Former Justice Department Secretary General called to Disclosures Tribunal

Former Justice Department Secretary General called to Disclosures Tribunal
Noel Waters

Update 11.15am: The former head of the Department of Justice has said he has no recollection of receiving an email also sent to the former Justice Minister regarding the then Garda Commissioner’s legal strategy to discredit Maurice McCabe.

Noel Waters is the first witness to be called at this module of the Tribunal, which is investigating whether Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan relied on a false allegation to smear the Garda Whistleblower at the O’Higgins Commission.

Mr Waters told the Tribunal that while his private secretary noted alerting him to the mail, he does not remember it.

He also said he has no recollection of speaking to Commissioner O’Sullivan at the start of the O’Higgins Commission, despite her statement to the Tribunal saying they spoke.

Mr Waters said the Minister had no role in the Garda strategy at the Commission of Investigation, and it would have been improper and inappropriate to get involved.

Three new e-mails have emerged at the Disclosures Tribunal in which former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan suggests to then Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald that she tell the Dail she has full confidence in the Commissioner.

The e-mails were discovered in a trawl last November of documents relating to Maurice McCabe, and had previously not been sent to the Tribunal.

The e-mails, sent from Noirin O’Sullivan’s personal email, suggested that Frances Fitzgerald tell the Dáil that at no point did the Commissioner instruct her legal team to attack the integrity of Sergeant McCabe.

The e-mails also say the leaked extracts from the Commission, robbed Commissioner O’Sullivan of the right to defend her good name.

Earlier: Disclosures Tribunal resumes following break

The Disclosures Tribunal is to begin hearing from witnesses this morning, after taking a break to review additional evidence.

Among those due to be called are Garda Head of Legal Affairs Ken Ruane and the former Secretary General to the Department of Justice Noel Waters.

Mr Waters resigned last November ahead of his planned retirement next month, following the resignation of Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

This module of the Tribunal is examining whether former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan relied on false allegations to smear Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.

It will also examine contacts between gardai and members of the Government, media and others.

- Digital desk

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