Tag Archives: Irish Daily Mail

This morning

Alison O’Reilly, the journalist who broke the Tuam mass grave story, reports in today’s Irish Daily Mail, that excavation has begun at the grounds of Sean Ross Abbey, Roscrea, County Tipperary which was a mother and baby home run by the Sacred Heart Sisters from 1930 to 1970.

It follows a geophysical survey carried out last month out at the Abbey’s ‘Angels’ Plot’ children’s burial ground on behalf of the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.

Last week: Meanwhile, In Tipperary.

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan


The Irish Times, reports:

The former Garda commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, has sought all information held on her by a number of major media organisations under European Union data protection rules.

Faced with the request, RTÉ has told some of its journalists that all of their email records are being examined by the State broadcaster’s data protection officer….

…The former commissioner has also made the same request for data records to The Irish Times and the publisher of the Irish Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday.


Nóirín O’Sullivan requests data held on her by key media bodies (The Irish Times)

Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

From top: Judge Peter Charleton; From left: Conor O’Donnell, editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Debbie McCann, crime correspondent of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Sebastian Hamilton, group editor at the Irish Daily Mail

Last week.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard evidence from four Mail journalists.

The tribunal is examining allegations made by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed by the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, in the knowledge of the then Deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, to tell journalists – between mid-2013 and March 2014 – about a 2006 allegation made by a Ms D against Sgt McCabe.

This allegation was categorically dismissed by the DPP in 2007 but Supt Taylor claims he was told to convey to journalists that this 2006 allegation was the “root cause” of his complaints in relation to the gardaí and that Sgt McCabe was driven by “maliciousness”.

The Mail journalists who have given evidence are Conor O’Donnell, editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday; Sebastian Hamilton, group editor at the Irish Daily Mail; and Debbie McCann, crime correspondent at the Irish Mail on Sunday; and Alison O’Reilly, of the Irish Daily Mail and formerly of the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Mr Hamilton, the tribunal heard, has managerial and strategic responsibility for both the Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Mail on Sunday while he is also a director the publishing company DMG Media Ireland.

He specifically told the tribunal he does not have editorial responsibility for the Irish Mail on Sunday.

Similarly, Mr O’Donnell told the tribunal:

“I have full responsibility for the editorial output in The Mail on Sunday, so I don’t really have discussions, I don’t have many discussions with Sebastian Hamilton regarding what goes into the Sunday paper.”

In June 2017, Ms O’Reilly made a statement to the tribunal.

Part of this statement can be read here.

Ms O’Reilly went on to allege to the tribunal’s investigators that:

“I was told by my former colleague in the Irish Mail on Sunday, Debbie McCann, between 2013 and 2014 that Superintendent Dave Taylor and then acting Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, told her Maurice McCabe abused a girl when she was a child.”

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal about several conversations she claims to have had with Ms McCann.

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her she was worried her name was going to be printed – as she had penalty points quashed.

[Ms McCann told the tribunal she did have points quashed after she wrote to a superintendent and used a legitimate process to request they use discretion. She said: “I don’t remember having this conversation with her, but obviously I wouldn’t like to have my name printed in a newspaper in relation to this.]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann told her she was going to go up to Ms D’s house and “get the girl to talk”.

[Ms McCann told the tribunal: “I didn’t say that. We don’t generally go on doorsteps with a view of getting somebody to talk”.]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann called Sgt McCabe a paedo, child abuser and a dirty fucking bastard.

[Ms McCann claims this is language she wouldn’t use].

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann later told her she spent an hour with Ms D and went so far as to describe how she was sitting and holding herself as she spoke to Ms McCann.

[Ms McCann says she has never met Ms D].

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal that Ms McCann told her she’d heard about Ms D from Supt Dave Taylor and she seemed to have been very moved emotionally by Ms D’s story.

[Ms McCann refused to be drawn on what conversations she did or didn’t have with Supt Taylor]

Ms O’Reilly claims Ms McCann said Sgt McCabe was hated with the gardaí.

[Ms McCann has told the tribunal: “That’s not true, in the sense that there were plenty of Gardaí who were very much on his side on this.”]

Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal that Ms McCann told her how she was upset when a story on Ms D wasn’t published. Ms O’Reilly has told the tribunal:

“She [McCann] said that Conor O’Donnell wanted to put it in as an anonymous story but that editor-in-chief, Sebastian Hamilton, did not want the story in the paper. She said Sebastian was too cautious about the scandal and didn’t want to run it.”

But the tribunal has been told by Ms McCann, Mr O’Donnell and Mr Hamilton that no story was ever written.

The tribunal has heard that Ms McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, was the first journalist to call to Ms D’s home in February/March 2014.

The Irish Mail on Sunday never published a story about Ms D, while it’s been the evidence of Ms D and Ms McCann that they’ve never met or spoken over the phone.

However, the tribunal has been told that it took the Mail five months to tell the tribunal about the fact that Ms McCann did visit the home of Ms D.

And this disclosure only came after the tribunal was told about it by someone else.

The tribunal has also heard of specific correspondence between the Mail’s solicitor Michael Kealey and the tribunal.

On March 13, 2017 – after Judge Peter Charleton made his opening statement – Mr Kealey wrote to the tribunal and said, in one part of the letter:

“Journalists employed by my clients and for whom I also act may have information which falls within the terms of reference of the Tribunal.”

Asked if he was aware of this letter, Mr Hamilton said:

“I probably must have been. I don’t have any particular recollection of it.

The tribunal heard that, on March 15 2017, the tribunal also wrote separately to four journalists at the Mail – Alison O’Reilly, Debbie McCann, Jennifer Bray and Ali Bracken.

Asked about this, Mr Hamilton said: “Again, I don’t have a detailed recollection…” before asking if Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, could provide him with those names.

After he was told those names, Mr Hamilton said he must have been aware of that. But he added:

“I mean, again, I have no recollection whatsoever of it, but I must have been aware that that was happening…”

The March 15, 2017 letters were followed by further letters on April 21, 2017 in which detailed questions were sent to the four journalists.

Asked if he’s aware of this, Mr Hamilton said:

“Again, not specifically, but I’ve no doubt there is an email somewhere that informs me of that.”

Ms Leader told the tribunal there was no response to those letters and so a reminder letter was sent to the four journalists on May 2, 2017.

On May 5, 2017, a reply was sent to the May 2 reminder and the letter of April 21 which stated that the four journalists were unable to answer the questions as set out in the tribunal’s correspondence.

Ms Leader said the May 5, 2017 letter stated:

“My clients… are unable to answer the questions in your letters of the 21st April. They are concerned that, if they did so, they would breach their obligations of confidence towards sources of information or, at the very least, allow for the opening of lines of inquiry that would lead to the identification of those sources. They note the waivers [of Supt Taylor, Noirin O’Sullivan and Martin Callinan] and they say they do not release my clients from their obligations or weaken their legally-established privilege against revealing sources, either directly or indirectly.”

“…That said, as indicated by Mr. Justice Charleton at the hearing on the 30th March, I can confirm that none of the open communications that the journalists in question had with detective Superintendent Taylor relate to matters falling within the terms of reference of the Tribunal.”

Asked if there were discussions around this, Mr Hamilton said:

“I think we would have had general discussions from the beginning and I would have expressed my view, you know, which I think is clear, on my interpretation of privilege, and, you know, but the — the detailed responses would have been handled by Mr Kealey…”

Mr Hamilton did tell Ms Leader the response was in line with his approach to privilege.

On May 24, 2017, a letter was sent to Debbie McCann which outlined what Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the tribunal which included the following:

“[Alison O’Reilly] informed me that The Mail on Sunday crime correspondent, Debbie McCann, had ongoing communications with Garda Commissioner O’Sullivan during 2013 and ’14. Ms. O’Reilly said that Ms. McCann told her that the Commissioner had given information to her claiming serious sexual misconduct on the part of Sergeant McCabe. It involved a girl in Cavan whom it was alleged had been abused by Sergeant McCabe.”

Mr Kealey, the tribunal heard, then wrote back to the tribunal saying:

“Your letter and the enclosed material from Mr. Howlin gave rise to a number of matters of significance upon which I need to take detailed instructions before a response can be finalised. I will be unable to do so within the time frame.”

Then on June 2, 2017, the tribunal wrote to Ms McCann again, saying:

The Tribunal has been informed that you attended at the house of a young lady in County Cavan, who is being referred to in the Tribunal as Ms. D and who originally made an allegation of assault against Sergeant McCabe. The Tribunal would be grateful if you could furnish it with a statement relevant to the circumstances which led you to making the said approach and particularly whether this was at the suggestion or direction of any person and, in particular, and also, whether it involved in any way of any persons named in the Tribunal’s terms of reference.”

Mr Hamilton said he didn’t have a particular recollection of this letter.

He said:

“…it’s just in terms of asking me questions about my knowledge of particular letters, you know, there will be things like holidays and being away, where, you know, not having had a chance to look back at any of this, I’m kind of only going to be able to say, yes, I’m sure an email went around, but I certainly don’t recall a particular discussion of that letter, but that is not to say there wasn’t one. It’s just that kind of — with this coming slightly from left field for me, I genuinely can’t recall. You know, I am happy to go away and see if I can shed any more light on it, but I don’t remember that particular letter and the discussion around it.”

Ms Leader explained that, in July 2017, Ms McCann told the tribunal’s investigators, during an interview, about her trip to the D house.

Ms Leader put it to Mr Hamilton:

The Tribunal got information from Mr. Howlin, from the Ds, in relation to Ms. McCann’s involvement in the story… and then asked Ms McCann about it, and she told us about it. But does that in any way — is that consistent with cooperating with the Tribunal and being, once people are asked about, do you have any information?, not putting it forward but simply leaving the Tribunal find it out in another way and then dealing with it?”

Mr Hamilton said:

“My slight difficulty with that is that because I wasn’t, and never kind of had been, involved with, and wasn’t aware of at the time the approaches to — or the approach that was made to Ms. D, and I’m not certain — I’m not certain at what point I ever became aware that Debbie McCann had made an approach to Ms. D, and I can’t remember at this remove, you know, certainly without going back, whether that formed any part of any of the discussions I had been involved in, I don’t know whether — to be honest, I am not — I genuinely don’t feel I could say that I was — that I can recall being privy to the thinking behind that approach. “

Ms Leader asked Mr Hamilton if there had been a decision made at the Mail “to say, okay, we are going to claim journalistic privilege, we are not going to tell the Tribunal anything about any of our journalists knowing anything about the D story until such time as we see what other information the Tribunal gets?”

Mr Hamilton said: “I’m certainly not aware of any decision in those terms having been taken at all.”

Mr Hamilton, when giving evidence, repeatedly said that Ms O’Reilly had a grievance with the Mail.

During his evidence, which was just over an hour long, Mr Hamilton said it five times – once he said it was a “substantial” grievance and twice he said it was a “clear” grievance.

At one point the judge told him: “You know, Mr. Hamilton, you can have a grievance with somebody and still tell the truth.”

In addition, the judge outlined facts which weren’t immediately disclosed to the tribunal – which have nothing to do with Ms O’Reilly.

He said:

The fact that someone goes and knocks at somebody’s door, is a fact; the fact that they speak to somebody’s mother, is a fact; the fact that you know that, your newspaper knows that, is a fact; the fact that that is nothing to do with journalistic privilege, the fact of being at the door, but nonetheless you choose not to tell us and it takes you five months to get to the point, when we already know the information, I have to put it to you. So, I mean, it’s all very well to say journalistic privilege to journalistic privilege any number of times you wish, but at the moment that doesn’t look very impressive to me.”

The alleged grievance which Mr Hamilton was referring to is the ongoing legal action Ms O’Reilly is taking against the Mail – following the fallout of a story by Ms O’Reilly which was published in the Irish Mail on Sunday on March 27, 2016, about the Buncrana pier tragedy in which Louise James lost five family members after the Audi jeep they were in slipped off the pier and into Lough Swilly in Co Donegal.

After the story was published, Ms James complained to the newspaper and the newspaper subsequently apologised – stating Ms James had not consented to being interviewed.

Ms O’Reilly, who recorded her conversation with Ms James, has told the tribunal: “I am challenging how Mr Kealey got his apology from me and how I was treated by the company.”

She also told the tribunal: “I’m telling the Tribunal everything I know in relation to Maurice McCabe, and I have considered all of these things before I made my statement.”

On April 13, 2018, the tribunal heard that the Mail sent a letter to the tribunal outlining the matters pertaining to the Buncrana story – and alleging that Ms O’Reilly’s issues with the fallout of that are behind her claims about Ms McCann to the tirbunal.

The letter stated:

“My client believe that the state of Ms. O’Reilly’s relations with them at the time she spoke with Mr. Howlin is relevant issue and was a strong motivating factor in her actions and also, in their view, cast considerable doubt on the credibility of the witness.”

After several questions about this from Ms O’Reilly’s counsel Fíonán Ó Muircheartaigh, Judge Charleton stepped in an put to Mr Hamilton:

“…There is A and there is B and they are working for your newspaper; A says one thing, B says the other, and you choose… this is the question put to you, to write a formal legal letter to the Tribunal rubbishing B and supporting A, and I am using the word ‘rubbishing’ because effectively you are saying that she is lying, and the reason why, is the question you are being asked.”

Mr Hamilton outlined several reasons for his position.

He said no article was ever prepared for publication by Ms McCann, let alone published.

He said the Mail papers were “extremely supportive” of the whistleblowers – Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson.

He said Ms O’Reilly had previously gone to him with grievances/concerns but, on this occasion, didn’t.

He said it doesn’t make “logical sense” to him that Ms McCann would have said the things to Ms O’Reilly which she alleges were said.

He said there is no evidence to support her claims.

And he said there was no interview with Ms D.

He said while he doesn’t have direct evidence as to the truth or otherwise of Ms O’Reilly’s allegations, he said those with direct evidence say they’re untrue.

Mr O’Hamilton who a two-page article in the Irish Daily Mail on Saturday, February 11, 2017 – six days before the tribunal was set up – stating:

“The public good was served by having all of the evidence out in the open….And it is within the Government’s power to insist that [our poor] Chairman holds the inquiry in public. The Taoiseach and the Justice Minister must do so or risk damaging the reputation of our already tarnished justice system even further.”

The editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday Conor O’Donnell told the tribunal about the day he was asked by the news editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday Robert Cox – to give permission to Ms McCann to travel to the D house.

Mr Cox hasn’t given a statement to the tribunal but Mr O’Donnell said he is available to give evidence if required.

He said:

“Robert Cox, the news editor of the paper, came into my office early 2014 to inform me that Debbie McCann had some information on Maurice McCabe, an allegation of a sexual nature, sexual impropriety involving a young girl, and he wanted to know and Debbie wanted to know if she could go to see if we could get an interview with the young woman involved, I agreed to that.”

“And she then went to interview the woman. She called to the house, she spoke to the mother, they were not willing to discuss the matter. Debbie left the house, drove to a petrol station shortly after, as is our standard procedure, if we send to the door, the reporter is always required to ring the news editor immediately after, she rang Robert Cox to say that she had spoken to the mother and they are not willing to do anything. He told me this, and I said, fine. And Robert Cox had understood that to mean we will do no more on this and we never did. And shortly after that Debbie McCann went on maternity leave.”

“…What happened is we sent. Nothing came of it. We did nothing more on it and we never discussed it again.”

Mr O’Donnell said he never spoke to Ms McCann about the potential story.

He said when Mr Cox relayed Ms McCann’s information to him, he was aware it concerned Sgt McCabe and a young girl but he didn’t know the name of Ms D.

He said he knew, at that point, that the DPP ruled there was no case to answer.

He did concede Ms McCann’s source – given her job – was likely to come from a Garda source.

Asked if he had seen Paul Williams’ articles from April 2014, Mr O’Donnell said he did.

Asked if he regretted that Mr Williams got the story and the Irish Mail on Sunday didn’t, Mr O’Donnell said:

“No, because we made an effort to get the story, we made an effort to interview the girl, and they weren’t willing to do so, so that was it.”

Mr O’Donnell wasn’t asked about the correspondence between the Mail and the tribunal or the delay in telling the tribunal about Ms McCann’s visit to the D house.

When Ms McCann gave evidence, her version of what happened on the day she went to the D house matched that of Mr O’Donnell.

She said the information she had going up to Ms D is that she understood an allegation had been made, it was of a historic nature, the allegation was of inappropriate touching, and the DPP ruled not to prosecute.

She said she had a variety of sources on the matter and she rejected the claim that she told Ms O’Reilly that her father John McCann, a retired senior guard and former senior member of the Garda Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Unit, had confirmed the story.

In relation to the claim by Ms O’Reilly that Ms McCann told her she was getting information from Noirin O’Sullivan, Ms McCann said:

“That didn’t happen. First of all, because I have told the Tribunal that there was no communication between myself and Nóirín during that period, and also, secondly, because I’m not in a habit again of revealing any sources.”

She said she’s also pretty sure she knew Ms D was the daughter of a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe’s.

She later said: “I had that it was an allegation of inappropriate touching. I think I knew at the time that there may have been tickling involved, but I think that’s all I knew.”

Ms McCann repeatedly refused to tell the tribunal any detail of any off-the-record conversation she had with Supt Taylor – despite Supt Taylor signing a waiver to this privilege.

Supt Taylor has told the tribunal he did negatively brief about Sgt McCabe to Ms McCann and that she phoned him before travelling to Ms D’s home.

Ms McCann refused to confirm whether she told Supt Taylor that she was going to call to the D house, ahead of her visit.

Following on from this, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, put it to Ms McCann that she had no problem telling the tribunal of her communications with her father and Ms O’Sullivan in relation to Sgt McCabe.

They had this exchange:

Marrinan:” Well, I mean, you had no difficulty telling us about your father and your conversation with your father?”

McCann: “He is my father.”

Marrinan: “I know. But there’s no difficulty telling us about that. And you had no difficulty telling us about your conversations with Nóirín O’Sullivan and the content of them and the fact that Sergeant McCabe wasn’t mentioned, isn’t that right?”

McCann: “That was a very specific allegation –”

Marrinan: “Yes.”

McCann: -“.. in relation to Nóirín O’Sullivan. And we assisted the Tribunal in pointing out that the allegation had been that I was in contact with her over the phone, and we pointed out that if you were to go back over her telephone records, that it would back up my assertion that there was no communication between us. I was trying to help the Tribunal in the best way that I could.”

When Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt Maurice McCabe, questioned Ms McCann, she agreed that it would be “absurd” to claim privilege in relation to on-the-record conversations with Supt Taylor.

But she still refused to confirm whether Supt Taylor gave her any factual details pertaining to Sgt McCabe and Ms D – i.e. that there was a complaint, that there was an investigation, that the DPP categorically ruled that there be no prosecution.

Ms McCann repeated she needs to consider her future career as a journalist and used the expression “going forward” six times – three times in less than a minute.

Ms McCann also repeatedly told the tribunal she has “no evidence of any orchestrated campaign” against Sgt McCabe.

At one point Judge Charleton suggested to Ms McCann she was giving him “pre-prepared” answers.

He also pointed out that Ms McCann’s claims to the tribunal on Friday were the first time he heard from her that no member of An Garda Síochána ever briefed her negatively in relation to Sgt McCabe and it was the first time he heard her say no senior management in An Garda Síochána ever attempted to malign Sgt McCabe to her.

Mr Kealey, for Ms McCann, interrupted to say that Ms McCann did say what she told the tribunal on Friday in her original statement to the tribunal “namely, that she was not negatively briefed by the Gardaí and was unaware of any orchestrated campaign”.

But Judge Charleton told Mr Kealey his objection was “completely wrong”.

The judge said:

“This is the first time I have heard, and believe me I do follow these things, from Ms. McCann that no member of An Garda Síochána ever briefed her negatively in relation to Sergeant McCabe. This is the first time I’ve heard that no senior management in An Garda Síochána ever attempted to malign Sergeant McCabe to her. That is the first time I have heard it. So your objection is wrong. It’s totally wrong.”

Under repeated questioning from Mr McDowell, Ms McCann finally said that she didn’t believe that being told a fact that an allegation had been made is maligning somebody.
Mr McDowell then had the following exchange with Ms McCann:

McDowell: “So when you tell this Tribunal, on your oath, that you were never aware of any Garda smear campaign…”

McCann: “Mm-hmm.”

McDowell: “…you aren’t saying that the telling of a truthful answer to a question about Sergeant McCabe could be part of a smear campaign?”

McCann:I am not saying that David Taylor was a source on this or not.

McDowell: “No, I am not asking you that. I am just asking you to face up to what your evidence actually means, because words have meaning on occasion. And I am putting it to you that you are very carefully distinguishing between factual statements about Sergeant McCabe made by any Garda source and a smear, on the basis that they are true or untrue or whether they were asked for by a journalist or volunteered, is that your frame of mind?”

McCann: “Yes. Well, that would suggest that I — if I were to go out and ask questions of any individual in the course of my work, that I would be maligning the person who is responding to me as maligning and smearing people across the board. That is not how it works.”

McDowell: “So that if any member of An Garda Síochána said to you Ms. D has made an allegation many years ago against Sergeant McCabe and a file was sent to the DPP after an investigation and it was — the DPP directed no prosecution, that is not a smear?”

McCann: “I had — no, I had a variety of sources on this matter, some were Gardaí and some were not.”

McDowell: “Yes.”

McCann: “And by me asking them that question and getting back a factual answer, I don’t believe that they were smearing him.

McDowell: “You see, that is the whole point… But I want to put it to you that you have come here, using formulaic evidence, to effectively mislead this Tribunal as to the source of your information?”

McCann: “I absolutely have not. I have been answering the questions to the best of my ability in this matter.”

Previously, the tribunal heard of a series of text messages which were sent between Ms McCann and Ms O’Reilly in May 2014.

When Ms O’Reilly gave evidence, the tribunal heard the following sequence:

O’Reilly to McCann:

“A highly respected officer held in ‘high regard’ is how judge Guerin describes McCabe.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“I am fully aware and, to be honest, I think it’s gross. There is a very messed up girl at the heart of it and no one gives a fuck.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“It’s a farce. Everyone knows, from politicians to cops to journos. It’s an fucking pantomime.”

McCann to O’Reilly:

“Sorry for Shatter? It’s just like a house of cards. Self-preservation is the name of the game. It’s one big sordid game. Nóirín should get the job, she’d be fab, and it’ll be the ultimate knee-jerk reaction if they go down the civilian route. I also feel for Callinan. What a way for his career to end. The tape thing is one big f-ing smokescreen designed to save political face, and at what cost? Justice will be the biggest loser if the government continues the way it’s going. It’s disgusting.”

On Friday, Ms McCann told the tribunal that the sequence above was missing a text.

She told the tribunal: “Can I just point out that there is a text message in between that deleted… That I have here in front of me.”

Ms McCann then read the text:

“‘Paul Williams and the Indo have an agenda against McCabe,’ says Micheál Martin to pals.”

Ms McCann told the tribunal she believes that changes the whole context of the exchange.

She said: “…that “to be honest, I think it’s gross”, if you read the full context, that would suggest what I’m calling gross is the game-playing that’s happening in relation to it and not Sergeant McCabe.

Broadsheet understands more evidence pertaining to these texts has been given to the tribunal.

Meanwhile, in relation to Ms McCann’s mention of “tickling” being part of her understanding of the allegation against Sgt McCabe, it was put to Ms McCann that the only place this word is used is in Supt Noel Cunningham’s investigation of Ms D’s original allegation.

In his investigation file, it states: “It’s of interest to note that Ms D recalls being tickled by Maurice McCabe. A natural reaction to a child being tickle is to squirm…”

Declan Doyle SC, for Ms O’Reilly, said to Ms McCann: “As far as we know that [Supt Cunningham’s invesigation file] is the only place that there was reference to tickling, it’s the first time it came into the public domain. So, I’m suggesting to you that you had the Garda file, is that right?”

Ms McCann said: “No, I don’t. And I have never had sight of any Garda file.”

Asked where she got it from, she said she got it from a source.

[Supt Taylor has told the tribunal that while he requested the file on the Ms D allegation from Mr Callinan, Mr Callinan never gave it to him]

At one point on Friday, after a lengthy debate about privilege, Judge Charleton told Ms McCann:

“You apparently phoned him [Supt Taylor] to tell him what you’d done, that is what he tells me, and then every time you are asked any question about that, you say journalistic privilege, journalistic privilege, journalistic privilege.

“Well, for a start, I have to know the facts and circumstances on which you are basing that, and then, secondly, I actually need to know that you are actually telling me the truth, because I can tell you, I’m not an idiot, and I have sat here for very close to 90 days, and I know, subject, of course, to hearing submissions in accordance with in re Haughey, that an awful lot of people haven’t told me the truth.”

Ms McCann replied: “I’m telling you the truth to the best of my ability.”

The judge also said: “I think the truth is the most important value that actually exists in life..”

And Ms McCann replied: “And so do I.”

Judge Charleton told Ms McCann she may have to return to give further evidence to the tribunal.

The tribunal continues.



More as he gets it.


And feuds.

Lots of feuds.

Journalist and broadcaster Brenda Power appeared on RTE R1’s Liveline this afternoon to discuss the reaction to her column in the Irish Daily Mail yesterday which has been  condemned by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and the Equality Authority for its portrayal of the travelling community.

Joe Duffy: “Were you surprised Brenda, when the Equality Authority – no less, issued a statement yesterday calling your article in ‘The Daily Mail’, shameful and that it should be withdrawn immediately?”

Power: “Was I surprised? No, not at all.

Joe Duffy: “Why not?”

Power: “This was sort of par for the course for the Equality Authority and the Civil Liberty Council for civil liberties – to basically close down any criticism, any discussion, any debate on the lifestyle of Travellers, and specifically with regard to the so-called ‘feuding’ that goes on – at the week end as we saw, which led to John Joe Nevin being put in a wheel chair after he was attacked, and had both his legs broken with a nail-studded bat. No, not all, you know, the crime here appears to be commenting on this kind of savagery – but not actually conducting it. And so, no, that doesn’t surprise me at all.”

Joe Duffy:” You say, ‘Imagine Brian O’Driscoll had been set upon at the week end by a couple of thugs, one wielding a golf-club, the other wielding a wooden bat studded with four inch nails and while one held him down, the other smashed his leg in two places – imagine the injury was so severe that the jagged spear of broken bone was left poking through the broken skin of his leg’. We now know John Joe has two broken legs – but what’s your theory, what’s your thesis there Brenda?”

Power: “The point I was making was that the media, more or less ran shy of calling this what is was and there wasn’t, it seems to me, the same level of outrage of indignation that there would have been had this happened to any other sportsman – and had it been done, carried out by anybody else. And you know you can’t say… and you know since nobody has been charged, although there were a couple of arrests – they were released without charge – so it’s not that the debate has been closed down on this matter, because it’s before the courts – it was closed down for precisely the reasons that it said in my article. As soon as you lift your head above the parapet and say, ‘This Traveller feuding is another word for absolute savage barbarity and has got to be stopped’ you are leaped upon by the Equality Authority and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
Could I make another point Joe, it’s interesting that Equality Authority, I didn’t see their statement – I think they said that I was ‘inciting risk’ and they accused me of inciting risk. I would say that if anyone is inciting risk here it’s them. They’ve singled me out to be targeted by a group of people who are not exactly known for settling their disagreements with debate. They settle their disagreements with machetes and slash-hooks.”

Joe Duffy: “Who settles their disagreements with machetes and slash-hooks?”

Power:“The ‘Feuding Travellers’, the people that I am specifically targeting in my article.”

Duffy: “Yeah, but who would you say is specifically targeting you?”

Power: “Well, I mean, I’m saying that the Equality Authority, by singling out my article saying you’re not allowed to say this, that this is outrageous.”

Duffy:“Do you believe Brenda, that the Equality Authority has put you in personal danger?”

Power: “Yeah, I think so – yeah, I’d say they had. And but I mean, my rights really don’t matter here – you know, so long as I’m not allowed to say, to express my opinion. Because that’s what it’s about Joe, it’s about free speech. I’m expressing an opinion, based on an incident. Not only the incident that happened at the weekend, as I mentioned in the piece, not one, but two, two court cases that arose involving Travellers, in the past week. One of course, was one involving Simon McGinley’s savage, barbaric torturing to death of an elderly man in Sligo.
The other was… passed under the radar, more or less – if it hadn’t been for a pretty flippant comment made by the judge about the two women involved who had taken up knitting. That was a situation, just to remind you, because you don’t really get much coverage of the trravellers feuds.
A group of men had turned up in the playground of a school yard as children were being collected after school. They set upon each other with machetes and slash-hooks, including, by the way, a 13-year-old boy whom some adult had armed with a slash-hook – one man ran into a classroom, barricaded himself in with a 5-year-old and their teacher. And you know this just kind of passed under the radar because it was a ‘Traveller Feud’. And these women got suspended sentences for their involvement in this case.
So, I mean, as far as I’m concerned, that child, that 13-year-old with the machete, his civil liberties have been compromised, why is he not in care,? Why are the people who gave him that instrument not behind bars? We wring or hands  about the child soldiers in Sierra Leone and the Central African republics and Rwanda 20 years ago, here are children being given machetes by adults in this country – and you’re not allowed to criticise it, you’re not allowed to raise your voice against it, or the Equality Authority or the Council for Civil Liberties and PAVEE Point telling you you’re going to be incited for hatred, Joe, that’s absurd.”

Listen in full here

Previously Truth To Power

‘Irish Daily Mail’ column on Travellers criticised by Equality Authority (Harry McGee, Irish Times)

idm8/1/2013. Hearings on Abortion Issues

From today’s Irish Daily Mail:

Rhona Mahony has repeatedly failed to give the HSE evidence to support her claim that her €45,000 salary top-up was in respect of fees from private patients. Despite ‘several’ attempts from senior HSE figures to get information, the Master of the National Maternity Hospital has not explained how her €236,000 HSE salary is topped up.
PAC chairman John McGuinness said Dr Mahony would be compelled to come before the committee if she did not explain her top-up to the HSE.
Yesterday, it emerged that Dr Mahony even attended a high-level meeting with HSE director general Tony O’Brien last month where she was asked to hand over payslips and bank documents dating back four years. After details of Dr Mahony’s salary became public last month, a PR firm issued a statement on her behalf, claiming that the €45,000 – paid on top of a €236,000 HSE salary – was ‘in respect of professional fees from private patients attending the National Maternity Hospital’.


Has the Mail lost the true meaning of Christmas?

YOU decide.

HSE: Dr Rhona Won’t Explain €45,000 Top-up (Philip Ryan, Irish Daily Mail) (not available online)

Previously: My Cher Rhona

Professional Fees From Private Patients

No Additional Sweeteners

Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland