Tag Archives: Noirin O’Sullivan

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

The Disclosures Tribunal will continue this morning  at Dublin Castle, overseen by Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton.

Again, the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s evidence to date – in particular that she had little or no specific knowledge of the details of what was unfolding at the commission in May 2015 – will come into sharp focus.

Readers will recall how the tribunal is currently hearing evidence pertaining to the 2015 O’Higgins Commission of Investigation which looked at allegations made by Sgt Maurice McCabe of poor policing in the Cavan/Monaghan area.

Specifically, under the current term of reference, Judge Charleton is attempting to decipher whether of not the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan inappropriately used unjustified grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at that commission.

To that end, it is essentially trying to tease out what actions, by whom, were taken/not taken throughout that commission and, also, to find out who knew what, when.

Today, the tribunal will hear from Assistant Secretary at the Department of Justice Ken O’Leary, among others.

The tribunal has already heard that Mr O’Leary shared several phone calls with Ms O’Sullivan on the day the legal row broke out on May 15, 2015.

One took place in or around the time Ms O’Sullivan was being asked to reconfirm her instructions.

Ms O’Sullivan has already told the tribunal she can’t really recall what they discussed during a call at 4.16pm which lasted for 3 minutes and 35 seconds.

However, she did concede:

“…when I spoke to Assistant Secretary O’Leary my decision and my instructions had already been re-confirmed and I was just satisfying myself was there something going on in the background that I should be aware of.

She also said:

“Chairman, the only — the only thing that I can offer is that, again, my decision and the instructs have been given earlier that day, the only thing I would have been aware of at the 16:16 phone call was the fact that the document — sorry, it was later, actually, it was at, I would say, 7:00 that the document was going to be worked up over the weekend and that that was a piece of work that was ongoing by the legal team.

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From left: Sgt Maurice McCabe, Michael McDowell SC, Colm Smyth SC, and former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

This morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

The legal strategy taken at the 2015 O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, on behalf of the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and several senior gardai, towards Sgt Maurice McCabe will come into sharp focus.

Ms O’Sullivan’s own evidence to the tribunal to date, and that of her liaison officer at the commission Chief Supt Fergus Healy, will also come into focus.

This is because Colm Smyth SC, who represented Ms O’Sullivan and senior gardai at the commission, will give evidence today and will be cross-examined by Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe.

[Mr Smyth gave around 15 minutes of evidence yesterday before the day’s hearing wrapped up]

Specifically, Mr Smyth will likely be asked about consultations he and his team had with Supt Noel Cunningham and Chief Supt Colm Rooney – who were also represented by Colm Smyth SC – on May 12 and May 13, 2015.

However, this questioning may be restrained as the tribunal has heard Supt Cunningham and Chief Supt Rooney have not waived legal privilege – so all or most matters pertaining to their legal consultations may not be discussed.

[Tribunal has also heard that that Attorney General’s Office is also not waiving privilege. This is the reason why solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office, could not elaborate or explain on why she made the note “political dynamite” after learning of the legal row on May 15, 2015. She said this was based on what happened and material she had seen.]

The tribunal has already heard several witnesses say the May 12 and May 13 consultations largely gave rise to the five-page, 20-point letter sent from the Chief State Solicitor’s office to the O’Higgins Commission on Monday, May 18, 2015 – after counsel was requested to do so by Judge O’Higgins on Friday, May 15, 2015, after the legal row broke out.

This letter essentially set out what was going to be put to Sgt McCabe.

It contained an allegation of what Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, likened to a ‘blackmail-like scenario’ against Sgt McCabe in relation to a meeting in August 2008 in Mullingar.

This particular claim was put to Sgt McCabe on Monday, May 18, 2015 and he said it was “absolutely false.”

It was eventually proven false by a tape recording of that meeting taken by Sgt McCabe which was given to the commission.

But this was not the letter’s only problem.

It had many of what Ms O’Sullivan called “factual inaccuracies” and what Mr McDowell has called “gross falsehoods”.

Mr Smyth is also likely be asked about former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s specific instructions relayed to him, via Chief Supt Healy, in May 2015.

Readers will recall how – after the legal row broke out on the afternoon of Friday, May 15, 2015 – Mr Smyth told the O’Higgins commission that his instructions from Ms O’Sullivan had been reconfirmed.

Mr Smyth then agreed with Judge O’Higgins that his instructions regarding Sgt McCabe were that he “acted as he did for improper motives” and that his integrity was being challenged by Ms O’Sullivan.

Specifically, on Tuesday, Mr McDowell asked Ms O’Sullivan if what Mr Smyth said on May 15, 2015 was the “diametric opposite” of her instructions.

She replied: “Well, Chairman, I never instructed that Sergeant McCabe’s integrity be challenged.”

Furthermore, the tribunal has also heard Ms O’Sullivan say that she did make it clear to Chief Supt Healy that at no time was Sgt McCabe’s integrity to be challenged.

She said: “I made it clear that the facts that were going to be tested were never about — nobody ever suggested, in all of the feedback that I got from Chief Superintendent Healy, nobody ever suggested to me that there was any suggestion of an attack on Sergeant McCabe’s integrity.”

Ms O’Sullivan had this exchange with Mr McDowell about the afternoon of May 15, 2015:

Michael McDowell: “…When your counsel is asked what those instructions are, by Mr Justice O’Higgins, he says two things; he said that Sergeant McCabe acted as he did for improper motives, and secondly, that his integrity is being challenged in that respect. He said both of those things immediately after he had received a reconfirmation of your instructions.

“You see, what I am putting to you is, now, that apparently within minutes of you relaying your reconfirmation of your instructions via Chief Superintendent Healy to your counsel, they did the two things that you say you had expressly prohibited them from doing in conversation with Chief Superintendent Healy?”

Ms O’Sullivan: “Chairman, all I can say is that I never instructed that Sergeant McCabe’s integrity be challenged.”

Later in the O’Higgins proceedings, Mr Smyth said it was an error on his part to say Sgt McCabe’s “integrity” was being challenged.

However this occurred after the aforementioned tape recording produced by Sgt McCabe proved that the ‘blackmail-like scenario’ never happened and this was made clear at the O’Higgins commission on June 25, 2015.

Readers should note solicitor Annemarie Ryan, for the Chief State Solicitor’s office has already told the tribunal that she never received any instructions – between May 18 and June 24, 2015 – in relation to the aforementioned denial that Sgt McCabe made clear to Judge Higgins on May 18.

Readers should also note also Chief Supt Healy was in receipt of transcripts of the O’Higgins hearings and passed them on to Ms O’Sullivan private secretary.  He said he “definitely” gave Ms O’Sullivan the “controversial ones”.

In addition, on June 11, 2015, submissions are made to the commission by counsel for Ms O’Sullivan, reiterating wrong claims made in the CSS letter.

Incidentally, the submission went further than the CSS letter in so much that it claimed “evidence” would be given to the commission to support the most ‘blackmail’ allegation.

The submissions stated:

“Sergeant McCabe then made a series of complaints against other officers in Bailieboro station, including Superintendent Clancy, against whom he alleged a lack of support.

“Chief Supt Rooney appointed Supt Cunningham to investigate these complaints. Supt Cunningham attempted to meet Sgt McCabe to discuss the complaints and finally did so on the 25th August 2008. On this occasion, Supt Cunningham was accompanied by Sgt Martin.

It is understood that Superintendent Cunningham and Sergeant Martin will give evidence that Sergeant McCabe said at this meeting that the complaint which he had made was a bid by him to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him and to complaining party.

“This is recorded in a report of the meeting prepared jointly by Sergeant Martin and Superintendent Cunningham.”

When Chief Supt Healy gave evidence, he was asked if the submissions were “signed off on, on behalf of the Commissioner and the various parties”, he said yes.

Mr Smyth is also likely to be asked about his understanding of why Ms O’Sullivan couldn’t meet with counsel or Ms Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office, on the weekend of May 16/17, 2015 – when Ms Ryan was seeking an urgent meeting with her.

Ms Ryan has given evidence that she repeatedly asked Chief Supt Healy to ask Ms O’Sullivan for a meeting at this time but that he said Ms O’Sullivan said she was too busy.

Chief Supt Healy has given evidence that he did put Ms Ryan’s request to Ms O’Sullivan and that she said she was otherwise engaged.

Ms O’Sullivan has been adamant to the tribunal that she was never informed that Ms Ryan sought a meeting.

Mr Smyth is also likely to be asked about a meeting Ms O’Sullivan had with Mr Smyth on May 21, 2015 – of which she has no recollection.

Ms Ryan did not learn of this meeting until July 2015 and she told the tribunal that it was described to her as a “cup of tea” meeting.

It’s unclear whether Mr Smyth will be asked about his understanding of the Ms D allegation.

Ms O’Sullivan received a false referral – alleging that Ms D was accusing Sgt McCabe of rape –  from the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny in May 2014.

The referral was presented as a true allegation and Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal this week that nobody ever told her this was incorrect.

In addition, Mr Smyth is likely to be asked about a meeting in the Four Courts on May 11, 2015.

At this meeting, the garda legal team – Colm Smyth SC, Michael McNamee BL, and Garret Byrne BL – held its first consultation with several gardai, including Supt Cunningham and Chief Supt Colm Rooney.

Ms O’Sullivan wasn’t at this meeting but her liaison officer, Chief Supt Fergus Healy, was there on her behalf.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss one of the incidents the commission was tasked with investigating, a public order incident and possible sexual assault on a bus in Kingscourt, Co Cavan.

But the tribunal has already heard notes of that meeting showed the meeting largely involved discussion around Sgt McCabe – and even former Garda John Wilson – and Sgt McCabe’s motivation.

The notes prompted Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, to say: “This has absolutely nothing to do with the factual matters to be investigated by the O’Higgins.”

Judge Charleton also commented on the notes and said they indicated that the thrust of what was heard at the meeting was that Sgt McCabe was a bitter man, led by emotion which could have led to unconscious bias.

Judge Charleton also suggested that the matters being raised were “liable to muddy the waters” and that they should have prompted someone to say “this may be the background but it has certainly nothing to do with anything that is going to come up in front of Mr Justice O’Higgins”.

Broadsheet tweeted during Mr Smyth’s first 15 minutes of evidence yesterday and will be tweeting from today’s proceedings here.

Previously: Memory Full

Disclosures Tribunal on Broadsheet




This morning.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2

Disclosures Tribunal fan Peter Behan (top) nabs signatures from Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Sgt. Maurice McCabe of a copy of Force Of Justice: The Maurice McCabe Story by Michael Clifford.

Not the most appropriate time perhaps.

But fair play, in fairness.

Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan arriving at Dublin Castle this morning

This morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is expected to begin giving evidence as soon as Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy finishes giving evidence.

Ms O’Sullivan will be asked about her involvement in the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation as Judge Charleton seeks to establish if “unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon” by her “to discredit Sgt Maurice McCabe” during the commission when it heard evidence over 34 days between May and December 2015.

Judge Charleton already said last Friday week that he is no longer investigating whether “false allegations of sexual abuse were inappropriately relied upon” by Ms O’Sullivan to discredit Sgt McCabe during the commission.

This came after Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, confirmed to the judge what Sgt McCabe believes happened. Mr McDowell explained that Sgt McCabe does not believe that anyone intended to ask him out straight if he abused a child.

Instead, Mr McMcDowell said:

“…there was consideration, God knows by whom, given to the question of putting Ms. D’s allegation firmly in the middle of the table at the O’Higgins Commission. It was firmly rejected and would have been an outrageous thing to do.

But we believe and we say, and Sergeant McCabe is adamant on this, that it was dragged back in in a collateral way to embarrass him, to query his motives, to make him — to demean him in the eyes of the Commission and to make it appear that none of his complaints about poor policing in his area were genuine, but that they were all concocted with a view to getting back at An Garda Síochána.”

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Clockwise from top left: Former Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters; Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

Last Friday.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Evidence was heard from the former Secretary General at the Department of Justice Noel Waters and Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane.

Mr Ruane is scheduled to continue giving evidence today and will be followed by Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s office.

On Friday, it also heard of Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, say although nobody was suggesting that somebody was going to ask Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation if he ever abused a child,  “there was consideration, God knows by whom, given to the question of putting Ms D’s allegation firmly in the middle of the table at the O’Higgins Commission”.

It also heard of communications between the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and the former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the bizarre drawing up of statements by the Department of Justice for the Garda Commissioner to make to the Department of Justice.

That particular matter prompted  Judge Charleton to recall Myles na gCopaleen and ask: “If the Garda Commissioner is writing to the Department of Justice what the Department of Justice wants to have written to it, what in heaven’s name does that mean in terms of any genuine progress in terms of attitude?”

It also heard of a draft speech Ms O’Sullivan sent to Ms Fitzgerald on May 18, 2016 –  after the Irish Examiner broke the story in May 2016 about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and the strategy employed against Sgt McCabe – and in which she suggested Ms Fitzgerald tell the Dail, among other things, “I have interrogated this matter in detail with the 22 Commissioner of An Garda Síochána and now present to the House the outcome…I wish to state here now that I have full confidence in the Commissioner” (more about these communications in a later post).

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From top (left): Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald; former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan; a response journalist Ken Foxe received from An Garda Siochana on foot of an FOI request

You may recall a previous post about the Communications Clinic and how it was hired by both An Garda Siochana and the Department of Justice in both 2015 and 2016.

An Garda Siochana paid the the firm €10,400  and €92,955 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The Department of Justice paid the Communications Clinic  €756 and €24,221 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

The post drew attention to the fact two separate attempts made earlier this year, by journalists Ali Bracken, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Ken Foxe – to obtain details of An Garda Siochana’s hiring of the Communications Clinic, under the Freedom of Information Act – were rejected.

Specifically, Mr Foxe sought “copies of any emails between the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and PR consultant Terry Prone or the Communications Clinic during the period in which those services were provided to AGS.”

An Garda Siocana refused Mr Foxe’s request on the basis that there were no emails that were subject to FOI (see docs above).

Further to this…

Last March, Mr Foxe also sent a similar FOI request to the Department of Justice for “copies of all correspondence – both written and electronic – between the Minister Frances Fitzgerald and/or her private office and any of the following people or companies: Terry Prone and/or the Communications Clinic. “

Mr Foxe’s request was eventually refused on the basis that there were no records.

He then appealed this decision.

Yesterday.

Mr Foxe tweeted what he wrote in his appeal and the response he got from the Department of Justice…


Via Ken Foxe

Previously: Noirin’s Prone Position

Terry Prone of the Communications Clinic and former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at the Public Accounts Committee on July 13, 2017

An Garda Siochana paid the Communications Clinic €10,400  and €92,955 in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Further to this…

On Thursday, July 13, 2017.

The former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was asked about this sum of €92,955 by Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry, in a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

Ms O’Sullivan told the committee the money would have been used to train gardai to deal with local radio and media.

She said:

“As part of our modernisation and renewal programme, we have committed to opening up the organisation. I do not have the exact breakdown here, but maybe some of my colleagues do.

The moneys would again have been spent on training Garda and civilian members around the country for interaction with local radio and local media, for example, on some of the information messages that would have gone out around Operation Thor and the “lock up and light up” campaign.

“Again, we can provide an exact breakdown or maybe some of my colleagues would have it, but that is what it would have been.”

When Mr MacSharry specifically asked Ms O’Sullivan if she had attended any media training sessions with the PR firm, Ms O’Sullivan said:

No. Maybe it is an opportunity, if I may Chair, to do something. I have seen a lot of speculation and commentary. Particularly, I think there was a figure of €140,000 mentioned which apparently I spent in terms of preparing for Committee of Public Accounts meetings. That is completely untrue. I have never received any preparatory training. Like yourself, Chair, I am not sure where that reporting came from. Certainly, no, I did not.

Mr MacSharry attempted to clarify further when they had this exchange:

Marc MacSharry:So the €92,000 was for people who would have to be spokespeople for local radio after a crime or were being consulted on an issue or something.”

Ms Nóirín O’Sullivan: “And, for example, district offices. As the Deputy will have seen, one of the criticisms we have received is that we are insular and defensive. Some of the inspectorate reports quite rightly raised the fact we need to speak more openly to the media. The Deputy would have seen a lot of our local officers around the country engaging more with the media. We have found that part of public reassurance is to get on local radio stations in particular and give out messages of reassurance and crime prevention and stories of interest to local communities.”

However…

Yesterday, John Mooney, in The Sunday Times, reported that the Disclosures Tribunal is examining advice which Terry Prone, of the Communications Clinic, gave to the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May, 2016.

Ms Prone gave this advice after it emerged that claims made by Ms O’Sullivan’s senior counsel during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in 2015 – that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was acting out of malice – were proven to be untrue and journalists were asking Ms O’Sullivan for a comment about the same.

Mr Mooney reported:

The tribunal has been notified of email exchanges between senior gardai and Prone from May 2016, when the PR executive was consulted on the wording of a statement issued by the garda press office in response to media queries about O’Sullivan’s approach to McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission hearings.

“…Charleton has been given statements and documents that show Garda Headquarters held a meeting to discuss how it would respond to the issues identified by O’Higgins. The Garda press office later released three statements on the report and the leaked transcripts.

“Prone advised O’Sullivan on the second statement, which was released by the garda press office. It was an attempt to clarify the then commissioner’s role after newspapers published transcripts of the commission’s hearings. The statement, released on May 16, quoted O’Sullivan as saying she believed “dissent was not disloyalty” and she never regarded McCabe as malicious. It added that she was legally precluded from commenting on matters discussed at the commission.

“Charleton has been told the statement was circulated by O’Sullivan to Garda Headquarters on a private Gmail account, which deleted emails after 30 days, before its release. Copies were retained by Garda Headquarters as they were sent to official accounts. The email thread shows Prone had advised O’Sullivan.”

Meanwhile.

Two separate attempts earlier this year, by journalists Ali Bracken, of the Irish Daily Mail, and Ken Foxe, to obtain details of An Garda Siochana’s hiring of the Communications Clinic, under the Freedom of Information Act, have been rejected.

Specifically, Mr Foxe sought “copies of any emails between the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and PR consultant Terry Prone or the Communications Clinic during the period in which those services were provided to AGS.”

In addition.

The Department of Justice paid the Communications Clinic €2,336, €756 and €24,221 in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice released a series of emails which showed how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, RTÉ journalist John Burke sent a press query to the Garda Press Office.

Mr Burke asked about the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s counsel questioning Sgt Maurice McCabe’s motivation at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Subsequent to this, in an email from the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Mr O’Leary stated Ms O’Sullivan phoned him “to let me know they had received queries from Colm O’Nongain [sic] about Sgt McCabe”.

Mr O’Leary added that the Garda Press Office was asked “was it the Garda Commissioner who had instructed counsel to adopt an aggressive stance towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission”.

He told Ms Fitzgerald: “The Gardai are not commenting.”

He then went on to advise Ms Fitzgerald, who was scheduled to appear on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015, to say the following:

“Both the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] and myself have made it clear that Sgt McCabe is a valued member of the Force.”

She was also advised to say she couldn’t comment on the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and that:

“…it would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way.”

In addition, Mr O’Leary also told Ms Fitzgerald that she could say:

“It would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way. The Commission clearly has to be let take its course.”

In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about the matter when she appeared on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015.

O’Sullivan ‘advised’ by PR guru about McCabe (John Mooney, The Sunday Times)

Previously: Getting Their Story Straight

Reputable History

Our Worst Fears

Five Years After

Was The Communications Clinic Hired To Deal With Mission To Prey Before It Was Even Broadcast?

Committee transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Yesterday.

Readers may recall how members of senior Garda management fielded questions in the Oireachtas justice and equality committee in light of the Crowe Horwath report for the Policing Authority on the fake breath tests and issuing of summonses.

During the meeting, Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace revealed that a new Garda whistleblower, whom he said is out sick because of work-related stress, has made a protected disclosure.

Mr Wallace didn’t disclose any more details.

Readers may wish to note that, during the same meeting, Mr Wallace asked the Chief Administration Officer for An Garda Siochana Joe Nugent about former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s private Gmail account.

Specifically, Mr Wallace put it to Mr Nugent that he did a report on the use of a Gmail account by Ms O’Sullivan and then asked if he had sent this report to the Department of Justice.

Mr Nugent said he couldn’t remember if he did, in fact, create such a report.

But he said:

“I certainly looked at emails going back, that’s about 12 months ago, deputy. Can I remember if it was sent to the Department of Justice? I don’t know. It is over 12 months ago that that issue occurred. So, again, I just don’t remember that.”

Mr Wallace also asked Mr Nugent, and the other Garda officials, if any of them had received emails from Ms O’Sullivan’s Gmail account.

Mr Nugent said he would have received “press commentary and interesting articles” from Ms O’Sullivan’s Gmail account.

But he said he didn’t receive any emails regarding official Garda business.

Deputy Garda Commissione John Twomey also said he received press articles.

The other gardai said they either didn’t or they couldn’t recall receiving any such correspondence via Ms O’Sullivan’s Gmail.

Further to this…

Yesterday, Sarah Bardon, in The Irish Times, reported:

Gardaí failed to provide a report to the Policing Authority on a private email account used by former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

“The Irish Times has learned the Policing Authority requested a report “in relation to the email issue mentioned, including some sense of the volumes of traffic on official devices, the scale of usage, content risk and how assurance on mitigation of this risk is provided”.

“This request was made at a meeting in December 2016, a month after it emerged Ms O’Sullivan had used a commercial email service to send official Garda correspondence.

“A similar request to An Garda Síochána was made by the former minister for justice, Frances Fitzgerald.

Nóirín O’Sullivan private email not reported to Policing Authority (Sarah Bardon, The Irish Times)

Previously: When Is A Trawl Not A Trawl?

From top: Assistant Secretary to the Department of Justice, Ken O’Leary; Former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

The release of a series of emails from the Department of Justice last night included how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, RTÉ journalist John Burke sent a press query to the Garda Press Office.

Mr Burke asked about the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s counsel questioning Sgt Maurice McCabe’s motivation at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Subsequent to this, in an email from the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Mr O’Leary stated Ms O’Sullivan phoned him “to let me know they had received queries from Colm O’Nongain [sic] about Sgt McCabe”.

Mr O’Leary added that the Garda Press Office was asked “was it the Garda Commissioner who had instructed counsel to adopt an aggressive stance towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission”.

He told Ms Fitzgerald: “The Gardai are not commenting.”

He then went on to advise Ms Fitzgerald, who was scheduled to appear on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015, to say the following:

“Both the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] and myself have made it clear that Sgt McCabe is a valued member of the Force.”

She was also advised to say she couldn’t comment on the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation and that:

“…it would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way.”

In addition, Mr O’Leary also told Ms Fitzgerald that she could say:

“It would be wrong of anyone to make public comment which might interfere with or attempt to influence those proceedings in any way. The Commission clearly has to be let take its course.”

In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about the matter when she appeared on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5, 2015.

In addition, the emails released last night weren’t sent to the Disclosures Tribunal – which began its work in February – until yesterday.

Further to this…

Last night…

Ms Fitzgerald tweeted…

And this morning…

Meanwhile…

Last night: Adduce This

Previously: Unredacted

In DPP Trouble

Rollingnews

From top: Former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan; former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald; and Sgt Maurice McCabe

Yesterday.

In The Sunday Times.

John Mooney reported:

“The Disclosures tribunal has been given official notes of conversations between Nóirín O’Sullivan, the former garda commissioner, and senior gardai. They outline the strategy she adopted when dealing with whistleblower Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.”

The contemporaneous records show O’Sullivan did not instruct lawyers to question McCabe’s integrity. Instead she asked them to question the motivation and credibility of allegations he was making about garda colleagues.”

Claims that O’Sullivan had instructed lawyers to question McCabe’s  integrity were based on selected transcripts from the commission, which were leaked to newspapers.

“It was suggested she was telling lawyers to challenge McCabe’s integrity in private while publicly commending him for speaking out against wrongdoing.

“O’Sullivan’s legal team subsequently clarified that they had been asked to challenge the whistleblower’s “motivation and credibility”.

“It is understood O’Sullivan was interviewed in private session by Charleton’s investigators last week.”

Notes show ex-garda chief’s strategy in McCabe inquiry (John Mooney, The Sunday Times)

Previously: The Legal Strategy Against Maurice McCabe

May Day

Rollingnews