Tag Archives: Paul Reynolds

From top: Some of the 319 newly attested members of An Garda Síochána in Templemore last week; Minister for Health Simon Harris

This afternoon.

RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds told Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News At One that gardai have been dispersing groups of people.

He told Ms Lawlor:

“In Dungarvan [Co Waterford], at 7.30pm on Monday night, the gardai went to a green area to break up a football game. There was about ten young people involved. One became verbally aggressive and then he coughed in the garda’s direction.

He was arrested, detained, released without charge but there’s an investigation under way. Yesterday, in Dun Laoghaire, at about 4.40pm, the gardai got a call that there was a group of youths involved in anti-social behaviour. They were directed to disperse and then one was arrested.

“Also at 5pm yesterday, the gardai were called to Maypark in Donnycarney [Dublin] where there was a large gathering. Up to 100 young people, the public order unit, which was only established a week ago, was called in.

“They were supported by gardai from Clontarf, Raheny and Ballymun. The crowd dispersed, they ran in all directions. No one was arrested.

But gardai say they’re now enforcing the new regulations, they’re actively intervening. Those who resist, cough or spit are being arrested. They say this activity could amount to an offence against the Public Order Act or the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

“And, as you said yourself, the Minister for Health [Simon Harris] said this morning that he too was a victim of such an activity where a man and a woman came up and deliberately coughed at him and ran off, laughing.”

Mr Reynolds also spoke about social media “again causing problems”.

He said:

“First of all, there are a lot of young people trying to show off, thinking they’re being clever but really doing, quite frankly, stupid and dangerous things and posting them on social media. They’re gathering in groups, they’re dancing together.

“In one video, I saw, and I don’t think it’s from this country, a young girl licks a toilet seat. Now these videos are being widely circulated. Obviously, the message is that these are not to act as encouragement for anybody.

Also, people are WhatsApping and recirculating scare stories on social media. There are stories circulating of a baby being coughed at in Galway, a nurse in Dublin, a group in Bray pulling masks off older people and deliberately coughing at them.

“Now these are frightening and disturbing but the gardai say they have no received any formal reports or complaints about these incidents so these have not been verified and the gardai are asking people within information on anything like this to contact them, not to recirculate these allegations on social media but to report it directly to them.

“They say they will treat these allegations seriously, if people report them, directly to them. They will investigate them and prosecute if necessary.

“And the gardai also said in a statement this lunchtime that it’s clear public information messages are required at this time and they’ve asked the media not to inadvertently propagate social media myths or fake news at this time.”


Yesterday: Tough On Gatherings, Tough On The Causes Of Gatherings

Previously: Police Academy: Their First Assignment


From top: Oireachtas justice committee this morning; GSOC chair Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring; RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds

This lunchtime.

RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds – who is at the Association of Garda Superintendents annual conference in Naas, Co Kildare today – reported on the group’s response to comments made by the chair of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring at a meeting of the Oireachtas justice committee this morning.

Ms Justice Ring told the meeting:

“GSOC has noted in it submission to this committee that we have become aware, along with the public, of allegations of Garda wrongdoing through the media.

We are aware that the gardai continue to conduct criminal investigations of its own members without the knowledge or the participation of GSOC and we find that troubling.”

This practice runs the risk of allegations of cover-up or bias or corruption when it becomes known that such investigations had been carried out internally.

“It runs the risk that fair and independent investigations are not seen as such by the public because they were not notified outside the organisation.

“Most importantly they run the risk of undermining public trust significantly if such internal investigations go wrong.”

Ms Justice Ring also told the committee that GSOC has set up a separate unit to deal with protected disclosures and has increased its staff for this purpose.

She said GSOC received 24 new protected disclosures from gardai in 2018 and “they have continued in 2019”.

The committee heard 13 cases have been discontinued while GSOC has 36 lives cases, some going back more than four years, with none yielding prosecution or recommendation of disciplinary action.

Following this, Mr Reynolds reported that the President of the Association of Garda Superintendents Noel Cunningham has claimed Ms Justice Ring’s comments “don’t make sense”.

During his report, Mr Reynolds said:

They can’t see how or why someone could or would want to cover up the fact of such an investigation. And therefore they want clarity.”

He added:

There’s no statutory obligation on the gardai to inform the Garda Ombudsman if they are carrying out criminal investigations into other members, suspected criminal activity carried out by other members of the gardai. They’re not statutorily obliged to do that.”

Mr Reynolds also raised Ms Justice Ring’s comments about protected disclosures.

He said:

What the superintendents are saying is that they think the protected disclosures system needs to be looked at, particularly in relation to vexatious complaints.

“That while, of course people should be allowed make protected disclosures, but there is a need for sanctions or for a system whereby sanctions can be imposed on people who make vexatious complaints.”

“And if you look at those figures, and this was pointed out by Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire – he said it was quite poor and it was disappointing that whereby GSOC had 36 of these cases on their books they still hadn’t been a sanction against one member of the gardai and the Superintendents here raising the possibility that surely there must be some, there must be a possibility of some vexatious complaints in there.”


Listen back to RTÉ’s News at One in full here

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris addressing the conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in Cavan yesterday

This morning.

RTÉ’s Morning Ireland broadcast an interview its crime correspondent Paul Reynolds carried out with the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at the AGSI conference in Cavan.

It followed Mr Reynolds reporting that one of An Garda Síochána’s members is being investigated by the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations for allegedly engaging in “outside security work”, which is not permitted.

Mr Reynolds previously reported that false alarms were allegedly set off at a business and these were responded to by gardaí, in patrol cars, and these false alarms were then reported on the Garda PULSE system.

Mr Harris said he couldn’t speak of the specifics of the case as the matter is being investigated.

Mr Reynolds put it to Mr Harris:

“But you are known and have taken a very strong stand on discipline. I mean, and there has been criticisms of your stance at this conference [AGSI] of the fact that even though allegations have been levelled against individuals, that have not been proven, you have prevented people from being promoted.”

Mr Harris said each case is examined on its merits and he’s examined a number of cases and people have been promoted.

He said others have been delayed until he has received more facts.

Meanwhile, separately…


Listen back in full here

Yesterday: Malingering Odours

Previously: “False Alarms”

RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds

Further to the release yesterday of the Disclosure Tribunal Report…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Charleton found:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judge Charleton rejected this inference.

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

He said of Mr Reynolds:

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

He found:

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

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

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


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

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


Dublin City University professor and journalist Colum Kenny

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

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

Both Mr Reynolds and Mr Brady denied this.

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

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

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

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

Previously: Legal Coffee Drinker: The Charleton Report – Conclusions

Maurice McCabe And RTÉ

I Told INM Maurice Was Innocent

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


New Garda Commissioner Drew Harris earlier this morning;  Josephine Feehily, chairwoman of the Policing Authority.

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

RTÉ’s crime correspondent Paul Reynolds interviewed chair of the Policing Authority Josephine Feehily, following the swearing in of the new Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

During the interview, Mr Reynolds raised Mr Harris’s evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal in 2012.

Judge Smithwick ultimately found there was collusion between members of the gardaí and the IRA in the murders of two senior RUC officers – Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchanan – on March 20, 1989 and that gardaí in Dundalk were most likely involved.

Mr Harris’s evidence was given to the tribunal in private but it was later read into evidence.

From this morning’s interview…

Paul Reynolds: “Well, what about the concerns in relation to Dundalk, in particular, whereby the evidence that he gave at the Smithwick Tribunal, in relation to Garda collusion. On the one hand, he has given evidence that the gardai colluded with the murders of two senior police officers and, on the other hand, he’s the head of this force.”

Josephine Feehily: “Judge Smithick made the conclusions in that tribunal and I’m not going to go beyond those. He heard all of the evidence, he took account of all of the aspects that he wanted to take and he reached a conclusion. And, again, that seems to be something that’s overlooked in the conversation. It was a judge-led tribunal and the judge drew the conclusion.”

Reynolds: “That’s true but it wasn’t accepted by the Garda Commissioner at the time and it hasn’t been accepted by many gardai today. It remains a sore point in Dundalk and now we have the man who gave that evidence at the top of the Garda force.”

Feehily: “I’m satisfied to rest on Judge Smithick’s conclusions.”

Reynolds: “I accept that but do you see the difficulty?”

Feehily:I see that commentators are taking one particular aspect of policing and they are, before the commissioner has had an opportunity to address it, they’re drawing conclusions. What I’m saying is that the person who heard all of the evidence drew his conclusions, in accordance with his job and they stand.”

The Smithwick Tribunal report can be read here

Listen back in full here

Earlier: A Show Of Force

Ask A Broadsheet Reader


Basically they are asking us to believe that in the course of a 30-year campaign the most sophisticated terrorist organisation in the world did not plant or acquire any agents in our security institutions, including the Defence Forces and the Garda.

Justice Peter Smithwick accepted Drew Harris’s evidence that he had intelligence pointing to collusion, not least because Garda intelligence confirmed it.

“I think it significant,” Smithwick concluded, “that both police services have received information from reliable sources indicating that there was collusion.”

Good enough for me.

Time for Leo Varadkar to take stock and make tough decisions (Eoghan Harris, Sunday Independent)


From top: RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds covering the Jastine Valdez search in May; with Ray Burke, RTÉ producer; leaving the tribunal last week

Paul Reynolds has been employed by RTÉ for the past 27 years and has been the State broadcaster’s crime correspondent since Veronica Guerin’s death in 1996.

He gave evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal over three days last week.

The tribunal is examining allegations by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor that he was instructed, in mid-2013, by the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan – with the knowledge of Mr Callinan’s successor Nóirín O’Sullivan – to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe was driven by maliciousness and motivated by revenge due to an allegation of sexual assault made against him in 2006.

This was the allegation made by a Ms D – the daughter of a former Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe who was sanctioned after Sgt McCabe made a complaint on foot of the colleague attending the scene of a suicide after drinking alcohol.

In April 2007, the DPP found Ms D’s allegation had no foundation.

Supt Taylor alleges that he was instructed to tell journalists about this allegation and to tell them that the DPP ruled against a prosecution, but that he was to convey that it was the “root cause” of Sgt McCabe’s complaints about malpractice within An Garda Siochana.

Following on from this, the reasons Mr Reynolds was giving evidence to the tribunal were three-fold:

– The former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor claims Mr Reynolds is one of the 11 journalists he claims to have negatively briefed against Sgt McCabe in 2013/2014. Mr Reynolds denies this.

– Dublin City University professor and journalist Colm Kenny claims Mr Reynolds was one of two security correspondents – the other being Tom Brady, of the Irish Independent – who told him in early 2014 that Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child abuse at the time. Mr Reynolds also denies this and the tribunal has heard Mr Brady denies the allegation too.

– The tribunal was tasked with looking at reports by Mr Reynolds on a leaked report of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation on May 9, 2016 – ahead of the report’s official publication – in which he reported Sgt McCabe “lied”. The report said Sgt McCabe told an “untruth”.

In relation to the allegation that Supt Taylor briefed Mr Reynolds about Sgt McCabe, Supt Taylor claimed he would have done this at crime scenes or press conferences.

Mr Reynolds – who said he became aware of a child sex abuse allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2013 in the context of the penalty points controversy – gave a lengthy, and somewhat breathless, account as to why this would never happen.

He said:

“Well, that didn’t happen. And anybody who knows how reporters work in the field, knows that that, you know, couldn’t happen the way it is explained there. If I can give you an example, Chairman.

“For example, I go to a lot of murder scenes. They’re busy places. I arrive with a camera crew or a satellite van. I get at the scene. I have to find out what is going on, what happened, what are the details. I’m moving around, I’m trying to identify if there are any eyewitnesss. I’m trying to — we’re trying to, you know, for everything, to try and find parking for the satellite van and trying to find location for a live view.

“You’re trying to find out what happened, who the victim is, what the situation is, what the circumstances are. You’re waiting for the guards to arrive, you’re waiting for, is there going to be a press briefing, there may be a press briefing and whether it’s at the scene or whether it’s at the Garda station, and the senior officer will arrive and that is usually when the press officer will arrive.

“So the press officer will be in the company of the senior investigating officer. But when Dave Taylor was the Press Officer, more often than not he would do it himself. I would be just one of a number of journalists there. There’s a thing called the huddle, where the microphones are set up, we’re in a group, and in many cases I tend to be asking all the questions because I have responsibility both to television and radio, so we tend to try and put an elongated interview on the radio, and you’re asking questions about the murder and the circumstances, you’re getting as much information as you can so you can broadcast it.

“Once you have that information, you’re gone to the satellite van, you’re trying to get the stuff together. The idea that someone would come in, or, you know, that a press officer would sidle over to you and — in the middle of a particular story and try and talk to you about something completely innocuous, completely different, you know, it doesn’t make sense, really, and it’s not — it wouldn’t happen.

“And how was I separated, you know, the goat, how was I separated from the sheep within the huddle, that we’re all there, we’re all trying to work on this story, so how was I separated
for this particular negative briefing, how were journalists separated, how were other journalists not separated? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t see how it is possible.”

Supt Taylor’s counsel John Ferry BL later put it to Mr Reynolds that he is the “newsman in this country” and suggested it was “completely unrealistic” that he would learn about the past allegation against Sgt McCabe and simply dismiss it.

Mr Ferry said:

“So you have a situation where the journalist that is normally in front of Garda Headquarters, normally in front of the Department of Justice or normally standing in front of a murder scene tent on the six o’clock news, he is told that the actual sergeant who is raising the penalty points issue that the Garda Commissioner is held answerable to has been accused of child sexual abuse in the past… and the journalist says that is the end, no further inquiries?”

It’s a bit like, I don’t know if you ever saw the Naked Gun movies and Lieutenant Drebin is standing in front of the fireworks factory that has just gone on fire and he is giving a press conference to the media and saying move along folks, nothing to see here while the entire fireworks factory is exploding in the sky behind them.”

Mr Reynolds, after saying he knew Sgt McCabe had been exonerated, told Mr Ferry he should work in television.

In relation to Mr Kenny’s claim, Mr Reynolds said this conversation never took place.

When giving evidence Mr Kenny told the tribunal that in early 2014, two security correspondents – whom he didn’t name but whose names he gave to the tribunal – told him Sgt McCabe was being investigated for child sex abuse.

He didn’t appear to be sure of the date during which this alleged conversation took place.

But he said he felt the two journalists were telling him to “cop himself on” and to “not take Sgt McCabe at face value”.

He also said they encouraged him to go and talk to gardai “up there” – which Mr Kenny took to mean gardai in Cavan/Monaghan.

Mr Kenny said they didn’t name any specific people with whom he should discuss the matter.

Mr Kenny said he subsequently went to Sgt McCabe and learned of the DPP’s directions.

He mentioned Sgt McCabe and the DPP’s directions in an article on March 2, 2014 in the Sunday Independentalmost a week before the Irish Independent’s Paul Williams, who was the only journalist to write an article about Ms D in 2014, interviewed Ms D on March 8, 2014. [Mr Williams has since told the tribunal that he doesn’t believe he saw Mr Kenny’s article at the time].

Mr Kenny said the two journalists – whom he said he took very seriously – definitely did not indicate that the child sex abuse allegation was something from the past which had been dismissed by the DPP.

Mr Reynolds categorically denied Mr Kenny’s claim and the tribunal has heard Mr Brady also disputes the claim.

It was put to Mr Reynolds that Mr Kenny believed the conversation may have taken place sometime around a Dáil committee meeting in February 2014 and, in particular, one on February 19, 2014.

Mr Reynolds said he wasn’t at that committee meeting that day, he wasn’t working that day and he was ill that afternoon.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal:

“The conversation that he alleges didn’t happen…I never spoke to him about Sgt McCabe…The man is mistaken…For the last five years, Mr Kenny has been writing disparagingly and factually incorrectly about me.”

Separate to his reports on the leaked O’Higgins Commission of Investigation report in May 2016, Mr Reynolds was also asked about reports he did two years before that – on February 24, 2014 – in relation to the internal penalty points investigation by Asst Commissioner John O’Mahoney.

Apart from allegedly telling journalists about the Ms D allegation, Supt Taylor claims, in his protected disclosure, that he was also to convey to journalists that Sgt McCabe didn’t cooperate with an internal Garda investigation called Operation Squeeze into the quashing of penalty points led by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony – which began in October 2012 and reported in May 2013.

Specifically, Supt Taylor said:

I was instructed by the Commissioner to brief the media that Sergeant McCabe had refused to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony. I later found out that this was untrue.”

[It should be noted that this was a claim made by celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show on Sunday, January 26, 2014 – after Mr Callinan appeared before the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, January 23, 2014, and before Sgt Maurice McCabe appeared before the same on Tuesday, January 28.

Mr Kean had received a briefing from Mr Callinan before the show and has told the tribunal that Mr Callinan instructed him not to reveal him [Callinan] as his source of information – a claim Mr Callinan denies.

In addition, Supt Taylor told the tribunal that the only journalist who pushed back at him in relation to this was Conor Lally, of The Irish Times and that Mr Lally told Supt Taylor he didn’t believe the claim.

When Mr Lally gave evidence, he initially said he couldn’t recall ever having such a conversation with Supt Taylor but then said: “I really can’t get into, for reasons of source protection I really can’t get into specific conversations that I had with individual Garda members.”

He then said: “I don’t remember any conversation with him about that issue, and I’m not sure that conversation took place, actually.”]

Mr Reynolds reported on the O’Mahony investigation on February 24, 2014 – about a month after the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan made his “disgusting” remark at the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr Reynolds reported:

The Garda Commissioner wrote to the whistleblower, Sergeant Maurice McCabe, 14 months ago and told him to cooperate with the investigation into allegations that penalty points had been cancelled.

Martin Callinan issued a direction to the sergeant on the 14th December 2012 to cooperate with the investigation being carried out by the Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony and directing him to bring any information or concerns he had to the inquiry.

The Garda Síochána is a disciplined force and members are required to comply with directions issued by the Commissioner. It is understood that Sergeant McCabe may have been on sick leave for a number of months from December 2012 and did not contact the assistant commissioner until April 2013, by which time the investigation had been completed.”

Mr Reynolds explained to the the tribunal how he came to write this report.

His first report about the matter went on the RTE website at 14.28pm – after he got sight of a letter which was read out to Sgt McCabe in December 2014 by Chief Supt Mark Curran. This letter can be read here.

Mr Reynolds said he didn’t get it from Supt Taylor and that he got it from someone else.

Mr Reynolds said after this story went up online, he sought an on-the-record response from Garda Headquarters and Sgt McCabe.

He said, within about 90 minutes, he received an on-the-record response from Supt Taylor which stated that the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told Sgt McCabe to cooperate with the O’Mahony investigation.

Mr Reynolds then updated his story at around 4pm.

Later that day, Sgt McCabe gave a response to Katie Hannon of RTÉ’s Prime Time and Mr Reynolds said he then incorporated Sgt McCabe’s response into his reports later that evening and the following morning.

The tribunal saw that, a few days after Mr Reynolds’ report on the O’Mahony investigation, John Burke, of RTÉs This Week radio show, wrote to the Garda Press Office:

“In light of statements given in the Dáil during the week and the statement by Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe with regard to whether Sergeant McCabe cooperated with the O’Mahony inquiry into penalty points, can you please inform RTÉ’s This Week programme whether the Garda Commissioner wishes to add or amend any remarks he has put into the public domain or which have been attributed to him with regard to this matter.”

In response, Tony Connaughton, of the Garda Press Office, wrote back to Mr Burke saying:

The Garda Commissioner wishes to confirm that he did not put any remarks into the public domain. Any comments that the Garda Commissioner wishes to put on the public record will be by way of official statement issued by the Garda Press Office or face-to-face
interviews quoting what the Garda Commissioner wishes to convey.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission have been appointed to investigate this matter, and therefore it is inappropriate to comment.”

To recap.

Mr Reynolds says he did a report for RTE based on an on-the-record statement from Garda HQ – via Supt Taylor – but Mr Callinan, via the Garda Press Office, later told a separate RTE reporter that he did not put any remarks into the public domain and that the matter was being investigated by GSOC.

Mr Reynolds told the tribunal he only saw Mr Burke’s email exchange while sitting in the witness box.

He also told the tribunal:

“Well, I mean, I spoke to the Garda Press Officer, I wrote up the story, it went on-line at four o’clock, there were no complaints from the Garda Press Officer, and I had spoken to him a number of times later on that evening and there were no complaints from the Garda Commissioner or the Garda Press Office in relation to the inaccuracy of the story.”

He added:

“I know I got an official statement from the Garda Press Office. I put it on the record and I attributed it…So if there was any problems with it, I would have heard.”

Kathleen Leader then had this exchange with Mr Reynolds:

Leader: “…what I am suggesting to you is, it would seem to be that at least Superintendent Taylor was making it clear to you, as I understand it, that Sergeant McCabe had not cooperated with the O’Mahony inquiry.”

Reynolds: “First of all, I was never briefed by Superintendent Taylor that Sergeant McCabe refused to cooperate.”

Leader: “Yes.”

Reynolds: “I never reported that he refused to cooperate. I was given a statement from Garda Headquarters that said the Garda Commissioner said he didn’t cooperate.”

Leader: “Okay.”

Reynolds: “And that is what I published.”

It should be noted that Asst Commissioner John O’Mahony – when he gave evidence on June 6 last – was shown Mr Reynolds’ report and said he was not Mr Reynolds’ source and never spoke to Mr Reynolds about it.

He also says that what Mr Reynolds reported “wouldn’t be my view either in relation to what
had actually happened”.

Asst Comm O’Mahony – when he gave his evidence – also made it known publicly for the first time that he purposefully didn’t engage with Sgt McCabe when he was carrying out his investigation as he felt “precluded” from doing so, due to regulations.

He also said Mr Callinan would “been aware of the process” he was undertaking.

Meanwhile, in regards to Mr Reynolds’ reports on the leaked O’Higgins Commission of Investigation report on May 9, 2016…

In Sgt McCabe’s protected disclosure of September 2016, Sgt McCabe said he was on work-related stress and:

“One of the reasons for this is to a disgraceful series of broadcasts on RTÉ on 9th May 2016 purporting to leak an account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission report in which I was branded a liar and irresponsible.

“I am now satisfied on impeccable authority that those RTÉ broadcasts were planned and orchestrated by the Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan personally using briefing material prepared at Garda Headquarters.”

The tribunal has already heard that Sgt McCabe’s “impeccable authority” for this claim is John Barrett, the head of HR at An Garda Síochána. Sgt McCabe told the tribunal that Mr Barrett told Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine during a visit to their home.

But Mr Barrett, the tribunal has heard, says this conversation did not take place.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, told the tribunal last Friday that Sgt McCabe would not be withdrawing the allegation. He said:

“Sergeant McCabe isn’t in a position to withdraw anything; he has faithfully reported to the Tribunal what he was told by Mr Barrett and it’s up to this Tribunal to ascertain whether his account of what Mr Barrett told him is correct or whether it’s not, but he is not withdrawing his testimony as to what he was told by Mr Barrett.”

Mr Barrett will resume giving evidence on this on Thursday.

Mr Reynolds, who told the tribunal he would have risen “through the ranks” with Ms O’Sullivan, said he only became aware of Sgt McCabe in 2013 due to the penalty point controversies that arose that year.

In December 2012, People Before Profit TD Joan Collins named Irish Independentjournalist Paul Williams as having had points quashed while, in April 2013, Gemma O’Doherty, in the Irish Independent, reported that points pertaining to the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had been quashed.

[The tribunal has repeatedly heard Sgt McCabe wasn’t the source of Ms O’Doherty’s story].

Mr Reynolds said, also in 2013 and in the context of the penalty points controversies, he became aware of a child sex abuse allegation which had been made in the past about Sgt McCabe.

Similar to other journalists – such as Conor Lally, of The Irish Times, Michael O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star, and John Mooney, of The Sunday Times – Mr Reynolds said the matter never concerned him because of his knowledge of the DPP’s directions in relation to it.

He said:

“I think I first heard that there had been an allegation some time around 2013, but I heard it all together, if you know what I mean, I heard there had been an allegation but that there was nothing to do it, and then I heard four facts in relation to it: I heard the fact that there was an allegation, I heard the fact that there was an investigation, I heard the fact that a file had been sent to the DPP and I heard the fact that there was no prosecution. And that’s it…once I heard that the DPP had decided there was no prosecution, it was… as far as I was concerned, it was nothing to do with me as a reporter.”

In his statement to the tribunal, Mr Reynolds said: “I do know that the allegation was circulating for a time in media, Garda and political circles.”

He also told the tribunal:

“I knew politicians knew about it, I knew journalists knew about it, I knew Gardaí knew about it, but I also knew myself about it and I knew there was nothing in it.”

Mr Reynolds was asked if he ever thought that when he heard about the allegation, did he feel it was being linked to Sgt McCabe’s motivation for making complaints about poor policing in Cavan/Monaghan.

Mr Reynolds was categorical that this wasn’t the case.

He said:

“No, I’ve never heard that, and that didn’t make sense to me…Because he was exonerated.”

And yet, reference to the Ms D allegation came up twice in notes that Mr Reynolds took in April and May of 2016 – ahead of his reports on his leaked copies of the O’Higgins report.

Mr Reynolds referred to his notes as “bits and bobs”, he said some things he jotted down were his own reflections while others were notes of conversations he had with others.

In his April notes, Mr Reynolds wrote down:

Sgt in charge
– Complain against him
– Investigation locally (mistake)
(Wrong) – Supt Clancy

Mr Reynolds said that this note was born out of a conversation he had with a person who was talking to him about the 2006 Ms D allegation.

He said:

“The person I was talking to told me that the — in the — the allegation in 2006 was investigated locally and that was a mistake, it shouldn’t have been investigated by the local inspector. It was kept in that division, it should have been — an officer from outside the district or the division should have been appointed to look after that. That was what the person told me.”

When asked by Kathleen Leader what the D allegation had to do with the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, Mr Reynolds said:

“Well, nothing really, yeah. This is the sort of thing that comes up in conversation, when you are talking about policing in Bailieboro, the problems of the division, you know, and it would have been a conversation like that, you know, that would have been wide-ranging, where I would have heard, first of all, about — the allegation would have come up and somebody would have said, oh, there was a complaint made in 2006 but sure there was nothing in it. And I’d say, oh, what do you mean a complaint? Well, there was a complaint made, it was abuse of a minor, it was investigated, there was a file sent to the DPP and there was no prosecution. Oh, right, okay.”

Asked if he believed this information was being relayed to him by means of explaining Sgt McCabe’s complaints thereafter, Mr Reynolds said:

“No I don’t believe so.”

Asked if that information came from Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Reynolds said: No.

Ms Leader later referred to the second time the Ms D allegation cropped up in his notes -this time in May 2016.

The note said:

“Initial complaint, 2 [guards] working in the same station. Boss down the corridor asked to investigate it.”

Again, Ms Leader asked Mr Reynolds what the Ms D allegation had to do with the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Mr Reynolds said:

I don’t know where it came from. It could have come from a conversation.

Mr Reynolds repeated that he never believed that the Ms D allegation was the source of Sgt McCabe’s complaints.

He then had this exchange with Ms Leader:

Leader: “Why did you think you were being told about it?”

Reynolds: “I didn’t think about that.”

Leader:You’re a journalist; surely, Mr Reynolds, you would put — ask a question, why am I being told about this?”

Reynolds:No, well, you see, I already knew at that stage that there was no prosecution.”

Leader: “Well, that is exactly the point.”

Reynolds: “Yeah.”

Leader: “So why are you being told about it? Did you ever ask yourself that?”


Tomorrow we will publish a comprehensive report on Mr Reynolds’s RTE reports of May 9, 2014.

The tribunal resumes on Thursday.

Yesterday: A New Disclosure


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Paul Reynolds, crime correspondent, RTÉ News

RTÉ News chose to lead on the Philip Cairns case again today.

The station’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds spoke to Áine Lawlor on News at One about ‘new developments’ in the case.

Some may feel these new developments bear similarities to the new developments announced last Friday night by Mr Reynolds.

Ms Lawlor began their discussion by asserting that gardaí had made a link between Philip Cairns and convicted paedophile Eamonn Cooke and then asking if this assertion was a correct one.

A small tay.

Paul Reynolds: “Yeah, they’ve confirmed new lines of enquiry have opened up after the woman came forward. Now, Gardaí were in contact with this woman since the appeal on the 25th anniversary of Philip’s disappearance in October of 2011. Now she was clearly still very traumatised and she was a 9-year-old child at the time. The gardaí kept in contact with her, they reassured her, they worked to build trust with her and they waited until she felt that she could come forward and make a statement.”

“And that happened last month and we know that, in that statement, she told them that convicted paedophile Eamonn Cooke had struck the 13-year-old boy with an implement at the pirate radio station, Radio Dublin in Inchicore. And that she wasn’t in the room at the time but that she’d went in and seen Philip Cairns lying unconscious and bleeding on the floor. That she fainted and when she woke up she was in a car, being driven by Cooke.”

“Now the Gardaí, the woman told the Gardaí that Cooke knew Philip Kerins and had promised to take him to visit the radio station. They still don’t know exactly how Eamonn Cooke got to know the child but at that time, you know, it was apparently a regular occurrence for Eamonn Cooke to visit the radio station, Radio Dublin.”

“And there is a context for all this as anybody who was around at the time will know Áine, I mean broadcasting was a huge interest at the time. People who owned and worked in pirate radio stations were stars. There was huge glamour, fame and celebrity surrounding pirate radio and thousands of people – adults teenagers and children – were fascinated by radio, much as they are by the media today.”

“And many wanted to work in radio. So it wasn’t really unusual for children to be interested in this. And not unusual for Eamonn Cooke to take advantage of that, to abuse children. And when he was questioned on his deathbed about Philip Cairns, by the Gardaií, he refused to tell them directly, or through an intermediary – a solicitor or a priest – where Philip’s remains are but he did, I understand, indicate to the Gardaí that he did know the child.”

Lawlor: “And of course Philip’s mother has spoken about her hopes again. In terms of trying to track him down because this obviously must be a priority for the gardaí is to try to give his family some certainty and closure on this. Are they appealing for more information – do they have further lines of inquiry?”

Reynolds: “Yeah, I mean they did confirm [transmission cuts out briefly before continuing]…this afternoon they’re to give a number of new lines of appeal in relation to specifically other people who may have been at either location. Now the locations are the Ballyroan Road – when Philip was on his way back to school, the place where he’s believed to have disappeared from. And then subsequently, six days later, the laneway where his schoolbag is found. And also they’re seeking information about Eamonn Cooke and his movements at the time. Was he in that area at the time? And also his movements in and around Radio Dublin, the radio station at that time and indeed people who were there and who may have seen children coming and going at the time.”

“Now, specifically as well, now what they will do this afternoon is commend the victim, the victim was only nine years of age at the time and the Gardaí say it’s perfectly understandable that victims of violent, dangerous, serial and recidivist abusers take some time to come forward with information. Many victims only come forward after their abusers have died and can do them no further harm. And Eamonn Cooke was, to many people, a frightening figure, a convicted paedophile who had abused children at that time. So the Gardaí say, as part of this appeal, they want to work and build trust with others who may have information and still might be afraid to come forward.”

Lawlor: “Ok, Paul. Thank you very much indeed for that.”

Listen back here

Yesterday: Philip Cairns And A Trail Of Disinformation

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From top: Paul Reynolds, of RTÉ; Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan speaking to journalists at Phoenix Park this morning

Earlier today.

Paul Reynolds interviewed Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.

It’s the first time Ms O’Sullivan has spoken publicly about the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Mr Reynolds reported on RTÉ’s News At One’s news headlines:

The Garda Commissioner was anxious today to reassure the public that changes that are badly needed in An Garda Siochana will be implemented including changes in training, supervision, incident management and how victims of crime are dealt with.”

“She says it took some time to make the case for investment so that the gardaí could receive the resources necessary to make these changes happen.”

In relation to allegations that some officers may have been preparing to give testimony against Sgt Maurice McCabe, at the O’Higgins Commission, which contradicted his, at a meeting in Mullingar, the Commissioner said she took action as soon as she became aware of the public commentary that gave this impression.”

“She said that she cannot comment further because the matter is being investigated by GSOC. She also said that the Garda needs to change its approach to whistleblowers but it’s already taken steps in that regard.”

Listen to Mr Reynolds’ interview with Ms O’Sullivan in full here (go to 10.20)

O’Sullivan acted ‘as soon as possible’ over allegations (RTE)

UPDATE: A transcript of the interview…

Paul Reynolds: “Commissioner, you mentioned there were recurring faults. What do you say to criticism from people like Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, elected representatives, who say that you were a part of the senior management who didn’t implement those changes when they should have been implemented because the faults kept occurring?”

Noirin O’Sullivan: “Well I don’t think that there’s either time or space to go into it here but that’s something we can explore further with the authority and that’s why we were very anxious that the authority would bring forward a public session because I think it’s very important that the public are reassured that there are lessons have been learned and I think also that…”

Reynolds: “But why were they recurring?”

O’Sullivan: “That the public can be reassured that there is now adequate levels of investment, to allow us to start implementing some of those changes that are very badly needed. So for example, if you look at some of the criticisms, quite right criticisms, in the O’Higgins Commission particularly, we had incident management and  supervisory management about insuring that Gardaí are properly trained. That there are supervisory management practices in place to ensure that people are actually being supervised properly and they have been supported in doing the job that they have to do and providing the appropriate level of service. Particularly to victims in crime, we now have the opportunity to put those measures in place because we now do have the investment.”

Reynolds: “You’ve been criticised in relation to, following the publication of the report, in relation to the actions of some senior officers. Now, I know that allegations were made, they’re unfounded, and this has been sent to GSOC for investigation, but the questions in relation to you have been: what did you know about this? When did you know it? And why didn’t you act before the GSOC investigation was set up?”

O’Sullivan: “Well I think there are a couple of very important points that need to be made. Firstly, Mr Justice O’Higgins conducted a Commission of Investigation, of which we was the sole member. He had the opportunity to hear all of the evidence, from all of the parties and all of the submissions on behalf of all of the legal parties. And Mr O’Higgins’ report speaks for itself, having weighed up all of those submissions, all of the evidence given by all parties. When we received the O’Higgins Commission report, and some of the public commentary attributing, misplaced or otherwise, belief that senior officers had done something which was improper and inappropriate to do, then it was immediately required to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and that investigation, I’m not allowed, I can’t comment any further but it is being investigated by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

Reynolds: “But can you not say why you didn’t take action when you became aware of it?”

O’Sullivan: “Well you know, I’m sure Justice O’Higgins would have a view, if I were to go into the middle of his commission. But, as soon as I became aware of the public commentary which gave this impression, it was required to the Ombudsman.”

Reynolds: “You gave evidence to the Commission, didn’t you?”

O’Sullivan: “Well I think anybody that looks at the report, there’s an appendice of witnesses to the report. Obviously, the Commission was a private sitting and it was a matter for anybody that was before the Commission to request it to be in public but it is a matter of record, in the report, that I appeared as a witness.”

Reynolds: “But what about your handling of Sgt Maurice McCabe? The criticisms in relation to instructions to your lawyers, in relation to testing his credibility, his motivation and his integrity?”

O’Sullivan: “Well, you know, again, I’m on record as saying that An Garda Siochana have lots of things to change. One of them is our approach to people who want to have a different voice and who have a different voice and want to bring things to our attention. And very, very clearly, from day one, I’ve said that dissent is not disloyalty, we have taken a number of steps to ensuring that people can bring forward issues of which they want to raise. Some of those people just want to raise their issues and they want to have them dealt with and they have that right. In order for people to be able to come forward and people that want to, under the Protective Disclosures Act, bring forward disclosures. We have put systems into place to ensure that people can do that, that there will be a safe environment in which they can do it. And we are working with bodies, such as Transparency Ireland, to ensure that the proper environment is there so that people can do that. We’ve also appointed a Protective Disclosures Manager and we will have appropriately trained staff to deal with that.”

Reynolds: “Ok but why did you, why did you test his credibility and motivation… no, sorry, why did you test his credibility and motivation?”

O’Sullivan: “Well, I think, refer it back to the statement, you know, I’m very restricted in what I can say in relation to what happened at the Commission but I think a previous statement makes it clear what the approach was.”

Previously: Clarifying Matters

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RTÉ crime correspondent Paul Reynolds on RTÉ’s Six One earlier this evening

Earlier this evening.

RTÉ crime correspondent Paul Reynolds reported that he obtained new documents in relation to the exchanges between Garda Commissioner’s senior counsel Colm Smyth and Judge Kevin O’Higgins during the Commission of Investigation into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s complaints.

Mr Reynolds reported that the documents show Mr Smyth told the judge he was instructed, by the Commissioner, to challenge the ‘motivation and credibility’ of Sgt Maurice McCabe.

This, Mr Reynolds reported, was because Ms O’Sullivan had to consider the welfare of all of the gardai not just Sgt McCabe.

Grab a tay.

Mary Wilson: “Paul Reynolds, what’s going on?”

Paul Reynolds: “Well. OK. This controversy began last week when it was reported that the Garda Commissioner’s legal team was going to claim that Sgt Maurice McCabe was motivated by malice. This was in marked contrast to the Commissioner’s public statements in support of the Garda whistleblower.”

“Now we have seen documents today which show that, early in the Commission’s hearings, the Commissioner’s senior counsel said that, quote, his instructions from the Commissioner were to challenge the integrity of Sgt Maurice McCabe. Now the judge put that issue to one side, so if you can think of that as an earlier hearing.”

Wilson: “OK.”

Reynolds: “And that was brought up later in the proceedings in the hearings of the Commission. In fact, just before the Garda Commissioner was due to give evidence. Now. The Garda Commissioner came in to give evidence and the judge sought clarification on this issue.”

“Now the Commissioner’s senior counsel then told Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins that, quote, my instructions at all times were to challenge the motivation and credibility of Sgt Maurice McCabe.”

Senior counsel Colm Smyth also said that it was on an error on my part when he said, earlier, that his instructions had been to challenge the integrity of Sgt McCabe.

“So he said that he made a mistake at the earlier hearing when he said he was challenging his integrity. But he said they were going to challenge Sgt McCabe’s motivation and credibility.”

“But, specifically, they were going to challenge his motivation and credibility in relation to his allegations of corruption and malpractice. Now you know that, sorry, we know that Sgt McCabe made serious allegations of corruption against five senior officers including the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.”

“So, the Garda Commissioner’s legal team was going to challenge his motivation and credibility in relation to this. Senior counsel for the Garda Commissioner told the judge that Sgt McCabe had, quote, alleged corruption on the grand scale against the five senior officers and that he had been invited to withdraw the allegations of corruption against Martin Callinan but he had refused to do so.”

“Now, as we know, the commission’s report came out last week and found there was no evidence to substantiate any of the allegations of corruption against any of the gardaí and not a scintilla of evidence to support Sgt McCabe’s allegations of corruption against the Commissioner.”

“So the Garda Commissioner’s senior counsel also pointed out the reason why he was challenging the motivation and credibility of Sgt McCabe on these points, he said he was doing this on behalf of Nóirín O’Sullivan because she had to consider the welfare of all of the gardai not just Sgt McCabe. She had a concern for his welfare and his concerns, but she also had a concern for the other officers, the other officers against whom the allegations were made. They were also under her control and, quote, that she had to hold the balance.”

Wilson: “Ok, a lot of detail there, Paul, if we pick our way through it, I take it you’ve had sight of certain material. We know that other material that other reporters had sight of has made its way into the newspapers.”

“At this stage, without challenging the rights and wrongs of either sets of documents that you’ve all seen and what they say or don’t say, how is this going to be all cleared up, once and for all? Does it require the commission chairman to come out and make a clear statement?”

“Because we’re talking here, not about the evidence, if I’m correct, but about the case that’s being set out by the lawyers. A lawyer would come into a courtroom or before a commission and say, the case I’m going to make is this, they set out their stall.”

“So does it require the commission chairman to make a statement, to clarify it for once and for all, or does it require the lawyers to come out and clarify for once and for all about what went on?”

Reynolds: “Well, these documents are essentially clarification documents and they do tend to clarify it because if you look, just to go further, in relation to that allegation of malice – and that’s the one that’s been subsuming people and politicians over the last week – Colm Smyth, the senior counsel for the Garda Commissioner told the judge that the Commissioner never claimed that Sgt McCabe was motivated by malice and he said, ‘I never used the words mala fides’. He said, ‘those were the words that in the first instance came from Mr McDowell’, that’s Michael McDowell, senior counsel who was representing Maurice McCabe, his legal representative.”

“He also said that the word ‘malice’ was introduced, or the words mala fides were introduced by yourself, the judge, in interpreting what my instructions were. So he said that the Garda, that he never used the word malice or mala fides and neither did…he never used them on behalf of the Commissioner, the words were used by the judge and by Michael McDowell, who was representing Maurice McCabe.”

Wilson: “But then, sorry, Paul, just to be clear. Colm Smyth we’re talking about here, the senior counsel, what was he going in to clarify when he went back before the commission then?”

Reynolds: “You see what happened was, at this later hearing, the judge read a transcript to Colm Smyth from the earlier hearing. And at the earlier hearing the word ‘malice’ was used twice by the judge when he put the transcript, the earlier transcript to the senior counsel, and the senior counsel.”

“And the senior counsel in the transcript of the earlier hearing replied, ‘so be it, that is the position judge’. However the issue had been left to one side so this later hearing clarifies that when the judge reads the transcript back to Colm Smyth and he says, the senior counsel on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, he clarifies this by saying, ‘I never used the words mala fides’ and after he clarifies it, the senior counsel for the Commission, Sean Gillane stands up and says, ‘let me clarify this’ and he says, quote, “no case was being made that Sgt McCabe either lacks integrity or acted mala fides in bringing his complaints”.”

Wilson: “OK”

Reynolds: “So he clarifies it and the judge accepts this and he says, oh, this clarifies the position, and the judge’s final word in the exchange is, ‘good, well that is clarified’ so the judge accepts the bona fides of Colm Smyth acting on behalf of the Garda Commissioner and accepts the clarification and Noirin O’Sullivan then gives her evidence.”

Right so.

Listen back in full here

Previously: No Absence Of Malice


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Katie Hannon and David McCullagh on RTÉ’s Prime Time tonight

Meanwhile, also earlier tonight, journalist Katie Hannon revealed sections of transcripts from the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in May and November, on RTÉ’s Prime Time.

The following are the sections reported by Ms Hannon:

Colm Smyth SC: “I have instructions from the Commissioner, Judge. This is an inquiry dealing with allegations of malpractice and corruption on a grand scale by members of An Garda Siochana.”

Judge Kevin O’Higgins: “No. This part of the inquiry…”

Smyth: “I appreciate that but my instructions are to challenge the integrity of Sgt McCabe and his motivation.”

O’Higgins: “The integrity?”

Smyth: “His motivation and his credibility in mounting these allegations of corruption and malpractice.”

O’Higgins: “…An attack on somebody’s credibility and his motivation or integrity is something that really doesn’t form part of this inquiry. It would be necessary for you to go further and say that the complaints and the actions of Sgt McCabe were motivated by… that is motivation was dishonest or wrong.”

O’Higgins: “…In other words that he made these allegations not in good faith but because he was motivated by malice, by some such motive and that impinges on his integrity. If those are your instructions from the Commissioner, so be it.”

Smyth: “So be it. That is the position judge.”

O’Higgins: “Those are your…”

Smyth: “Yes. As the evidence will demonstrate judge…[later] this isn’t something I’m pulling out of the sky, judge, I mean I can only acting on instructions.


O’Higgins: “But you are attacking his motivation and you are attacking his integrity?”

Smyth: “Right the way through.”

O’Higgins: “Full stop.”

Smyth: “Yes. Full stop.”


Smyth: “My instructions are reconfirmed.”

O’Higgins: “Very good. Your instructions as I understand them are that Sgt McCabe acted as he did for improper motives.”

Smyth: “Yeah.”

O’Higgins: “Okay and that his integrity is being challenged in that respect.”

Smyth: “In that respect.”

O’Higgins: “Okay, fine. So be it.”

Later in November, on the day Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is due to give evidence – by which time Sgt McCabe had produced a transcript of his meeting in Mullingar with two gardaí

Smyth: “As far as the Commissioner was concerned at all stages I had instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe in relation to motivation and credibility.”

O’Higgins: “And integrity?”

Smyth: “No. There was no mention of integrity.”


Smyth: “…that is an error on my part.”

O’Higgins: “Well that is the clarification I sought. So the position now is that his motive is under attack, credibility is under attack from the Commissioner. But not his integrity.”

Smyth: “Just to be clear about it. The credibility in so far as he made these allegations of corruption and malpractice. There is no question about that.”


Smyth: “Judge, the Commissioner has a duty of care to all members. She wasn’t acquiescing. She has to hold the balance between, on the one part she has Sgt McCabe who she has a concern for and his welfare and on the other hand she has a concern for the Superintendents who are under her control. She has to hold the balance. She cannot come down on the side of Sgt McCabe and say I agree with everything he says without challenge.”

Watch Prime Time back in full here

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RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds on RTÉ’s Nine News on Wednesday

You may recall RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds’ report on RTÉ’s Nine News on Wednesday in which he said more than 20 people are expected to be charged in relation to the protest in Tallaght last November in which Tánaiste Joan Burton was ‘trapped’ in her car.

One of those named in the reported was Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy. Mr Murphy has since made official complaints to the offices of the DPP, the Garda Commissioner and GSOC over the leaking of the information to RTÉ.

An internal Garda investigation is now under way into this leak.

Yesterday, Garda whistleblower John Wilson told Newstalk: “The source of the leak may or may not have come from within an Garda Síochana. It could have very well have emanated from a high level from the office of the DPP.”

This is what was said in the report on Wednesday:

Eileen Dunne: “More than 20 people are expected to appear in court in the coming weeks in connection with a water charge protest in Tallaght last year in which the Tánaiste Joan Burton was trapped in her car for over two hours. RTÉ News has learned that the DPP has directed they be charged with a variety of offences. For more on this, we’re joined in studio by our crime correspondent Paul Reynolds. Paul, can you fill us in on the background first of all?”

Paul Reynolds: “Well Eileen, people will remember that last November the Tánaiste Joan Burton and her assistant were trapped in her car in Tallaght, in Jobstown for about two hours. Their car was surrounded by protesters who were chanting, banging on the car, shouting slogans. Now after that incident, the gardaí began a criminal investigation and almost 40 people were arrested, including juveniles, teenagers and three public representatives. Among those detained were the Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy and two anti-austerity councillors, Kieran Mahon and Mick Murphy. After they are released, they held a press conference outside Terenure Garda Station at which they said, they accused the gardaí, and the Government, of political policing and they said that they were confident that a jury would find them not guilty of any charge, particularly of a charge of false imprisonment. However, the garda investigation continued and a number of other people were arrested.”

Dunne: “So what has the DPP now directed?”

Reynolds: “Well, in total, 40 people were arrested and the gardaí sent a number of files to the DPP in relation to around 30 people, my understanding is 30 files were sent to the DPP for consideration. Now, we have learned tonight that the DPP Claire Loftus has directed that around 20 people, more than 20 people, are to face charges in connection with the incident. Now these charges include allegations of false imprisonment, violent disorder, criminal damage and offences under the Public Order Act. Now, some of those people are due to be charged with some offences but others, I understand, will face multiple charges.

Dunne: “Now I understand that any trial will take place in the circuit court as opposed to the district court. What’s the significance of this?”

Reynolds: “Yeah there had been some public commentary in relation to this because the DPP hadn’t come back within six months of the incident that people may not be charged at all because it would have been statute barred but that only applies to the district court. Charges have to be brought within six months if somebody is to appear before the district court but this doesn’t apply in the circuit court. So the directions have come back and these people, who are to be charged, will face trial on indictment which is before the circuit court. Now the circuit court is different because in the district court, you appear only before a judge, there’s no jury but in the circuit court you may appear not only before  a judge but also before a jury and are entitled to trial before jury. However the penalties, at Circuit Court level, are more severe. Now the gardaí must implement the DPP’s directions so in the next few weeks people may either be arrested  and brought to the courts, they may be arrested and brought to a station to be charged and then given station bail to appear before  a court at a later date or they may be summonsed to appear in court.”

Watch back here

Gardaí launch investigation into how plans to arrest water charge protesters were leaked (Newstalk)

Garda investigation into RTÉ revelations on Burton protest charges (RTE)