Tag Archives: witness

From top: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Sgt Maurice McCabe

On January 8, 2018, the Disclosures Tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, will resume.

The tribunal is mainly investigating allegations of a smear campaign against Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe.

It had been expected to hear allegations of former head of the Garda Press Office Dave Taylor – who has claimed that he was instructed to negatively brief journalists about Sgt McCabe.

But Justice Charleton released a statement last Friday to say the tribunal’s next module will focus on the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s legal strategy at the O’Higgins Commission.

Broadsheet has learned Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will appear as a witness and give evidence.

As Minister for Transport, Mr Varadkar defended Sgt McCabe’s actions as ‘distinguished’.

He told a road safety conference in March, 2014:

“I think it is very important to bear in mind that the Garda whistleblowers only released information about people after they tried to use the correct procedures and those procedures failed them and when they did release the information, they did it through Oireachtas members which is provided for under the Garda Act of 2005.”

Mr Vardkar thanked Sgt McCabe and fellow Garda whistleblower, John Wilson:

“…on my own behalf and on behalf of the thousands of families who have had to endure the pain and loss that flows from the death of a loved one on the road.”

A Government press officer said he could not confirm if Mr Varadkar would appear as a witness. He said: “This is a matter for the tribunal.”

A spokesman for the Disclosures Tribunal said:

“I can’t confirm one way or the other whether Mr Varadkar or anybody else is going to be a witness at the tribunal in the next module. So you will have to wait for a witness list to go up [on the tribunal’s website].

“The work, as such, of the tribunal would be confidential. So until the witness list goes up, you wouldn’t be able to say whether anybody is going to be a witness at the next module or who would be a witness at the next module.”

Readers may recall how in May 2016, it emerged that, at the privately held O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, held during 2015, the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan employed a legal strategy which attacked the credibility and motivation of Sgt McCabe.

In February 2017, just prior to the establishment of the Disclosures Tribunal and when there was talk of setting up a second commission of inquiry involving Sgt McCabe, he and his wife Lorraine McCabe made a statement.

They said:

“Today, we have heard one Minister, Simon Harris, state that we are entitled to “truth and justice”.

We wish to make it clear that we are definitely not agreeable to that entitlement being wholly postponed so that another Commission of Inquiry can conduct a secret investigation behind closed doors and make a report, into which we have no input as of right, in nine or eighteen months’ time.

“We are entitled to the truth today – justice can follow in its wake.

“… the public has little or no appreciation of what was done, and attempted to be done, to Maurice in the course of its hearings.”

Last week it emerged that an email of May 15, 2015 circulated to the former Minister for Justice and other justice officials which should have been sent to the Disclosures Tribunal wasn’t sent.

Sgt McCabe told Mr Varadkar in a phonecall that evening that the sequence of events alleged in the email did not happen and that the transcripts of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation will prove this.

Following a call by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, for the Department of Justice to do another search for documents relevant to the tribunal, further emails were found and subsequently sent to the Disclosures Tribunal.

The email thread showed, among other things, how, on Saturday, July 4, 2015, the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan phoned the Department of Justice Secretary General Office Assistant Secretary Ken O’Leary to tell him a press query about the stance taken by An Garda Siochana against Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation had been sent to the Garda Press Office.

The garda weren’t commenting on the matter.

Mr O’Leary subsequently advised the then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on what to say, if she was asked about the matter during a scheduled interview on RTE’s This Week on Sunday, July 5.

In the end, Ms Fitzgerald wasn’t asked about it.

Amid these revelations, the Tanaiste and former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has resigned.

Of her resignation, Mr Varadkar told the Dail he accepted her resignation with regret and that “It is my strong view that a good woman is leaving office without getting a full and fair hearing”.

The Secretary General of the Department of Justice Noel Waters yesterday announced that he’s resigning with immediate effect as opposed to next February – which he announced last week on the same day the May 15, 2015 email surfaced.

Meanwhile, questions remain over the current Minster for Justice Charlie Flanagan’s handling of related matters.

Readers will also recall how, on March 20, 2014, when Mr Varadkar called Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson “distinguished”, he also called on the then Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his “disgusting” remark in relation to the two men.

Mr Callinan made that remark at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee in January 2014.

Previously: Disclosures, Discrepancies And Paul Williams

Graphic Disclosures


Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 13.48.11


From top: Regency Hotel in Drumcondra, Dublin, after last Friday’s shooting; Manager John Glynn

In a statement to the BBC this morning, a man alleging to speak on behalf of Continuity IRA said its members were responsible for the shooting in The Regency Hotel last Friday which left David Byrne dead and two men seriously injured.

The statement claimed Mr Byrne was shot because he had been involved in the killing of Alan Ryan in Dublin four years ago.

Further to this…

In a pre-recorded interview for RTÉ’s News At One, Áine Lawlor spoke with the managing director of The Regency Hotel, James McGettigan, who witnessed the shooting.

James McGettigan: “I was in the hotel bar with the general manager of the hotel, running through the business of the weekend. We had a very busy weekend, the hotel was full. We had a lot of Welsh rugby supporters over and we had Brendan Grace, who was playing for two nights so that was all booked out and the next thing is, there was commotion out in the reception area. There was sort of a panic. And within then maybe 15 seconds, three uniformed gardaí came in to the bar area and told everyone that this was the gardaí, to lie down on the floor and put your hands behind your heads.”

Áine Lawlor: “And you’d no reason to believe they weren’t gardaí at that stage?”

McGettigan: “Absolutely no. I mean these, they had the full Garda uniform. I mean they were very calm, very collected. I thought there was either an imminent robbery about to take place and the gardaí were about to thwart it or there was somebody in the bar that had done something somewhere else and the gardaí were about to, you know, arrest the person or something like that.”

Lawlor: “So they told people to lie down, they seemed very calm and collected. What happened then?”

McGettigan: “What happened then was there was a couple of shots fired. And then I saw a man just through a window in the bar basically getting assassinated. And that was just very, very shocking to watch. Because it happened so quickly and at this point, I really didn’t believe these guys were guards because the man beside me, who had a massive rifle – I don’t know what type it was – he basically, you know, he was basically looking at me and I was looking at him a little bit and, you know, I didn’t know if this was the real guards or not. But I started to believe that they weren’t and I started to panic. So then he disappeared and I went to the front door of the hotel to see if there was squad cars out there because I didn’t believe they were guards and this man is lying on the ground with blood pouring out of his head and I wanted to try and help him or save him or something. And when I went to the front door and opened it, I got a bit of a sinking feeling when I saw there was no cars out there at all, there was nothing.”

Lawlor: “So at this stage you know the real guards aren’t on your premises. You have these gunmen on your premises, presumably you want to contact the Garda Síochána?”

McGettigan: “Yes, that’s correct, yeah. And I ran down then, well ran, I walked down to the residents’ lounge of the hotel, I closed the door, I told this girl I met on the way who was an employee, I told her to immediately ring the guards and she said, the guards were already here. And I said, they’re not the guards. Went into the room and I slammed, closed the door and I locked it. There was a banging on the door afterwards, I don’t know who it was but I wasn’t going to open it to find out who it was and then I did try and contact the guards. Well when I rang 999, it was just a busy tone or it was a voice saying it was busy or something like that, I can’t remember exactly but I couldn’t get through. Now there may have been other people trying to ring at that point, I don’t know. But, look, you know, it was just very worrying not to get through you know? And, you know, I wanted to try and get these guys apprehended immediately. But I did eventually get through and…”

Lawlor: “How long did it take?”

McGettigan: “It took the third phone call so maybe, I don’t know, maybe 30/40 seconds?”

Lawlor: “So you got through and that stage. And what was the response from the garda when you finally got through?”

McGettigan: “Well the person I spoke to on the phone, I explained what happened, and he then said, ‘I’ll put you through to the Dublin division’. Then I could just hear the phone ringing and ringing and ringing out for, I don’t know, maybe 20/25 seconds. And twice he came on and said, ‘look they’ll answer, they will answer eventually,’ or ‘they’re about to answer’ or something like that. So, like 25 seconds seemed like an eternity for me now. I don’t know why that was.”

Lawlor: “Was all of this, I mean, you know, these aren’t huge delays but equally there’s a you know, there’s murder on your premises, there’s gunmen roaming around the place dressed as gardaí, did you have any sense in that time that you were able to get the help you needed from the security forces as quickly as you needed?”

McGettigan: “I don’t know what was happening. I just, there was a man outside, in the lobby, on the ground, with blood coming out of his head and all I wanted to do was try to help that person, that was all I was trying to do and I thought that we could probably try and maybe get these guys arrested. But I did then ring a detective I know on his mobile and he, he answered straight away and said he would get somebody out and I think, within, I stayed in that room then, I don’t know, within about two, two and a half minutes, the police had arrived.”

Lawlor: “And as you say, it’s a couple of days later and it was an horrific experience for everyone who was there and so many people in the country, even if they’re not Dubliners, they all know the Regency Hotel, it’s such a landmark, it’s so ordinary and what happened was so extraordinary.”

McGettigan: “Absolutely yes, you know, and the real worry was, I mean I didn’t know, I mean, how many people could have been, you know, certainly shot at – least of all myself for being pretty stupid. But, you know, I thought the person who was shot, I didn’t know who he was but he was just a guest in our premises so we were trying to just, you know, take care of him.”

Lawlor: “As one human being to another.”

McGettigan: “Correct.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Getting The Shot

Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews