Tag Archives: Prime Time

Master of the High Court Ed Honohan with David McCullagh on last night’s Prime Time on RTÉ One

Last night.

At the end of RTÉ One’s Prime Time.

Journalist David McCullagh briefly interviewed the Master of the High Court Edmund Honohan.

It followed the decision of the President of the High Court Peter Kelly to remove all debt cases from Mr Honohan.

From the interview…

David McCullagh: “When did you hear about this decision?”

Edmund Honohan: “A reporter rang me. I haven’t officially been told anything by anybody. Nobody has contacted me officially from the president’s office or any other official source.”

McCullagh: “There is a statement up on the website I suppose but you haven’t been directly approached.”

Honohan: “I haven’t been approached. I haven’t had any explanation offered to me.”

McCullagh: “Ok. How do you think you’ve performed in handling these particular cases?”

Honohan: “Extremely well.”

McCullagh: “Well, you would say that I suppose wouldn’t you?”

Honohan: “Yeah. Well, I’ve been there now for in excess of 15 years. I think you have to go back a little bit. A previous master, Patrick Lindsay, Paddy Lindsay, a Fine Gael TD and Minister at the time, he wrote in his autobiography, I brought it in for you here and it’s quite interesting. He said, when I took up the position, he says,

Any day that I worked after lunchtime as a Master [of the High Court] was rare,’ he said. ‘I go through things fast, I attributed the speed with which I was able to turn over an awful lot of work to the honesty and integrity of people appearing before me. There were very few people, I can think of only one, whose word I could not take. And generally, if asked, ‘are your proofs in order?’, or ‘are your papers in order?’ and the answer was yes, then you knew, you could believe what you were told.’

“In other words, he wasn’t reading the papers. Now, I read the papers and I find a surprising number of errors. And my function is to arrange those papers so that they’re in order for a fair hearing downstairs [before the High Court]. And if I find a mistake, I can invite the plaintiff to correct the mistake and if he declines to correct the mistake, then the papers are not in order, and I strike out the summons. Now this may be a source of difficulty, there’s no difficulty about it because that decision can be appealed.

“The real problem seems to be that there’s a perception that if I strike out the summons, that I’m acting in some kind of quasi-judicial manner, I’m not. I’m pointing out that there’s an error in the paperwork, it’s not ready to go on. And I have a duty, under the 2003 Act, to ensure that the hearing which transpires later on, downstairs is a fair hearing for both sides.”


McCullagh:
“Now, just because people might not be that familiar with the legal system. You’re not a judge. It’s a quasi-judicial function. But it’s an administrative thing, to make sure that all the ducks are lined up in a row.”

Honohan: “That’s it yes. You’d often have very, very silly mistakes like affidavits of service not being before the court or affidavits which don’t state the means of knowledge of the deponent. But it’s becoming more and more difficult actually, in relation to the probative value of evidence.

We have Supreme Court decisions now which are of great assistance to the courts which are not actually being read by the practitioners. And they’re not actually being filtered through to the High Court so if I pick up a case and I find there’s a mistake, which causes me to draw attention of the practitioners to the new decisions that are coming forward from the Supreme Court – I point this out. And boy there are plaintiffs who do not like it.

They’re the plaintiffs who are churning out papers on a factory basis and if I say ‘oh, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to adjourn this, they’ll say ‘why?’. Then I’ll say, ‘I’m going to strike out the motion because the papers are not in order’, they’ll say ‘we’ll appeal that’. This is not a difficulty, it is in fact the way the job should be done. Because the papers should be in order.

Otherwise you do not have the opportunity for both sides to effectively participate.

Now I’m dealing with a lot of lay litigants. I don’t know if you understand the concept of ineffective participation – that’s when you’re there in court and you don’t know what’s going on. It’s my job to try and spoon feed these people, to enable them to get to grips with the process that’s before the court.”

McCullagh: “OK, now as you say, you don’t know why this particular decision has been taken. But it’s fair to say that you have been vocal, you have been perhaps controversial. A lot of people would know that you’ve spoken up in favour of people who’re facing repossession and so on…”

[Honohan nods in agreement]

McCullagh: “Would some people wonder whether you’re impartiality might be in question?”

Honohan: “No, no, I can’t imagine how? Because a level-playing pitch in the courts is what the objective is. And there’s no way that I’m making a judgement which is actually impacting on the actual strict legal rights of either party. I’m simply making sure that both parties are ready and prepared to deal with the case when it comes on before the court.”

McCullagh: “You also, famously, recently brought a hammer into your courtroom to break a window because the room was too stuffy?”

Honohan: “Yes..I’m sure that’s not the reason for the change…”

McCullagh: “Well, your room will presumably be less busy now if these cases are…”

Honohan: “Those windows have been fixed actually, so I’m delighted with that.”

McCullagh: “Ok. Edmund Honohan, thank you very much indeed for joining us.”

Watch back in full here from 29.32

Related: Removing Ed

Yesterday: Here Comes The Pane

Last night.

Demonstrators protesting outside RTÉ studios during the broadcast of a ‘Prime Time’ special on the “exponential growth in the number of young people seeking to change gender, and the implications of the proposed new law allowing them to do so without their parents’ consent” featuring an interview with the writer Graham Linehan (above).

Watch back here

Yesterday: ‘Hurting The People It Was Invented To Protect’

Top pic: GCN


;

From top: Prime Time logo; tweet from last night; Barrister Paul Anthony McDermott

before the jury was brought into court, Mr Grehan raised a segment from last night’s Prime Time programme with the judge.

He explained that, following a report on the recent Kerry murder trial, there was a general discussion about the law of provocation between the presenter and a well-known senior counsel, lecturer, author and media commentator.

The defence team then played the segment for the court on the RTE Player.

“I’m not saying there can never be media, academic or legal discussion in relation to a defence or its merits,” said Mr Grehan afterwards.

But we are, in this trial, at a particularly sensitive time where a jury is deliberating.”

Murder trial collapses after jurors reveal they watched Prime Time programme last night (Irish Examiner)

Last week: During Deliberations

Meanwhile…

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Mannix Flynn addressed Bishop of Derry Dónal McKeown and called on the guards to ring Pope Francis, during his visit to Ireland, and ask him to call into a Garda station and answer some “very, very serious” questions.

Watch back in full here

Yesterday: Temporary Cover-Up

 A woman tells how she was raped by former Irish swimming coach George Gibney during a swimming trip to Florida in 1991 (top) in a video by US journalist Irvin Muchnick which contains footage from a Prime Time episode on Gibney in 2006 (above)

Last night.

At 8pm Irish time.

US journalist Irvin Muchnick posted a video containing footage from an RTE Prime Time episode – originally broadcast on January 12, 2006 – in which then reporter Clare Murphy tracked down former Irish Olympic swim coach George Gibney in Calistoga, California and confronted him.

It also includes testimonies of some of Gibney’s victims.

Readers will recall Mr Muchnick’s ongoing efforts to secure Gibney’s immigration file from the Department of Homeland Security, under the Freedom of Information Act, in the US.

Gibney was charged with 27 counts of indecency against young swimmers and of carnal knowledge of girls under the age of 15 in April, 1993.

But he sought and won a High Court judicial review in 1994 which quashed all the charges against him.

The review was made possible after a Supreme Court decision that initiating the prosecution against Gibney infringed his right to a fair trial.

After this, Gibney left Ireland for Edinburgh, Scotland and then the US.

The swimming coach was granted a visa during a visit to the United States in 1992 – seemingly aided by a Garda character reference – a year after people who had been abused by him started to speak up and organise themselves.

In addition, a 2010 application by Gibney to obtain US citizenship – some months after Evin Daly, of the Florida-based advocacy group One Child International alerted the US government of Gibney’s past in Ireland – was rejected.

But he remains in the States.

The revelations about his 1992 visa and 2010 citizenship bid have previously been revealed by Mr Irvin.

In the Prime Time footage above, Ms Murphy stated:

“While George Gibney may be notorious at home, his US record is squeaky clean, however local police take his presence so seriously that the area’s FBI field office has been informed.”

Further to this…

Mr Irvin reports:

“Prime Time’s throwaway line that Gibney had a “squeaky clean” record in America is debatable.

In 2015 Commander Dave Pickett of the investigations bureau of the police department in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, gave us the following statement:

‘On September 20th, 2000, the Wheat Ridge Police Department was notified that an alleged sex offender named George Gibney was living within our jurisdiction.  Detective Lila Cohen investigated the situation.  Detective Cohen contacted the reporting party (RP) who was the president of an accounting company that employed Gibney.  Detective Cohen was told that:

* The RP had fired Gibney the day prior

* The RP had discovered concerning information regarding Gibney on the Internet

* Gibney had gone to Peru on behalf of a children’s eye clinic

* Gibney was on an advisory board for the Department of Youth Corrections

* Gibney may be a coach for the North Jeffco Swim Club

Detective Cohen notified the Arvada Police Department where the North Jeffco Swim Club is located.  Sergeant Rzappa advised Detective Cohen that she had already received information concerning Gibney.  Detective Cohen found that Gibney was on the advisory board of the Metropolitan State College Lab School at Lookout Mountain.  Detective Cohen advised the person in charge of the Lab School regarding the allegations that Gibney was a sex offender.  

She also advised that the Wheat Ridge Police Department had no indications of specific allegations in Colorado.

Because there were no allegations regarding any crime in this jurisdiction, no investigation outside of notification was done.’

“Jill McGranahan of the Arvada police then told us of an incident from five years before Gibney’s employer reported him to the Wheat Ridge police:

‘In late October, 1995, the APD was notified by a citizen that Mr. Gibney was employed by the North Jeffco Parks and Recreation District, and that he had previously been accused of child abuse in Ireland. The APD confirmed that Mr. Gibney had been charged with child sexual abuse in Ireland, but that he was not convicted on any of the charges.  During its investigation, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was suspected of possibly pinching (or snapping the swimsuit of) a North Jeffco swimmer.  

‘The APD investigated this allegation, but was unable to establish that a crime had occurred.  Shortly thereafter, the APD learned that Mr. Gibney was no longer employed by North Jeffco.  The APD had no other involvement in this matter.’

Mr Muchnick concludes:

“Many people, in and out of law enforcement, in Ireland and the U.S. alike, have had Gibney on watch lists, formal or otherwise, for a long time. The missing piece remains the revival of the 1990s prosecution of him in Ireland.

“The original prosecution collapsed thanks to a Supreme Court statute-of-limitations ruling that is not, to put it mildly, destined to go down in the annals of thoughtful jurisprudence: one of the sitting justices, Susan Denham (later the chief justice), did not recuse herself even though she was the sister of Gibney’s lawyer, Patrick Gageby.

“Nearly a quarter of a century later, it is time to bring the Gibney nightmare to a close. It is time for the Irish Garda’s Director of Public Prosecutions to move purposefully on the call of Maureen O’Sullivan, a Teachta Dála (member of Parliament), to reconsider both the old criminal charges against Gibney and the many new ones on which information has emerged since he first got off the hook.

“It is time for the American legislators most closely associated with awareness of sexual assault in general, and statutory solutions for the widespread problem of amateur sports coach sex abuse in particular, to step up to the plate and assist TD O’Sullivan in these efforts.

“The legislators I have in mind include Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

“Finally, it is time to hold accountable whoever in the American swimming establishment might have been responsible for enabling Gibney’s long safe harbor here.

“The ugly truth is that George Gibney is no longer just another name in the half-buried history of the dark side of youth sports. He is, officially, a two-nation affair of state.”

In 2006 Investigation on Ireland’s RTÉ TV, See George Gibney, Man Without a Country — Watched by Many But Prosecuted by None. Can That End Now? (Irvin Muchnick, Concussion Inc)

Previously:  The Chief Justice, Her Brother And How George Gibney Got Away

Tonight.

On RTE One, at 9.30pm.

Following a six-month undercover investigation, RTE Investigates: Nightmare will expose dangerously overcrowded accommodation in the private rental sector.

The programme makers found one building contained more than 60 tenants, while another had more than 40 tenants.

Three buildings, in Crumlin, Kilmainham and Rathmines, have since been closed.

Further to this…

RTE reports:

A company providing services to foreign students has withdrawn High Court proceedings aimed at stopping portions of an RTÉ programme to be aired tonight.

The programme, which investigates standards in the private rental sector, is to be shown on Prime Time.

Lawyers for Green Effect Technology, trading as Global Academics, told the court this morning that they were not proceeding with their application.

The matter was struck out by Mr Justice Paul Gilligan.

Attempt to stop RTÉ broadcast on accommodation withdrawn (RTE)

Pic: RTE

From top: David McCullagh, of RTE; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Tonight.

RTÉ’s Prime Time broadcast a pre-recorded interview with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

They discussed the Jobstown trial, Regina Doherty, abortion, women in politics and that Love Actually quote.

From the interview…

David McCullagh: “The reality of it was that Paul Murphy was actually helping the situation by getting her out of there?”

Leo Varadkar: “I don’t think, I think that’s one interpretation, you cause a protest, you harass someone, treat them badly shout at them, then after that help them get out. So that’s one perhaps interpretation of what happened.”

“But there is one thing that I would say and I have no difficulty saying it, people need to trust what the Gardai say on the stand, and I can understand that perhaps in a scenario whereby lots of things are happening quickly and people are caught up in the heat of the moment they may have a recollection that isn’t exactly as things happened but I would be very concerned if it’s the case that we would ever have Gardai on a stand in the court giving evidence that is not in line with the facts, that is not in line with the video evidence and I think that there is something there that needs to be looked at both by the Garda Commissioner and senior Garda management. We need to be able to trust that when the Gardai stand up in court and they say something happened that it did happen and it shouldn’t conflict with video evidence and if it does then that is a problem.

McCullagh: “Well should there be an inquiry into it?”

Varadkar: “I don’t think a public inquiry would actually serve any purpose, you know we’ve had a trial. There’s been a trial, went on for nine weeks, the jury heard the evidence from both sides, and they decided to acquit and nobody is disputing that. As has been the case with other things, you know for example the trial of Sean Fitzpatrick, I do think we need to consider why the prosecutions weren’t successful. I don’t think this necessarily requires a public inquiry but we do need to obviously examine these things.”

McCullagh: “I don’t know whether you’ve seen claims by a blogger that she was approached by Gardai and warned against posting criticisms of Regina Doherty on social media but if that turns out to have been true would you be concerned about that?

Varadkar: “I actually don’t know the facts of that case and I saw something in the paper but I haven’t had a chance to talk to Minister Doherty about it. I would imagine that if anyone was cautioned by the Gardai it would be done for legitimate reason. You know, Gardai don’t caution people because of interpersonal disputes or a civil offence. If somebody is cautioned my understanding is that it has to be related to some sort of criminal offence but I actually don’t know the details of that.”

David McCullagh: “Taoiseach, one area where hard choices will have to be made is in relation to abortion. The Citizens’ Convention by a two-thirds majority recommended unlimited access to abortion. Were you surprised by that?”

Varadkar: “I was a little bit surprised. I wasn’t surprised at all that they proposed that we should repeal and replace the eighth amendment and liberalise our abortion laws. I think that’s very much in line with what we’ve seen in public opinion polls. But the recommendation that they made to allow abortion by choice up to 12 or 22 weeks, that wouldn’t be in line with public opinion polls, that did surprise me a little bit. On the other hand I appreciate that they did a lot of work and they heard a lot of evidence, a lot of personal stories, and they came to that conclusion as a considered conclusion. and it is of course possible that the Oireachtas Committee and subsequently the Irish people may yet come to the same conclusion once we have a debate about it.”

McCullagh: “What’s your view?”

Varadkar: “What I don’t want to do at this stage is to be seen in anyway to be preempting or directing the Oireachtas committee to come out with any particular wording or legislation, but it is my view that our abortion laws are too restrictive. I have said that in the past and that is my view. What we will have now next year is a referendum which will give people the option if they wish to liberalise them, and there will be a free vote on them in parliament.”

McCullagh: “You donated €200 to Women for Election at the weekend, they might have been happier if you had kept the cash and appointed more women to cabinet?”

Varadkar: “They may have been, I think it’s important though to look at the facts, we have a parliamentary system and you elect and select the ministers from members of parliament. There are 12 female TDs who support the government, seven of those 12 are ministers, including the Tanaiste and five at the Cabinet table, and three chair Oireachtas Commitees, so 10 out of the 12 women who support the government are in paid promotional positions.”

“So I don’t think anyone can argue we don’t promote women… we’ve, 10 out of the 12 are in paid promotional positions. The difficulty is we don’t have enough women members of parliament, TDs in the Dail. My party has more than any other party, we have 11, and we are the party that brought in the quotas that made that possible. But we have a long way to go. I am determined that we should do that, that we should ensure that we increase representation in the next Dail and therefore many more women to select from and make a more diverse cabinet. I am a real believer in diversity, I think diversity is good in its own right and you get better decisions if you have a diverse parliament and a diverse government.”

McCullagh: “The Love Actually reference in Downing Street, the socks for Justin Trudeau, why do you do that sort of thing – does it distract from policy?”

Varadkar: “No that’s just me, that’s just my personality. And you know every politician is different, every Taoiseach is different, we all have our own personalities and our ways of doing thing, our own style and own little quirks. I don’t think any of that distracts from policy at all. You know, of the other meetings I’ve had, needless to say, with prime ministers of other countries, presidents, have been very serious meetings, but I don’t think that means that you can’t be a human being as well.”

Watch back in full here

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 11.03.08

Barry Cummins, of RTÉ

Last night.

Barry Cummins, of RTÉ, presented a Prime Time programme about the disappearance of six-year-old twin Mary Boyle near Ballyshannon, Co Donegal in March, 1977.

You may also recall how, last July, Gemma O’Doherty posted her documentary on Mary’s disappearance, called Mary Boyle: The Untold Story, on YouTube.

Watchers of both Ms O’Doherty’s documentary and Mr Cummins’ Prime Time show will note that there were a few similarities between the shows, not least the drone footage.

But there were also some glaring differences – most notably in the quotes of retired detective inspector Aidan Murray.

During the Prime Time programme, Mr Murray told Mr Cummins that he believes he knows the identity of the person behind Mary’s disappearance.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 11.13.19

Barry Cummins (voiceover): “So, who abducted Mary Boyle? One of the original investigators tells me that, for the last 40 years, he has suspected a local man to be responsible for Mary’s disappearance.”

Aidan Murray: “A person came in voluntarily into the station to have a chat with us about the child, you know. So, I interviewed that person, in the company of Inspector [PJ] Daly, now deceased. And, in the course of that interview, I took him as a witness first. He began to panic a wee bit and started kind of, would say roaring at me, more or less to say ‘I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it’. I had interviewed a lot of people and have done courses in that, in interviewing serious crime suspects and I know myself in my own heart that by looking at him and the way he looked at me, that he is the person. I’m convinced that he’s the person, even though he didn’t admit it. And I feel that if I had had another hour or so with him, he may have broken.”

Cummins: “I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in that room when you were with this man you believe had the answers.”

Murray: “Yeah.”

Cummins: “But we’re all human, we’re all open to mistakes. In your mind at all, is it possible that that individual is not the man, is not the person who harmed Mary?

Murray:No, he is the person. I am convinced of that myself.”

Further to this…

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 11.34.32Screen-Shot-2016-04-24-at-11.09.48

Retired Sgt Martin Collins; retired Det Ins Aidan Murray on Ms O’Doherty’s documentary

In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, Mr Murray also recalled interviewing a man – in the presence of the late Inspector Daly.

Before Mr Murray’s account of this interview was shown in Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, retired Sgt Martin Collins explained the following:

A person, who would have been known to Mary,  made it his business to contact me at Ballyshannon Garda Station. This would be, some, maybe a week after Mary going missing. And he requested to meet me. But at the particular time, I was engaged in meeting my colleagues from Bundoran. From Ballyshannon to Bundoran, it’s only four miles so I told this person that I was meeting my colleagues, from Bundoran, I’d be only a few minutes and to remain at the station until I came back.”

“In the meantime, I went to Bundoran and, halfway to Bundoran, which only took about three minutes, this person drove his own car behind our patrol car and pulled in behind us at Fener, halfway between  Ballyshannon and Bundoran. I got out of, when I finished with the Bundoran lads, I got out of the patrol car, and sat in to his motor car and when I did, he began to cry, sobbing, and told me what a terrible thing what happened – that he knew those little girls, the twins and that he was very fond of them, loved them and that he had children of the same age, and how he felt about Mary’s disappearance.”

“So, in the course of the conversation, I put three scenarios to him:  one, that she’s still missing out there; second, that she was kidnapped; and the third one, bluntly, murder. And I said which of those three scenarios would you think is responsible for Mary’s disappearance and he said, the last one. So I said, ‘you mean murder?’. And he said, ‘yes’.”

In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, she explained that the person who made these allegations to Mr Collins was a relation of the suspect.

And in the days after Mary’s disappearance, Aidan Murray spoke to this suspect.

Mr Murray told Ms O’Doherty:

“Inspector [PJ] Daly, who’s recently deceased, and myself interviewed that man. We interviewed him, at one stage I was interviewing him, I told him, ‘just tell us where the child is’. At that stage then he started crying and roaring and accusing me that I was accusing him of the murder of the child.” 

I got a little nudge from the inspector at the time, under the table, to ease off a wee bit. So I was reluctant a wee bit but I did ease off because it was more or less an instruction. And I went out and got him a glass of water, under the instructions of the inspector. 

When I came back then, that particular man had gone back to himself again. I felt that it, that in my own heart, that he had a guilty look. I could see it in his eyes and it was just that, a wee push, that he would have admitted.” 

“When you do interview a person that, especially a very strong suspect, after a number of years, you can see things in their eyes if they’re really telling you the truth, or if they look away from you. And I knew from, from previous experience that if you have a man at a certain level, you don’t pull back. You just push that wee bit extra and I felt that I had him.  A defence, that he was defending himself, that what he’d done was wrong but I thought that if I’d had has someone else with me, that maybe that extra wee bit of pressure, we would have, we wouldn’t be here today now talking.”

Readers should note that retired Sgt Collins did not feature in last night’s Prime Time show.

However, Mr Cummins did refer to retired Sgt Collins when Mr Cummins highlighted the allegation that there was political interference in the case.

This is an allegation that was raised in the Dáil in October 2015, and featured in Ms O’Doherty documentary last July with quotes from Sgt Collins making the same claim.

However, after Ms O’Doherty’s documentary, the Donegal Post ran a story reporting:

There was and there remains a cover up into the disappearance of young Mary Boyle in 1977, but there was neither political nor state interference, a lead investigator at the time has clarified this week.

He believed that the ‘cover up’ relates to an individual or individual, who may have vital information in helping resolve the near 40-year-old mystery

It follows on from a YouTube documentary which was released on social media about the case and featured an interview with the retired Sergeant.

The documentary alleged that political interference may have resulted in which way the initial investigation was carried out.

In an exclusive interview with the Donegal Post, retired Sergeant Martin Collins said that any suggestion that senior members of the force that he worked with in Ballyshannon, had influenced the direction of the original missing persons investigation were totally erroneous.

He was equally 100% adamant that NO political interference came about, despite an alleged call by a politician to Ballyshannon garda station.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 11.44.12

In last night’s Prime Time show, Mr Cummins said:

“The allegation is that a phone call was made by a politician to Ballyshannon Garda Station in 1977, asking that Gardai back off investigating a local man. Last summer, former Sgt Martin Collins gave this interview to the Donegal Post [above] dismissing the suggestion he or his colleagues were influenced by any outside interference and Aidan Murray signed an affidavit to the same effect.”

Following from this, Mr Murray told Mr Cummins:

There was no political interference whatsoever. I did what I had to do. I was never stopped from doing it through any political interference. No. There was no interference with me. Never was there.”

And yet.

In Ms O’Doherty’s documentary.

She explained that some officers allege that, in the days after Mary’s disappearance, a politician contacted Ballyshannon Garda Station and ordered that the chief suspect not be arrested.

Ms O’Doherty also explained that this politician knew the suspect and that he, the politician, also had a close relationship with the late Superintendent Dom Murray who was in charge of the case.

Mr Collins told Ms O’Doherty:

A phone call was made to Ballyshannon station, it was a politician. The gist of the conversation was that none of a particular family should be made a suspect for Mary’s disappearance.”

In relation to the same phone call, Mr Murray told Ms O’Doherty:

“Well I know that, as a result of that phonecall, that certain people weren’t allowed to be interviewed and that it was all hands-off them, and it was ‘look somewhere else’, as the man says. As it was said, the sting of the whole investigation went out of that whole investigation, you know?”

Watch Gemma O’Doherty’s documentary here

Watch last night’s Prime Time here

mauriceScreen Shot 2017-03-01 at 12.01.13

From top: Maurice McCabe; Katie Hannon and David McCullagh on Prime Time last night

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon gave a further update on the allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe which are now being investigated by the Disclosures Tribunal, headed by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, of the Supreme Court.

Readers will recall how, in her original Prime Time report on the matter, on February 9, 2017, Ms Hannon explained the sequence of events that led to Sgt McCabe becoming the subject of a false allegation of child abuse in a Tusla file, due to a “clerical error”.

In her February 9 report, Ms Hannon reported that an email from May 2014 indicated the counsellor – after realising she made the serious error in a referral letter about Sgt McCabe to Tusla –

believed that the local superintendent, the superintendent in the relevant district, had been asked to meet the Garda Commissioner in relation to this case. And there was some anxiety that this superintendent hadn’t been brought up to date about the error in the file and it had to be sent to him immediately”

The Garda press office told Prime Time that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan had no meeting with the superintendent in question in May, 2014 and did not request such a meeting.

Further to this, and having seen this email, Francesca Comyn, of The Sunday Business Post reported, on February 12, that the email from the counsellor to Tusla stated:

I had another call in relation to the retrospective report which as you are aware contains a clerical error. I was informed that the superintendent in the jurisdiction referred to in the report was not yet aware of the clerical error and has been asked to meet with the Garda Commissioner in relation to the case.”

Further to this…

From last night’s (2 mins and 25 second) report from Katie Hannon on Prime Time

David McCullagh: “The Disclosures Tribunal into allegations there was a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe is under way but it will be some time before public hearings commence. Before that, our political correspondent Katie Hannon joins us to clear up one key issue in relation to the revelation of a Tusla file containing false allegations of a serious sexual assault. Katie, what’s tonight’s story all about?”

Katie Hannon: “There’s two terms of reference, within the 16 terms of reference that Peter Charleton is going to be looking at, at this tribunal. One is to inquire whether this Tusla file was  knowingly used by senior members of An Garda Siochana to  discredit Sgt McCabe and another of the terms asks what the former and current Garda Commissioners [Martin Callinan and Noirin O’Sullivan] knew about these matters.”

“So, go back to that Tusla file. Questions have already been raised. I discussed it in this studio about an email that was in that file released to the McCabes which seemed to indicate that the Garda Commissioner had asked for a meeting way back in May 2014 – in relation to what was in that file. Now, we put this to the Garda Commissioner at the time and  she told us she had not requested that meeting, that meeting did not happen.”

McCullagh: “So, do we know what that email actually referred to?”

Hannon: “So, we now can say what that meeting, what that email referred to. I’ve now learned that the “commissioner” referred to in that email was actually the assistant commissioner for the northern region at the time, the former commissioner Kieran Kenny. According to an informed source, assistant commissioner Kenny met with the superintendent, the relevant superintendent that month, in May 2014 and, crucially, he sent a full report of this meeting to Garda Headquarters.

So, basically, the upshot of this is that we now know that, two and a half years ago, Garda Headquarters were made aware that there was this allegation of child rape recorded by Tusla against Sgt Maurice McCabe and also that it had been subsequently withdrawn and described as a clerical error.”

And the questions that will be raised, presumably at the tribunal will be: what did they do on foot of that? We know, for a fact, that they did not contact Maurice McCabe. In fact, I understand that Sgt McCabe has yet to have any contact from Garda Headquarters even since this whole story broke a short time ago. We asked the Garda Press Office about this, they said they were precluded from commenting because the tribunal is now up and running. We asked the Justice Minister [Frances Fitzgerald] if she’d been briefed about it and, again, she declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate because the tribunal has now commenced.”

Meanwhile…

In addition to reports of contact being made between the gardai and the counsellor after the discovery of the error, in May 2014, it has also been reported that there was at least an attempt by a Tusla social worker to contact a garda just after the false allegation/error was initially communicated by the counsellor to Tusla in August 2013.

Following an allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006, a file was sent to  the DPP – with the recommendation that there was no grounds for a prosecution – and that the DPP directed that no prosecution should be taken, with the observation that it was doubtful the allegations should constitute a crime at all.

In her original report on the matter, on February 9, Ms Hannon reported that, within days of the counsellor notifying Tusla of the false allegation – presumably without realising her referral contained a mistake/false allegation – a Tusla social worker contacted the garda who investigated the original 2006 complaint made against Sgt McCabe, to request a meeting.

However, it’s not known if that meeting took place.

Watch back in full here

Previously: Pasted In Error

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 14.25.52 Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 14.26.33

Katie Hannon and David McCullough on last night’s RTE Prime Time

Further to last week’s Prime Time in which Prime Time‘s political correspondent Katie Hannon outlined the sequence of events concerning how a false allegation against Sgt Maurice McCabe ended up being circulated by Tusla.

Last night.

Ms Hannon had further information, after speaking with the solicitor of the woman at the centre of the original allegation made in 2006; and after speaking with someone who has seen the Tusla referral document which contained the false abuse allegation.

The new information, as presented by Ms Hannon, means there are now conflicting accounts of how events unfolded – as put forward by the HSE, and subsequently the Minister for Health Simon Harris in the Dáil, Tusla, the Gardaí, and the solicitor for the woman at the centre of the original 2006 allegation.

The interview…

David McCullough: “Now, lest we forget all this political turmoil is the treatment of Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and the revelation last week by our political correspondent Katie Hannon of the false sex abuse allegations made against him. As Katie told us, last week, those allegations in 2013 arose after a counsellor said she pasted the allegation from another file in error. Katie joins me now. There is a tribunal of inquiry to look into this and related matters. But, in advance of that, the department of justice has written to the Garda Commissioner posing six questions that the McCabes want answered, relating to: when the Gardai first learned about the allegations, about contacts between gardai and the supposed victim and contacts between gardai and the counsellor. And Katie, you have some new information about this?”

Katie Hannon: “Yes. Of course, a huge amount of focus has focussed on this referral from this counsellor that had this, what was described as this clerical error, this cut and paste error. Now, I’ve spoken with somebody who’s actually seen this document. We haven’t seen this document because it wasn’t released to the McCabes in the Tusla file because it had been retrieved because of data protection by the counselling service.”

“But, according to my source, what the counsellor is now telling the management there is that: what actually happened there was not a cut and paste error. She was actually using the template of a previous referral and typing over it, with this new McCabe referral and failed to delete some information referring to the previous referral. So it wasn’t a ‘pasting in’ error, it was a ‘failure to delete’ error. And she says that she just simply did not notice that before she sent on the referral [to Tusla].”

“Now, according to the person that I was talking to, who has seen it, it should have been obvious to anyone looking at it that there was a mistake in it because, I’m told, there actually was the names of two alleged abusers on the file that went over. Like the phrase that was used to me was: it would have jumped off the page. So, why that happened in Tusla when were then using this document to create the other files, the referrals, the files on the [McCabe] children, that’s the question that remains now.”

McCullough: “There’s been a lot of focus on how this error was ultimately discovered.”

Hannon: “Yes, and I’ve confirmed today that the girl at the centre of this, who made the original allegation back in 2006, she has given an account of how this happened that does not tally with the account that the Health Minister Simon Harris put on the Dáil record this week.”

McCullough: “And in what way is it different?”

Hannon: “Well, first of all, Minister Harris told the Dail that, and he was using information that he got from the HSE, he said that the girl had contacted the counsellor to say that the allegation of digital rape was incorrect, that she had never made it and that’s how the mistake came to light. That’s what the Dáil was told.”

“But I spoke to the girl’s solicitor today and he tells me that that is not the case. He says that, this is the sequence of events: the girl’s mother made the initial appointment, for her, with this counsellor. She attended just once. She had no idea that a referral had gone to Tusla as a result of this one counselling session, until many months later, her family were contacted by the guards and they were asked to attend to the Garda station about this allegation. Her parents went to the Garda station, looked at this, were presented with the allegation and said immediately: this is not our daughter’s allegation, this was never made.”

“And according to the girl’s solicitor, this was the last that she had to do with it, that she, whoever contacted the counsellor, it wasn’t her.”

“And also, what this does is it raises questions about when the gardai first were aware of this mistake. We know that Tusla sent them the file in early May. According to this account, from this girl’s solicitor, the guards were informed that it was incorrect, there was a mistake in it, by the 4th or 5th of May and that’s not what the rest of the files show…”

McCullough: “What does the Tusla file say?”

Hannon: “Yeah, the Tusla file says that the first contact with the garda was the original investigating guard that investigated the 2006 complaint – that was done back in August 2013. We don’t know what came of that, if the meeting took place. We know that Tusla contacted the guards with the referral in early May. We know that they were told about the referral, from the counsellor, on the 14th of May [2014] and then they say, the file says they contacted the guards one or two days after that.”

McCullough: “Ok, so very, very briefly, we already have conflicting accounts here?”

Hannon: “We do, we’ve two serious conflicts. We’ve a conflict between the account that the minister [for health] gave the Dail this week to what the client says as regards when we found out about the error and there are other conflicts about when the guards knew about it in the first place and when the guards knew this second allegation was a mistake. So, you know, the attempt or demand for the answers to these six questions might be trickier I think than we think.”

McCullough: “Hence, the tribunal, ok, Katie, thank you very much.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: Pasted In Error