From top; Maurice McCabe, Journalist Paul Williams, Detective Superintendent John O’Reilly, counsellor Laura Brophy
Is day 14 of the Disclosures Tribunal.
Earlier this week, it heard evidence from Ms D – the woman who made a complaint to gardaí against Sgt Maurice McCabe in December 2006 which was investigated by the DPP – and her parents Mr and Mrs D.
Readers will recall how the tribunal has already heard that Ms D’s complaint in December 2006 came 11 months after Mr D “lost his position and was reverted to other duties” after Sgt McCabe “caused the institution of serious disciplinary procedure against” Mr D in January 2006.
After the DPP investigated Ms D’s complaint, a letter from the DPP’s office was sent to the State solicitor for Cavan Rory Hayden on April 5, 2007, which stated:
I acknowledge receipt of your letter dates 1st March 2007 together with copy Grda investigation file.
I agree with you and the Guards, that the evidence does not warrant a prosecution. There was no admission. The incident as described by the injured party is vague. It appears that it was only when she was eleven/twelve that she decided that whatever occurred was sexual in nature.
Even if there wasn’t a doubt over her credibility, the incident that she describes does not constitute a sexual assault or indeed an assault.
Further, the account given to her cousin [redacted] differs in a number of respects to that given to her parents and the Guards.
There is no basis for a prosecution.
Readers will recall how Ms D’s 2006 allegation resurfaced during a counselling session seven years later in the summer 2013, in Cavan, with RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy.
An erroneous allegation of rape against Sgt McCabe ended up being attributed to Ms D when Ms Brophy sent a botched referral to Tusla in August 2013.
The tribunal is not re-examining Ms D’s allegation of 2006 but it is examining how her allegation became conflated with the allegation of rape and how, and if, this was circulated between RIAN, Tusla and An Garda Siochana.
The examination of this matter is part of a wider investigation into allegations of a smear campaign orchestrated by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan with the knowledge of the current Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan – as alleged by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.
Journalist Paul Williams – who wrote four articles about Ms D and her 2006 allegation in April and May 2014 – also gave evidence.
Mr Williams was the only journalist to write about Ms D and her then eight-year-old allegation before it became publicly known in February of this year that a counsellor [Laura Brophy] had made the error of adding an unrelated allegation of rape in a referral to Tusla.
Readers may wish to note that Mr Williams, Ms D, and Independent News and Media (INM) share the same solicitor for the tribunal – Kieran Kelly. Mr Williams told the tribunal that he suggested Mr Kelly to the D family in February of this year.
It’s also worth recalling that Ms D claimed the 2006 allegation would have been known in the Bailieboro, Virginia area while Mr D claimed it was an open secret in the gardaí.
Others to give evidence this week included Detective Superintendent John O’Reilly, who helped put Mr D and Paul Williams in touch with each other in 2014; Superintendent Noel Cunningham, who originally investigated the 2006 allegation; and Supt Leo McGinn, who inadvertently informed Mr D of the false rape allegation attached to Laura Brophy’s incorrect referral in 2013 when he showed Mr D the referral.
Further to this…
Readers may wish to note the following discrepancies – some minor, some not so minor – and some points of interest…
The tribunal has heard how Ms D took up counselling on July 24, 2013. She explained she went as her mother encouraged her to go before she returned to college in September 2013. This, she and Mr D claimed, was because she was hearing a lot about Sgt Maurice McCabe in the media around that time.
Specifically, Ms D said:
It would have been probably around May/June  time that I would have began to hear Maurice McCabe’s name being mentioned. And yes, it did, it rattled me. It was upsetting me and I do believe my mother could see that it was affecting me. She was the one who asked me if I would attend counselling again, and very reluctantly, but to keep her happy, I had agreed.
Ms D’s father said:
I know the O’Mahony report into the penalty points issue was released in May or June of ’13, so there would have been mention of — Maurice McCabe’s name would have sort of come up in the media every so often, and I noticed, and especially her mum noticed, any time Ms. D would have heard it, it made her — she got upset, she got annoyed, and I remember her mother speaking to me and saying this and saying that she would like Ms. D to go maybe to see a counsellor to make sure she had dealt with all these issues before she went back in September, back to the southeast, back to college. “
But: Sgt Maurice McCabe was not named in the national press as a Garda whistleblower until January 2014.
Ms Brophy said Ms D had two counselling sessions – on July 24, 2013 and August 8, 2013, with the purpose of the second to obtain Sgt McCabe’s identity. Ms Brophy didn’t take any notes of the second session and merely added Sgt McCabe’s identity to a form she had filled out during the first session.
But: Ms D couldn’t really recall a second session.
Laura Brophy said when she met with Ms D on July 24, 2013, she gave Ms D a Confidentiality in Counselling form, which Ms D signed on that date. Ms Brophy told the tribunal that she would usually go through that document with her clients.
“I would generally go through that document. So, I’d kind of — I would explain it and then offer it to them to read through and then ask them to sign it and then I would sign it.”
Specifically, in regards to Ms D, Ms Brophy said:
“When the issue came up that there was a possible reporting issue I would have again spoken about my need, if identifying information came up, to report [an alleged abuser to Tusla].”
But: Ms D told the tribunal:
“I honestly don’t recall it being explained to me in depth. I do know I signed the confidentiality form, but no, I don’t recall it being discussed in depth with me.”
Laura Brophy said she referred the matter to Tusla in August 2013 (without realising she had included an unrelated rape allegation) because she believed there was no Tusla referral from 2006.
But: Ms D said she told Ms Brophy that the matter had already been investigated, that the DPP had ordered that there was to be no prosecution, and that Tusla were made aware of the matter in 2006. Ms D also said she couldn’t recall Ms Brophy telling her that Tusla did not have a referral from the matter in 2006.
Mr D spoke with Detective Superintendent John O’Reilly, who knew about the 2006 allegation, about journalist Paul Williams before Ms D met Mr Williams.
In a statement to the tribunal, Mr D said:
I met John and he asked me how Ms. D was getting on with all the publicity surrounding McCabe at the time. I told him she wasn’t getting on well and I told him that we had been approached by journalists but I was cautious of them.
John said to me would she talk to a journalist that was prominent in the media, such as Paul Williams. I said I wasn’t sure but it was Ms. D’s decision, I would talk to her. I ran it by Ms. D and she knew who Paul Williams was from the media and she said she didn’t want publicity, but just to give her story.”
But: Of the same meeting, Det Supt O’Reilly told the tribunal:
And at that time there was quite a lot of newspaper articles around Sergeant McCabe, and in the course of conversation I asked Mr. D how Ms. D was, and he described how she was not in good shape, and then he went on to outline that a number of journalists had called to their home….
He then asked me did I know Paul Williams — no, sorry, Chairman, he said that Ms. D wanted to give her account but she didn’t want to go public. And I — it was kind of — it was a bit of contradictory statement of sorts, I thought, but he said that they were talking about Paul Williams, and then he said to me, do you know him? And I said, I do. He said, what do you think of him? I said, any dealings that I had with him, I found him okay. He then asked me did I have a contact number for him. I checked the phone and obviously I did. He says, can I take it from you? And I gave him the number…
Paul Williams met Ms D on March 8, 2014 and interviewed her, part of which was recorded on video. During the interview recorded on video, they discussed GSOC.
The tribunal has heard that, in the video, Paul Williams said to Ms D:
“Would this involve GSOC or the Guards themselves or who would you like to investigate this? What body are you going to complain to?”
While giving evidence, Mr Williams was asked if he spoke to Ms D about GSOC before videoing the interview and he said: No.
But: Ms D told tribunal:
I recall speaking to Paul Williams and telling him that I was very unhappy with how the investigation of my complaint was handled in 2006. There was a couple of valid reasons I had for this belief, and having explained these reasons to Paul Williams he did suggest to me, and advised me, that if I had a complaint that I wished to follow that GSOC was an avenue I could go down, yes.
After his interview with Ms D, Paul Williams told the tribunal that he shared several phone calls back and forth with the then head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.
Mr Williams told the tribunal he asked Supt Taylor the following questions:
Did this investigation take place?
Who was involved?
What was the decision of the DPP?
Was there an arrest?
Can you confirm if it was Inspector Noel Cunningham who was involved?
Was the allegation placed on PULSE?
Mr Williams told the tribunal that Supt Taylor told him the matter had been investigated, it went to the DPP and there were no charges. He later added: “I was told there was insufficient evidence.”
But: John Ferry BL, for Supt Taylor, told the tribunal according to Supt Taylor, the nature of the call was that Mr Williams was informing him of what happened and that Mr Williams did not ask Supt Taylor to confirm anything specific or confirm or deny any facts. Mr Ferry said:
“It is our instructions that, to the best of our client’s recollection, there was only one phone call, which occurred on the Saturday Mr Williams attended at Ms D’s house.”
“Mr Williams telephoned our client and told him that he was at Ms D’s house and had interviewed her, that Maurice McCabe had destroyed this person and that he was going to write an article that was going to be very damaging to Maurice McCabe.
Asked if Supt Taylor didn’t say anything during the call, Mr Ferry said:
Well, that Superintendent Taylor will say that he took note of what you had told him and that he passed on to his superior, who was then-Commissioner Martin Callinan, and also Deputy Commissioner O’Sullivan, by way of text message.
Paul Williams’ articles are published in the Irish Independent in April/May 2014.
Mr Williams’ first article is published in the Irish Independent, dated April 12, 2014, headlined: “Girl wants new probe into alleged sex assault by Garda“.
In this article, Ms D was claiming that 2006 investigation was a farce, that it was brushed under the carpet; that she wanted it included in the cases being reviewed by Sean Guerin SC, on foot of a dossier of alleged garda malpractice compiled by whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson; and that she wanted a meeting with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin.
It also said that a Garda spokesman said he could not comment.
Mr Williams’ second article is published in the Irish Independent, dated April 15, 2014, headlined: “Alleged Garda sex victim wants to meet Martin.”
A line from the article stated:
“Yesterday, contact was made with Mr. Martin’s office in order to set up a meeting with him, and she is awaiting a response.”
It also stated that a Garda spokesman had refused to comment on the woman’s claims.
But: During the tribunal, Michael McDowell, for Sgt McCabe argued:
“So on 12th you’d said that she would be seeking a meeting, and on the 15th you publish another article increasing the pressure on Mr Martin, isn’t that right, by saying that yesterday contact was made with his office and that she was awaiting a response? Do you think that is normal journalistic activity?
“It was deceiving the reader into believing that you were a journalist reporting on events when in fact you were orchestrating events, isn’t that right?”
Mr Williams said he wasn’t orchestrating events.
On April 16, 2014, Mr Williams wrote a third article, headlined: “FF leader to meet woman at centre of claims she was abused by Garda”
The article claimed Ms D had been on a downward spiral that resulted in two suicide attempts and, in describing her allegation, the article stated:
“He (the garda) was playing hide-and-seek with us, including his own children. He caught me hiding in the sitting room on my own. He closed the door and sexually assaulted me for what seemed like a long time before anyone else came into the room.”
But: The original allegation didn’t allege the closing of a door or that the sexual assualt went on for a long time.
Under cross examination, Mr McDowell put it to Sgt McCabe that gardai in the area would have known who this article was referring to; Supt Taylor would have known; members of the Government whom Mr Williams claimed were aware would have known; Detective Superintendent John O’Reilly would have known; Superintendent Leo McGinn would have known; and the station party in Bailieboro would have known.
Mr Williams argued that the article was “anonymised” but conceded: “Perhaps people close to it worked it out.”
On April 29, 2014, Ms D emailed the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) claiming her allegation of sexual assault was not properly investigated.
In her follow-up statement to GSOC on July 3, Ms D said:
“Paul Williams told me that my case had been known by a few people in senior ranks in the Gardaí and Government for some time.”
In relation to this comment, Mr Williams told the tribunal:
That, that comment came from the fact, I would have been talking to — when after I interviewed her [Ms D] I contacted Dave Taylor, told him what I was looking at, asked him questions. He made a throwaway remark that it was known in the Park, as in the Phoenix Park, and he suggested it was known in government. But it was — it was a passing comment, and I actually reported that back to her, I told her what he told me.
But: As mentioned previously, Supt Taylor has claimed there was only one phone call in relation to Ms D and the purpose of the call was for Mr Williams to inform Supt Taylor.
In addiiton, Ms D told GSOC two unsubstantiated rumours about Sgt McCabe, namely that Sgt McCabe would “hang around the girls’ secondary school in suspicious circumstances” – something Ms D told GSOC Dept Supt O’Reilly told her father, Mr D; and that a girl from Clones, Co Monaghan had made a similar allegation to Ms D, something which was told to her by Mr D.
Mr D confirmed the Clones rumour – which he said he heard from a retired garda who wasn’t named and that he “mentioned it in passing”.
But: A day after Ms D and Mr D gave evidence, Det Supt O’Reilly told the tribunal:
“The first time I was aware of this was yesterday evening, and I was absolutely flabbergasted. I neither said it nor have any knowledge about it, on a personal or any other level. I have no reason to have ever said that, because as far as I’m concerned that is not true.”
Ms D met Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin in the Dáil on April 30, 2014 – a day after Ms D emailed GSOC and the same day Sgt McCabe’s file was “randomly” plucked from a filing cabinet in Tusla in Cavan and Laura Connolly sent a Garda notification with a false rape allegation mixed up with Ms D’s retrospective claim from 2006.
On that same day, Ms Connolly opened intake forms on four of Sgt McCabe’s children – two of whom were over the age of 18 at the time so were no longer children.
Mr Williams told the tribunal Ms D asked him to organise this meeting with Mr Martin. At different stages, he said:
“She [Ms D] asked me to make contact with Micheál Martin’s office.”
“I was asked to make the initial contact.”
“…she asked me would I set it up, and I did.”
But: Ms D told the tribunal that, while Mr Williams didn’t put her up to anything, it was Mr Williams who suggested or advised she meet Mr Martin. She said:
Paul Williams informed me that it was Micheál Martin who brought the dossier of cases that Maurice McCabe was complaining about to the attention of the Dáil, so I felt, I felt that my case was not investigated properly and I feel my case was more serious than some of the cases that were brought to the Dáil’s attention and therefore I could not understand why my case could not be included in this dossier of cases. And I was advised to meet with Micheál Martin and explain my situation with Micheál Martin and see could he perhaps get my case to be included.”
“…he said to me that it was Micheál Martin who brought Maurice McCabe’s cases to the attention of the Dáil and it would be good if you could meet with him and explain why you want your case to be included.”
“…Absolutely nobody prompted me. And I would just like to clarify that Paul did not put me up to going to speak with anyone. He suggested that it may be something that would help as I was very, very frustrated at how my case had been handled and that these were possible people that may be able to get my case to be included in the dossier of cases that were being re-examined.”
Mr Williams told the tribunal that he gave Ms D a lift from the train station to the Dail, where she met Mr Martin, and then dropped her back to the train station. He said they didn’t discuss what she would say before the interview.
But: Ms D, in her evidence, couldn’t remember Mr Williams giving her a lift.
Paul Williams’s fourth article on Ms D was published on May 3, 2014, headlined: “Kenny to set up probe into Garda sex abuse claims?”
It claimed that then Taoiseach Enda Kenny was expected to order an investigation into Ms D’s allegations.
But: Under cross examination, Mr McDowell asked Mr Williams: “Had any Taoiseach spokesman or any person told you that he was going to carry out an investigation into Ms. D’s — or an investigation into Ms. D’s allegation?”
Mr Williams replied: “Ms D was convinced from Mr Martin’s response that Enda Kenny would order an investigation into her allegations.”
On June 17, 2014, Ms D met with Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter, who had just recently stepped down from his role as Minister for Justice over the Garda controversies at the time. Readers will recall the rape error on Sgt McCabe’s file was discovered in May 2014.
Of this meeting, Paul Williams told the tribunal:
“I think in June Ms D asked me would I get in touch with Mr. Shatter. At this stage he was gone from justice, he had resigned. “
Asked why he was organising this meeting, he said:
“Because she asked me.”
But: Ms D told the tribunal:
“It was Paul Williams contacted me and told me that he had been in touch with him and that he was aware of the situation and aware that I wanted my case to be included in the Guerin Report and that he wanted to speak with me about the matter.”
And in a statement to GSOC, she said:
“Within the last two weeks Paul Williams contacted me and said that Alan Shatter had asked to meet me. Paul Williams told me that my case had been known by a few people in senior ranks in the Gardaí and Government for some time. I met Alan Shatter in the Merrion Hotel on Tuesday 17th June. He wanted to speak about my case and told me he was speaking before the Dáil on Thursday and wanted to mention my case to see if it could be fitted into the new investigation that had been conducted in cases in the Cavan-Monaghan area.”
Similar to when Ms D met Micheal Martin, the tribunal heard Mr Williams also met Ms D on the day she met Mr Shatter. Mr Williams said he couldn’t recall him and Ms D having a conversation about the matter.
On May 14, 2014: Ms D informs Laura Brophy of the mistake she made in regards to the rape allegation being added to her referral.
Laura Brophy tells the tribunal of notes of telephone calls that they shared after Ms D made her aware of the rape mistake
But: Ms D has no recollection of any phonecalls
Laura Brophy wrote a letter of apology to Ms D on May 16, 2014
But: Ms D told the tribunal she never got the letter and didn’t see it until the tribunal investigation.
Readers will recall how the tribunal has already heard how Mr D was shown the incorrect Tusla referral by Supt Leo McGinn in “early May”. He couldn’t recall the specific date.
This was his statement he gave the tribunal:
“Early May, my superintendent, Leo McGinn, asked me did I have a minute. I went into his office. He handed me a HSE referral form and asked ‘is that your lassie? I said ‘yeah, that is her’. I saw the detail of the allegation, digital penetration. I couldn’t believe it. I got a fierce shock. I couldn’t think straight. I felt had she told the counsellor this and not told us. Had this actually happened. She had maybe told the counsellor but had not told us. I was sick to my stomach. I couldn’t wait to get out of the office.”
“I didn’t say anything to Leo McGinn as I didn’t know what was going on.”
Yesterday Supt McGinn told the tribunal that when he received a notification from Tusla, on May 7, 2014, that a woman known as ‘Ms D’ had made an allegation to counsellor Laura Brophy about Sgt McCabe, he decided that the original investigation should be reviewed by someone outside the Cavan-Monaghan division.
This botched notification – with the unrelated allegation of rape – was sent by Laura Connolly after she randomly selected it from a filing cabinet on April 30, 2014.
The tribunal heard that Supt McGinn didn’t realise that the 2013 allegation was different to the 2006 allegation and that he sent a note to Chief Supt James Sheridan on the same day he received the referral.
The Irish Times reports:
He [McGinn] said he took no directions from anyone before writing his recommendation. He told Mr McGuinness [for the tribunal] that he thought it was the day afterwards that he showed the notification to the complainant’s father, ‘Mr D’.
Readers will recall that Ms Brophy made a note of a phone call that Ms D apparently made to her on May 16, 2014.
Ms D told the tribunal:
In the documents I received I can see there was a note made by her that a call was placed I believe on 16th of May, in which I informed her that Superintendent Leo McGinn had still not been informed of the error.
And Mr D told the tribunal – in response to a question about if or when he informed Supt McGinn of the mistake:
Chairman, at the time — my feelings at the time, I was so relieved that she told me that it wasn’t her and we’d said obviously this has been a mistake. Now, I don’t remember — what I recollect was that I — I would have contacted Leo McGinn and told him that this was incorrect, this referral was incorrect…
I don’t remember [when he told McGinn], and I have seen — I have seen documentation since from Laura Brophy to say that Ms. D rang her. Now, I asked Ms. D and Ms. D says she doesn’t recall it. I don’t recall saying that to Ms. D.
The tribunal also heard that on May 22, the Chief Supt Sheridan wrote a letter to Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, copied to Supt McGinn, in which he said the May 7th referral contained incorrect information and that the corrected version contained no new information and therefore did not require any further action.
On July 16, 2016 a meeting took place in Mullingar to discuss the May referral and the Tusla error. At the meeting were Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, Chief Supt Sheridan and Supt Leo McGinn, from Baileboro.
Supt Noel Cunningham – who investigated the 2006 allegation at the time and who worked in same office as Chief Supt Sheridan – was not there.
At the meeting it was decided that contact with the HSE would be made and that legal advice would be taken.
Minutes of the meeting were sent to the Garda Commissioner’s office at Garda headquarters in Phoenix Park.
Today Chief Superintendent James Sheridan (retired); Inspector Pat O’Connell; Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny (retired); Sergeant Duffy; and Superintendent Frank Walsh will give evidence.
Previously: ‘That’s Not True Chairman’