time.

Previously: ‘Entirely Without Any Validity’

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris (left)and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

Further to yesterday’s Sunday Times report which outlined how the state plans to cover former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s legal costs in an action taken by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe..

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the representation being offered to the former Commissioner is standard practice.

“As a former State employee who is being sued in the course of his work it is the norm for the State to offer representation for him,” said Mr Varadkar.

“That is not to say that he is being given an indemnity or anything like that, it is representation as regards the case.”

Normal practice for State to provide lawyers for Martin Callinan, says Varadkar (Irish Examiner)

Earlier…

According to senior sources, Mr Harris is seeking his own legal advice on the matter of Mr Callinan’s legal costs in light of the tribunal’s damning findings against the former commissioner.

Mr Harris is seeking advice on whether to he is bound by the decision of Mr Ó Cualáin to recommend that the State fund Mr Callinan’s defence. Depending on the advice, it may be open to him to ask the Minister to reverse his decision.

Garda Commissioner seeks to reverse Callinan’s legal funding (irish Times)

Rollingnews

Former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor

Shane Phelan, in the Irish Independent, reports:

A disgraced garda superintendent heavily criticised by the Disclosures Tribunal for his role in a campaign to smear whistleblower Maurice McCabe has retired from the force.

Former Garda press officer Dave Taylor ceased being a member of An Garda Síochána as of midnight last night after a retirement request was approved by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

He will receive a full pension and will not now face a disciplinary investigation over the tribunal’s findings.

Disgraced garda superintendent who was heavily criticised by Disclosures Tribunal retires on full pension (Shane Phelan, Irish Independent)

Previously: A Free Man?

Rollingnews

This morning.

Newly appointed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is answering questions at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality, following Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton’s report on the Disclosures Tribunal.

Further to this…

Irish Examiner reports:

The Garda Commissioner says he is open to whistleblowers in the force and would treat those coming forward with the utmost seriousness.

…”If any individual in the organisation wishes to come forward and wishes, in effect, to whistleblow or to make a disclosure then that will be treated with the utmost seriousness,” he said.

“I am open to individuals should they wish to speak to me in terms of being whistleblowers.”

The meeting’s proceedings can be watched live above.

Latest: Garda Commissioner would treat whistleblowers with ‘utmost seriousness’ (Irish Examiner)

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: The Charleton Report – Conclusions

UPDATE:

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.”

Meanwhile…

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.

Conor Brady: The Maurice McCabe saga goes beyond a morality tale (The Sunday Times)

Earlier: Bryan Wall: Vinidcation At The Expense Of Justice

UPDATE:

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.’

From top: Justioce Peter Charelton: Clare Daly in the Dáil last night

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Independents 4 Change TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace – who have championed Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe’s cause for years – spoke about Judge Peter Charleton’s report into the Disclosures Tribunal.

Judge Charleton found former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former Garda Press Officer worked “cheek by jowl” in a “campaign of calumny” against Sgt McCabe.

He couldn’t determine how a document outlining a false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe – which was never made – was circulated from TUSLA to gardai in May 2014.

And he found it “inappropriate and extraordinary” that former Chief Supt Jim Sheridan forwarded the false rape referral to Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny in the knowledge it was false.

Judge Charleton also found it “disturbing” that Mr Kenny then forwarded it to Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and, after he was definitively told it was incorrect, never corrected the matter – with the false rape referral remaining in Garda HQ until February 2017.

Judge Charleton heavily criticised members of An Garda Síochána and the “incompetence” of TUSLA but he did not find they colluded with each other against Sgt McCabe.

Giving her statement on the matter to the Dáil last night, Ms Daly said:

“I do not have enough time to do justice to Mr Justice Charleton and his team, who have done a great public service. I had the good fortune to attend the tribunal on several occasions. I was struck by Mr. Justice Charleton’s patience, sharp intellect and wit.

Some people have said he has indulged himself a little in this report. He was perfectly entitled to do so given some of the nonsense he had to sit through and listen to.

“The Charleton report is a searing indictment of several State institutions, in particular, An Garda Síochána and Tusla, and the media. Mr Justice Charleton castigated a number of journalists for frustrating the work of the tribunal and the public will.

He castigated the public relations companies, which he has characterised, correctly as far as I am concerned, as a hideous development in Irish public life given the domination of spin.

“In some ways, we could say Mr Justice Charleton has probably been a little polite in his language regarding some of the individuals who appeared before him. The implications are clear, however.

Many of those who gave evidence at the tribunal need what Mr Justice Charleton referred to as a cultural shift that requires respect for the truth. In other words, he was told a whopping amount of lies.

“The Disclosures Tribunal was established publicly to find the truth and Mr Justice Charleton has laid bare a vast amount. This report is a real education for the people in that regard.

First and most important is the total vindication Mr Justice Charleton has given to Maurice McCabe. This cannot be understated.

“Sergeant McCabe is a fine policeman and a man of integrity who was repulsively denigrated. The best thing about how Mr Justice Charleton handled Maurice McCabe is that there are no ifs or buts.

“This was crucial for Maurice and his family, for his wife Lorraine and his father, the two rocks who stood behind him on this very difficult road.

“I am delighted that everybody is patting Maurice on the back now and that he is the people’s hero, but it was not always so.

“Mr Justice Charleton pinpointed that “The facts do not amount to an exoneration of the gardaí in their treatment of Maurice McCabe”.

“He said that his complaints generated considerable animosity, which continued over years. The station was divided. People did not want to get involved.

A total of 430 former and current senior gardaí were written to by the tribunal. Only two replied [with relevant information], and not one of them ever heard anything derogatory about Maurice McCabe.

That is improbable, to use Mr Justice Charleton’s words. He said that when Maurice was “seeking a better level of policing standards, there were plenty of people who said there was nothing wrong”. I absolutely know that is the case.

Arguing that was a long and lonely place in the early years, and while the terms of reference concentrated on particular aspects, it was never supposed to be a definitive account of policing in Ireland.

In many ways, Mr Justice Charleton picked up on this at the Committee of Public Accounts [in January 2014], which was the culmination in some ways of the first round. It was not the start of this issue but came on the back of approximately two years of raising issues in this House.

“Mr Justice Charleton has dealt with the issues very well. We do not have the time to go through all of them but, in terms of the former Minister, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, I note the Taoiseach tweeted that we should apologise to Deputy Frances Fitzgerald.

Neither I nor Deputy Wallace joined the baying hyenas here this time last year who were looking for the head of the then Minister.

We made many points over the years about her handling of issues in the Department of Justice and Equality but not about people coming up in 2017 supposedly criticising her for knowledge she had in 2015 of the Commissioner’s dealings at the O’Higgins commission, knowledge they all had in 2016 and did not do anything about.

I do not believe I need to give an apology in that respect.

“What those emails did show, however, is that what was going on at the O’Higgins tribunal was not normal. It was a big deal. There were emails, calls and frantic efforts to contact the Commissioner, and while Mr Justice Charleton did not find that Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on false sex abuse allegations to discredit Maurice at the O’Higgins commission, we never said that she did or believed that she did.

What was being said, however, and what was shown was that evidence was being produced at the O’Higgins commission to question his motivation.

We had the words of Colm Smyth and, critically, the letter of 18 May and the complaint against Superintendent Michael Clancy.

While Mr Justice Charleton said that the letter “went off the rails” and that it was strange, he put it down to a mistake.

Ultimately for him, the only issue was whether that had anything to do with Nóirín O’Sullivan, and as other people said it had not, he did not want to go there, but it still happened.

For me, it is convenient to put it down to a mistake. What would have happened if Maurice had not had the tape?

“People talk about poor Nóirín O’Sullivan, and I note the Taoiseach referred to people who precipitated her early demise. We are a long time on the record as saying that Nóirín O’Sullivan did not go quickly enough. That is nothing personal.

“She should never have been appointed in the first place but did she hear about Templemore? Did she hear anything about false breath tests, the treatment of other whistleblowers or any of that good stuff, all of which was going on in the background?

“While Mr Justice Charleton accurately stated that she had no hand, act or part to play in the campaign of the then Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and Dave Taylor, that is not the same as saying that she had no case to answer. In fact, he did not accept her evidence on the lack of engagement with her legal counsel or on her dealings with Noel Waters, whose evidence he did not accept either.

He went on to make many comments contrary to her evidence, that her evidence was disappointing and so on. He also talked about it being improbable that she could not but have known what was being said about Maurice McCabe and, in essence, did nothing in that regard.

“The report accurately condemns the then Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and Dave Taylor. That has been well aired, but they were not the only ones involved.

“A number of retired gardaí were criticised as being inappropriate and extraordinary in their behaviour, including Assistant Commissioner Kenny, Superintendent McGinn and Chief Superintendent Sheridan, but what about serving members?

Detective Superintendent O’Reilly was promoted since the tribunal started, but Mr. Justice Charleton is quite critical that his decision to introduce Paul Williams to the D family caused further and completely unjustified pain. What will be done to him?

“What will be done to John Barrett, the head of human resources, whose evidence was described by Mr. Justice Charleton as preposterous?

He said he was not satisfied that the conversations alluded to by John Barrett, allegedly with Cyril Dunne, ever took place. He did not believe his evidence in terms of Maurice McCabe either. That is very serious stuff.

“I refer to the false rape case being an unbelievable coincidence. I accept fully the judgment of Mr Justice Charleton on that.

“Rian counselling service came out well in the report but, my God, what an indictment of Tusla. The report refers to error upon error, complete misinformation, and files being randomly selected.

Mr. Justice Charleton said it was not a coincidence that Tusla opened Maurice McCabe’s file. They filleted a file that went to the historical sex abuse team and replaced the file when it came back. Those are points we do not have time to deal with.

“Mr Justice Charleton said he had a dreadful struggle to uncover the truth. I believe he uncovered an incredible amount of it. He said it is a cultural and an attitude problem and that reform of An Garda Síochána and coming up with new structures will not deal with it. I agree with him on that.”

Mick Wallace said:

“I have read the report. I would like to have an hour to make my contribution but I have only a few minutes.

On 8 June, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said “I know that an awful lot of people haven’t been telling me the truth”. I welcome Mr Justice Charleton’s report. He had a very difficult job. He said it was a dreadful struggle, but he has done incredibly well.

“We attended more than 25 of the 102 days of the tribunal hearings. Chris Noonan, my parliamentary assistant, attended most days. At times, it was a depressing experience.

It was hard to listen to public servants, in some cases retired Secretaries General, and Garda Commissioners, take the stand and be so economical with the truth.

“I have no intention of being critical of Mr Justice Charleton’s report. It is excellent.

While he was merciless in much of his report, and rightly so – he certainly did not spare Tusla or the Garda Síochána organisation – there were times when I thought his kind nature got the better of him.

With any tribunal or commission of investigation, before one looks at the final report, one must look at the terms of reference and analyse how these may confine what the judge can examine.

Aside from being limited by the terms of reference, things were made immensely more difficult for him on this occasion due to the fact that so many people refused to tell the truth.

“Former press officer David Taylor was not spared, and rightly so. Mr Justice Charleton is someone we have come to admire very much, and one of his more admirable features is his intolerance for those blatantly lying to him. David Taylor was one of them.

Both I and Deputy Clare Daly met David Taylor in his living room shortly after he made his protected disclosure.

Just why he decided to go into the tribunal and give a different version of events from that which he had given us is beyond us. It was a serious mistake on his part, and he has paid a high price for it.

“When the former Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality, Noel Waters, stated that he could not remember a 14-minute phone call between himself and Nóirín O’Sullivan during the O’Higgins commission, Mr Justice Charleton referred to it as improbable.

It was more than improbable.

“Mr Justice Charleton lambasted David Taylor with his ridiculous excuses regarding the two phones he did not cough up, so to speak.

I would have liked him to grill Nóirín O’Sullivan about the five phones she refused to cough up.

“Maurice McCabe requested a tribunal so that events would be examined in public rather than in private. He was right to do so.

“Mr Justice Cooke is investigating NAMA’s sale of Project Eagle. I can only imagine the lies he is being told.

Obviously, Mr Justice Charleton was told buckets of lies too, but it was in public, and the difference is that the public got the opportunity to see it. The Charleton tribunal has lifted the lid on how the establishment has no problem with lying.

“He has been slightly written out of history but people forget that Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was originally tasked with examining the disclosures of David Taylor and Maurice McCabe.

“He recommended that a commission of investigation be set up and drafted the terms of reference, the majority of which were used by the tribunal.

The ones he did not draft caused the most trouble, in particular, term of reference (e), which tasked Mr. Justice Charleton with examining the O’Higgins commission and whether false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Nóirín O’Sullivan to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

“That was too narrow, and it did not allow Mr Justice Charleton to examine some of the other critical issues that played out during the O’Higgins commission.

He was only allowed assess Nóirín O’Sullivan’s role in regard to the O’Higgins commission, specifically whether she used a false allegation of rape to discredit Maurice.

We never alleged that or believed Nóirín O’Sullivan to be guilty of it. We did allege many other things, and with good reason.

“The famous letter of 18 May handed to the commission setting out the motivations of Maurice McCabe has fallen through the cracks.

“Mr Justice Charleton said it was accurate to a point and then it went off the rails. It is much worse than that; it is a pure work of fiction.

“In respect of the letter of 18 May, Mr Justice Charleton found that there was no deliberate attempt to write a series of quite silly mistakes by way of a submission undermining Maurice McCabe to the O’Higgins commission. I beg to differ. If mistakes were made and accepted, why did they always go against Maurice McCabe?

“If Chief Superintendent Rooney and Superintendent Cunningham had nothing to hide with regard to their input into the letter, why did they claim privilege in respect of it when they were before the tribunal?

“With regard to the role of Nóirín O’Sullivan in the smear campaign, Mr Justice Charleton found that she had no role in it, but also found that it was improbable that she did not know it was happening.

I would have liked him to build on that finding. A deputy commissioner of An Garda Síochána has a duty of care to all of its officers, and Nóirín O’Sullivan knew what Commissioner Callinan was doing, yet she failed to act.

“As I said, there was much that Mr Justice Charleton could not comment on due to the terms of reference, and that is a pity.

There has been a rewriting of history by both the media and the political establishment with regard to the story of Garda malpractice and how the issues came to light.

This Chamber was a lonely place in 2012 and 2013 when we were highlighting the penalty points issues and other Garda wrongdoings.

“Mr Justice Charleton referred to the O’Mahoney report and stated that the report found no evidence of crime, corruption, deception or falsification. Obviously, he could not make findings on that report. Although it is now completely discredited, when the report was published, it was heralded.

“The former Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter, went onto the plinth of Leinster House and abused the whistleblowers, and Martin Callinan told the Oireachtas committee that Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney’s report was credible and factually correct and that it was based on fact. That is not true.

Those lines were accepted by the media at the time without any scrutiny and our protestations were rubbished.

Mr Justice Charleton also touched upon a letter Chief Superintendent Rooney passed around to local gardaí in the Cavan-Monaghan division in 2011, congratulating everyone involved in the Byrne-McGinn inquiry on their good work.

Chief Superintendent Rooney apologised for this letter at the tribunal and Mr Justice Charleton stated that the apology was belated. It was more than belated; it was a disgrace of a letter.

“On the media, the Charleton report stated that the tribunal had the greatest difficulty in getting any information from journalists and that journalistic privilege has two parts, the entitlement to assert it and the right of society to override it in the interest of a pressing national concern. I have not noticed many journalists quoting Mr. Justice Charleton on that.

“…In his conclusion, Mr Justice Charleton states that a tribunal, having completed its work, might hope that thereby some improvement could occur.

He states that a tribunal should speak freely and should in no way be trapped by the temptation of cynicism that nothing may change. I

believe that this tribunal was worthwhile. I believe things will change for the better.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton has done the State a great service, unlike so many who went up to Dublin Castle to tell him lies.”

Yesterday: The Tribunal Wrote To More Than 430 Officers. Two Replied With Relevant Information

The Media And Maurice

Meanwhile…

“In terms of the media coverage of the events at Dublin Castle, Olga Cronin from broadsheet.ie, Sean Murray of thejournal.ie, and Mick Clifford [Irish Examiner] deserve to be singled out for praise. Some of what was written would certainly have prevented Mr. Justice Charleton from enjoying his breakfast if he had the misfortune to have read it.”

Mick Wallce in the Dáil last night.

G’wan the Olga.

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: Charelton Report Conclusions

 

From top (clockwise) Irish Mail on Sunday editor Conor O’Donnell, IMOS Crime Correspondent Debbie McCann, Deputy News Editor of the IMOS Robert Cox, Irish Daily Mail journalist Alison O’Reilly, Mail Group Editor Sebastian Hamilton; Eavan Murray, of The Irish Sun; Irish Times Crime Editor Conor Lally; Daniel McConnell, Juno McEnroe and Cormac O’Keeffe, of The Irish Examiner; John Burke, of RTÉ

Ahead of statements being made in the Dáil about the report this afternoon from 4.50pm

And further to a post this morning concerning some of Judge Peter Charleton’s findings on certain gardai who appeared at the Disclosures Tribunal…

Judge Charleton also found that some journalists also frustrated his efforts to find out exactly what happened to Sgt McCabe.

At the outset, he found that “no newspaper or media outlet ever traduced the character of Maurice McCabe in consequence of any communication from Superintendent Taylor, or indeed at all” in relation to the Ms D allegation which was found to have no foundation by the DPP in 2007.

He wrote:

“No one in print or on radio or on television or on Internet sites ever said either that Maurice McCabe had abused a child or that he was a bitter man with hidden agendas in consequence of being investigated by his colleagues due to an allegation made against him in December 2006 of what was then claimed to be historic abuse.”

But he conceded:

“Rumours were, however, as this report details in part, flying around about him; particularly from 2013 and in January 2014.”

Following on from former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor claiming in his protected disclosure that he “negatively briefed” journalists about Sgt McCabe – but giving no significant details of where, when and how he briefed them – the tribunal wrote to 25 journalists at the outset of the tribunal’s inquiries on March 15, 2017.

Each of these journalists, after having been found to have been in contact with Supt Taylor during the relevant period of time of the smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, were asked if they had any information relevant to tribunal’s terms of reference.

On March 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Conor Lally, of The Irish Times.

[This took place a month after the publication of an article by Mr Lally, on February 20, 2017, based on an interview he had with Ms D, upon which Sgt McCabe subsequently took action. The print version of the article was headlined “Woman behind alleged complaint about McCabe wants her day before inquiry” while its online version was headed “When can I get on with the rest of my life? – woman at the centre of the McCabe case”.]

[In the High Court in July 2018, the newspaper apologised to Sgt McCabe for suggesting in the article that the DPP’s ruling that no prosecution be made against Sgt McCabe was based on merely “insufficient evidence”.

[When Mr Lally gave evidence to the tribunal – which took place between the time he wrote the article and when The Irish Times apologised to Sgt McCabe – Mr Lally said he had first heard of the Ms D allegation in 2010 or 2011 and that the matter was “dead” to him because he knew “the case was, quote-unquote, completely thrown out by the DPP]

On April 21, 2017, the tribunal wrote to each of the 25 journalists again and it also wrote to Cormac O’Keeffe and Daniel McConnell, of The Irish Examiner.

On April 24, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Mr Lally again.

The judge noted:

“In these letters to 28 journalists, the tribunal requested answers to a list of questions relevant to its terms of reference. With one exception, no answer was given to the complete set of questions at that time.”

[That exception was Frank Greaney, of Newstalk]

On April 13, 2017, Supt Taylor gave the tribunal the names of nine journalists – claiming that he negatively briefed them about Sgt McCabe.

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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.

He said:

“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”.

However…

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.

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RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds

Further to the release yesterday of the Disclosure Tribunal Report…

Justice Peter Charleton examined evidence given to the tribunal by RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds.

Mr Reynolds had been asked at the hearings about several allegations made against him.

One was that former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor claimed he “negatively briefed” Mr Reynolds about Sgt McCabe.

Mr Reynolds denied this and Judge Peter Charleton accepted his evidence on this – rejecting that of Supt Taylor.

Another matter Mr Reynolds was asked about was a report he wrote for the RTÉ News website in February 2014 about an internal Garda investigation into the wiping of penalty points by the then Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney.

A third matter concerned Mr Reynolds’ reports in May 2016 about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation after he obtained a leaked copy of the report.

Judge Peter Charleton had been tasked with examining these reports to see if there was any evidence that Mr Reynolds’ reports had been influenced by the then Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

In relation to the second matter – Mr Reynolds’ reports on Asst Comm O’Mahoney’s penalty point investigation in February 2014 – Mr Reynolds had reported that the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had previously written to Sgt McCabe and “told him to co-operate” with Asst Comm O’Mahoney’s report.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal that this report was based on his interpretation of a “direction” relayed to Sgt McCabe in December 2012 – which Mr Reynolds had seen.

Judge Charleton found:

“Prior to its publication, he sought comment from Garda Headquarters and Maurice McCabe. He [Reynolds] received comment from the gardaí but not from Maurice McCabe, who gave a response to ‘Prime Time’ ahead of that programme being broadcast that evening. Paul Reynolds then amended his article to incorporate Maurice McCabe’s response to ‘Prime Time’.

“His [Sgt McCabe’s] clearly stated position was that he had never been directed by the Commissioner to cooperate with the O’Mahoney investigation, nor had he been contacted by the investigation team.”

Going forward to the third matter – Mr Reynolds’ reports of May 2016….

The term of reference pertaining to this stated that Mr Reynolds’ reports had “branded [Sgt McCabe] a liar and irresponsible”.

Mr Reynolds’ had used the word “lied” in his reports – as Justice O’Higgins found Sgt McCabe had told an “untruth”.

[Sgt McCabe told an “untruth” when he told a superintendent that a victim of assault and his wife made a complaint to GSOC about the Garda investigation into the incident. Sgt McCabe did this in the hope that the assault would gain more attention from the gardai. Judge O’Higgins criticised the handing of the case by the gardai and said Sgt McCabe told the “untruth” for “genuine” and “commendable” reasons but found it was “unsatisfactory” to tell an untruth]

However, Mr Reynolds didn’t use the specific word “irresponsible” in his reports.

The claim that Ms O’Sullivan, whom the tribunal heard rose through the ranks of her respective career over 30 years with Mr Reynolds, was involved in Mr Reynolds’ reports came about because Sgt McCabe – in his protected disclosure – had claimed the head of HR in An Garda Siochana John Barrett told him Mr Reynolds’ reports would have come from “block one” in Garda HQ which is a reference to the Garda Commissioner’s office.

Sgt McCabe referred to his source, Mr Barrett, as an “impeccable authority”.

When Mr Barrett gave evidence to the tribunal, he denied ever telling Sgt McCabe that “block one” was the source of Mr Reynolds’ reports.

Judge Charleton rejected Mr Barrett’s evidence on this and accepted that of Sgt McCabe, finding:

“Possibly John Barrett does not fully remember making the remark or how serious it was likely to sound in the febrile atmosphere of the time. Perhaps he was speaking casually, but if so, it was loose speech in the wrong context.”

The tribunal examined Mr Reynolds’ reports and the tribunal heard every single report Mr Reynolds made on May 9 2016 – RTÉ Radio One’s main news bulletin at 8am, Morning Ireland and News At One, and RTÉ Television’s News at One, Six One and the Nine O’clock News.

In two of his reports, Mr Reynolds used the word “lie” and told the tribunal he did this after consulting his dictionary to check the word “untruth”.

When he gave evidence, Mr Reynolds said everything he put into the public domain was based solely on the content of leaked copy of the commission’s report and denied that he was ever under any influence from either Garda HQ or Ms O’Sullivan.

[Ms O’Sullivan also denied having sought to influence Mr Reynolds’ reports]

He also said that he “spoke to a number of people as well and I got various information”, without identifying these individuals.

Taking the second and third matters together, at the tribunal, it had been suggested that Mr Reynolds’ reports of February 2014 and May 2016 indicated “a continual influence on RTÉ by Garda Headquarters”.

Judge Charleton rejected this inference.

He also found that no criticism could be made of Mr Reynolds reporting on the “untruth” and that the claim Mr Reynolds branded Sgt McCabe “irresponsible” was “inaccurate”.

He said of Mr Reynolds:

“What Paul Reynolds did was honest. He was not under the directions of Garda Headquarters and he went about his job as an intelligent and independent reporter. In no sense was he a tool of the higher echelons of Garda Headquarters.”

He found:

“This is a matter of opinion only, not something from which a negative inference could be taken. With the same material [O’Higgins leak], perhaps another broadcaster would have concentrated more on how bad policing investigations were in Cavan/Monaghan, perhaps not.

“Perhaps the story might have been more about the issues and not about the personality of Maurice McCabe, perhaps not. That is not the point. On which would be better or not, the tribunal does not comment.

“The tribunal accepts the evidence of Paul Reynolds that no one in Garda Headquarters was influencing his broadcasts. He gave honest evidence to the tribunal and he was entitled to his view on the O’Higgins Commission upon his examination of a leaked copy of the report.”

However.

Judge Charleton did say this about Mr Reynolds’ May 2016 reports:

“The broadcasts of 9 May 2016 on Raidió Teilifís Éireann reporting on the O’Higgins Commission laid a great deal of emphasis on the character of Maurice McCabe and little emphasis on the incompetence and indolence which the report of Mr Justice O’Higgins had laid out line by line. The messenger, in relation to this matter, was much less important than the message which was delivered: that our police force was to wake up and actually start doing its job properly.”

Meanwhile…

Dublin City University professor and journalist Colum Kenny

A fourth matter pertaining to Mr Reynolds at the tribunal related to the evidence of Dublin City University professor and journalist Colum Kenny.

Mr Kenny claimed Mr Reynolds, along with the Irish Independent‘s Tom Brady, told him that Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse in early 2014.

Both Mr Reynolds and Mr Brady denied this.

Mr Kenny and Mr Reynolds’ conflict on this matter was one of a number of incidences where journalists relayed conflicting accounts to Judge Peter Charleton.

Judge Charleton ultimately did not attempt to resolve this conflict, or that of Mr Kenny and Mr Brady.

Judge Charleton didn’t even record Mr Kenny’s claim to the tribunal about Mr Reynolds in his report.

Judge Charleton said to even “set out the detail” of the conflict or “attempt to resolve” would not be appropriate and, to do so, would be beyond the tribunal’s jurisdiction.

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: The Charleton Report – Conclusions

Maurice McCabe And RTÉ

I Told INM Maurice Was Innocent

Earlier: ‘Nothing Positive Could Have Come Out Of This’

Rollingnews

From top: Lorraine and Sgt Maurice McCabe; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, former Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice Ken O’Leary, former assistant secretary at the Department of Justice Michael Flahive, former secretary general at the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil

This afternoon.

While Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin was putting questions to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the Minister for Communications Denis Naughten and the tendering process for the National Broadband Plan contract…

And telling Mr Varadkar that the process had been “contaminated” but the contact between Mr Naughten and David McCourt, of the consortium which is the only bidder left seeking the contract…

Mr Varadkar put it to Mr Martin that he had “a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry”.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton is expected to deliver his report on the Disclosures Tribunal shortly – having said he will deliver it in October.

The tribunal examined allegations that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign.

Members of An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the media were questioned at the tribunal – including the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

In light of this…

The Taoiseach said:

“You have a bit of a history in this Dáil, of saying things, of claiming, of making allegations against ministers and claiming that things aren’t credible. You said the same about Minister Harris and about me in relation to CervicalCheck and yet the Scally report proves that what you believe was not credible was credible.

“You made allegations about former Minister [for Justice] [Frances] Fitzgerald. And we’ll see what the findings are in relation to that.

“So you’ve a history of making allegations against ministers, saying their assertions are not credible and then refusing to take back your claims when they’ve been disproved by an inquiry. So this is a pattern of yours unfortunately and it’s not a good one.”

Hmmm.

Previously: Unconscionable