Maurice McCabe tribunal to also include other gardaí’s claims

The tribunal of inquiry into the alleged smear campaign against Maurice McCabe will also include the treatment of other whistleblowers.

The Dáil and Seanad yesterday approved the terms of reference for the tribunal, under the chairmanship of Judge Peter Charleton, and will operate a number of modules.

The first module will cover the McCabe scandal and it is hoped the tribunal will complete its work within nine months.

The terms of reference specifically include the case of whistleblower Keith Harrison who has been off duty without pay since 2014.

Under the terms of reference, the tribunal will be asked to inquire into the allegation made by Superintendent David Taylor, that he was instructed or directed by former Commissioner Martin Callinan and/or Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, to contact the media to brief them negatively against Sergeant Maurice McCabe and in particular to brief the media that he was motivated by malice and revenge.

The tribunal will investigate the allegation of Superintendent Taylor that he was directed to draw journalists’ attention to an allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sgt McCabe and that this was the root cause of his agenda, namely revenge against the gardaí.

It will investigate what knowledge former Commissioner Callinan and/or Commissioner O’Sullivan and/or other senior members of the Garda Síochána had concerning this allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sgt McCabe and whether they acted upon same in a manner intended to discredit him.

The tribunal will investigate the creation, distribution and use by Tusla of a file containing false allegations of sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe that was allegedly sent to gardaí in 2013, and whether these false allegations and/or the file were knowingly used by senior members of An Garda Síochána to discredit Sgt McCabe.

The tribunal will also investigate whether the false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Commissioner O’Sullivan to discredit Sgt McCabe at the Commission of Investigation into Certain Matters in the Cavan/Monaghan district under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins.

The tribunal will also investigate whether senior members of An Garda Síochána attempted to entrap or falsely accuse Sgt McCabe of criminal misconduct.

The tribunal will investigate such knowledge which former Commissioner Callinan and Commissioner O’Sullivan had about the various matters set out above.

Under Judge Charleton, the tribunal will also investigate contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and print media and broadcasting personnel; members of the Government, Tusla, and the Health Service Executive among others.

Speaking as she moved the motion in the Dáil, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said it will not be the function of the tribunal to apportion criminal liability.

Ms Fitzgerald said: “If people think that there is going to be a finding of criminal wrongdoing or an imposition of a sanction against an individual as a result of the inquiry at the end of this process, that is not going to happen.

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