By Gerard Cunningham
Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has called on anyone who received text messages from a former garda press officer containing allegations that he had abused children to come forward.
Sgt McCabe told the Charleton tribunal that it would be foolish of him to make allegations about Superintendent David Taylor sending text messages to people, because if he was investigating such an allegation, he would check if that had happened.
He said that at a meeting on 20 September 2016 Supt Taylor told him that the former commissioner Martin Callinan had compiled hundreds of text messages alleging the sergeant was a sexual abuser.
Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor told him that he had forwarded these texts to journalists, senior gardai and politicians in an “orchestrated campaign” to “destroy him”.
The tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton asked Sgt McCabe if he was asking people to come forward if they had received such communications.
"I am yes, because it's more evidence of a smear campaign," Sgt McCabe said.
Sgt McCabe said that journalists might not wish to disclose sources, but anyone else should. The chairman said there may be circumstances where journalists did not have privilege.
Sgt McCabe told the chairman he did not tell Supt Taylor about his conversations with Deputy John McGuinness. The TD has told the tribunal that commissioner Martin Callinan told him that Sgt McCabe had abused his children.
Tribunal barrister Pat Marrinan SC said it was unclear from a transcript of a radio interview with Clare Daly TD whether she had met with Supt Taylor before talking about a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.
In the interview, Ms Daly referred to a "senior officer who admitted that he played a part in that and in essence what he said was that there was an organised campaign to in essence annihilate a whistleblower”.
Sgt McCabe said he probably met Ms Daly for a coffee in the week after he made a protected disclosure in September 2016, but he did not meet her in the presence of Supt Taylor. He said he had not shown a copy of the protected disclosure to Ms Daly.
Ms Tara Burns, on behalf of Supt Taylor, said her client had not told Sgt McCabe his Pulse computer activity was actually being monitored, but "made that assumption because that would be the norm when a member is under investigation”.
"He told me that I was being monitored on Pulse by a person called Kieran at Garda headquarters," Sgt McCabe said.
Ms Burns also said that Supt Taylor did not know for a fact that Sgt McCabe was listed on a garda computer server called Oisin, but made that assumption.
Fíonán Ó Muircheartaigh BL said that his client, reporter Alison O'Reilly, never spoke to Supt Taylor about Maurice McCabe.
Sgt McCabe said that Pulse records had been altered in cases he had highlighted as being insufficiently investigated, such as incidents of no car insurance later updated to say insurance was produced.
The sergeant highlighted one case where a pub was inspected at 2.45AM by a sergeant and two guards.
"They said it was in full flow, 40 people on the premises, the owner was drunk," Sgt McCabe said. Later, the Pulse entry was updated to read "inspected premises, all normal".
Michael McDowell SC, on behalf of Sgt McCabe, put it to his client that he [McCabe] never meant to imply in a confidential report that any senior officer was corrupt in a criminal sense.
Sgt McCabe said that under the Garda Code, corruption was defined as including falsification of records, which was what he was referring to. The sergeant said that in retrospect he could have used word "malpractice" instead of "corruption"
The tribunal resumes on Thursday, with closing submissions on the third module, which looked at whether unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to discredit whistleblower Sgt McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation.
The tribunal will then adjourn until 20 March, when it begins the fourth module.
At the end of today's session the chairman said: "It's the beginning of the end. Well, I certainly hope it's the beginning of the end”.