LATEST: 'Honest and genuine' McCabe 'feels vindicated' by Charleton report

The Disclosures Tribunal, which is chaired by Justice Peter Charleton, has published its third interim report.

The report found:

  • Sgt Maurice McCabe was "repulsively denigrated for being no more than a good citizen and police officer";
  • The Tribunal found former garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former press officer Dave Taylor engaged in a campaign to harm Sgt McCabe's reputation.
  • Superintendent Dave Taylor completely understated his own involvement in a 'campaign of calumny' against Maurice McCabe and it was not the case that he acted under orders;
  • No credible evidence that Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan played any hand, act or part in any campaign against Sgt McCabe;
  • Former Minister Tribunal Frances Fitzgerald's evidence was an "honest appraisal" of events leading to her resignation, and "not a lazy dodging of the issues". She "selflessly resigned".

Noirin O’Sullivan welcomes Charleton report

A spokesman for former Garda Commissioner Noirin O Sullivan has said she welcomed the Charleton report.

He told the Irish Examiner she was attending a family engagement over the weekend and would study the report in full next week and issue further comment thereafter.

Maurice McCabe feels 'vindicated' by Charleton report

Maurice McCabe's solicitor Sean Costello has said Sgt McCabe is "relieved" that Mr Justice Peter Charlton has released the 400-page report, and feels vindicated by it, adding that "this chapter is now finished".

Mr Costello said the report shows Sgt McCabe is "an honest and genuine man".

He added that Sgt McCabe and his wife, Lorraine, will now take time to go through the report in depth and digest the findings.

Latest: Garda Commissioner Harris to set up group to examine Charleton's 'difficult' findings

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said An Garda Síochána fully accepts the findings of Mr Justice Charleton in today's third interim report, although it "makes for difficult reading for the organisation".

Commissioner Harris, who took over the role last month, said the report is "an opportunity to change how (An Garda) operates so we provide a professional and ethical service to the public".

He said he will establish a group "to examine Mr Justice Charleton’s findings from policy, process, discipline and cultural perspectives to identify the lessons to be learnt and changes to be made".

He further acknowledged Mr Justice Charleton’s comments about Sergeant McCabe, who is referred to in the report as a "good citizen" who was "repulsively denigrated" in a smear campaign.

Commissioner Harris said: "I acknowledge the difficult time he and his family have endured and I hope this chapter is drawing to a close. I will ensure Sergeant McCabe and all Garda personnel referenced in the report receive appropriate supports."

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Latest: Tribunal report says former Commissioner Callinan and press officer Taylor were involved in McCabe smear campaign

The Disclosures Tribunal has found two senior gardai were involved in a smear campaign against the Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

The Tribunal found former garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and former press officer Dave Taylor engaged in a campaign to harm the garda whistleblower’s reputation. However, the report also finds there is no credible evidence that former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan played any hand, act or part in any smear campaign.

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan

The report finds Martin Callinan made derogatory remarks to two TDs and the Comptroller and Auditor General about Maurice McCabe.

In a section headed 'John McGuinness TD and Commissioner Callinan', the report says Public Accounts Committee chairman John McGuinness TD had met Maurice McCabe on a number of occasions since 2011 in relation to the penalty points issue and other concerns which he was raising.

Deputy McGuinness told the tribunal that he was one of the public representatives who had heard rumours about Maurice McCabe. Those rumours intensified in the lead-up to Maurice McCabe’s appearance before the Public Accounts Committee in January 2014.

There was a period of what the report says was "intensive correspondence" between Deputy McGuinness and Commissioner Callinan, when the Public Accounts Committee were moving towards a compromise whereby, contrary to the wishes of the Commissioner, a serving sergeant (Maurice McCabe) was to appear to testify on matters gleaned from PULSE, a system of information reserved to gardaí, but was to do so in private.

This was in advance of a meeting on January 24, 2014 between Commissioner Martin Callinan and John McGuinness TD in the car park of Bewley’s Hotel at Newlands Cross in Dublin.

Prior to that meeting, phone records demonstrate contact between the two men, on January 23 and 24. John McGuinness TD told the tribunal that these phone calls were to arrange the meeting.

John McGuinness told the tribunal that Commissioner Callinan led him to believe that there was an ongoing investigation into sexual allegations against Maurice McCabe. John McGuinness TD described how what had been said had shocked and worried him.

Commissioner Martin Callinan had a radically different view of the car park meeting and rejected the account given by Deputy McGuinness. Commissioner Callinan told the Tribunal: "I didn't at any point in the conversation try to undermine the working of the Public Accounts Committee or speak in derogatory terms of Sergeant McCabe, nor would I."

However, the Tribunal report states:

The conversations as described by John McGuinness TD took place.

The report goes on to say: "As far as Commissioner Callinan’s state of emotion left him, it was only by a frontal attack that he might head off what he saw as the undermining of standards of duty and loyalty to which he had devoted his career. That involved, regrettably, a pretence that Maurice McCabe was not only unreliable, but that reliance on him would be a trap, the springing of which, through him being charged with one or multiple sexual abuse allegations, would leave Deputy McGuinness looking more than foolish."

Of the view of Maurice McCabe between Martin Callinan and Dave Taylor, the report says: "The evidence establishes that there was a meeting of minds between the two police officers as to how Maurice McCabe was to be viewed. On an overall view of the evidence, this confirms that Commissioner Martin Callinan was not alone in his attempts to denigrate the character of Maurice McCabe. They were acting together."

Latest: Sgt McCabe has done State considerable service, says Minister Flanagan; Tusla apologises

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has welcomed the report saying that the tribunal's investigation "goes to the heart of how An Garda Síochána handle allegations of wrongdoing within the force".

Minister Flanagan reiterated the point that Sgt Maurice McCabe had done the State considerable service and that his actions "arose out of a legitimate drive to ensure that An Garda Síochána serves the people".

"It is worth pointing out that Mr Justice Charleton says in his report that it is important to read it in its entirety to appreciate the sense of its overall findings," Minister Flagan said in a statement.

"I and my officials will examine the report to see what actions are required in the light of its contents and conclusions."

The Minister said that he will an implementation plan to Cabinet this term, taking careful account of the conclusions of Mr Justice Charleton.

Meanwhile, the Child and Family Agency, Tusla, has also responded to the publication of the report.

Tusla said that it would like to "reiterate our sincere apology to Sergeant McCabe and each member of his family for the impact Tusla’s errors had on them.

"Tusla is sincerely sorry that its standards did not meet those which could be reasonably expected by Sergeant McCabe and his family."

The agency also extended an apology to others who were affected by the errors that were made.

It said that a full response would be issued once the report has been examined in full.

Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine

Latest: Tribunal accepts ‘honest appraisal’ given by Frances Fitzgerald of events leading to her resignation

The Disclosures Tribunal has accepted evidence given by former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald regarding the controversy which led to her resignation in November 2017, and says she "selflessly resigned".

Frances Fitzgerald said at the time that she was resigning over her handling of the whistleblower scandal to avoid an "unwelcome and potentially destabilising" snap election. In a Dáil speech to mark her resignation, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he believed she would be vindicated by the Disclosures Tribunal.

Her resignation followed a storm of controversy over emails she received advising her of the legal strategy by former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan against Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

In her evidence regarding an email from Michael Flahive, an assistant secretary in the Department of Justice, Ms Fitzgerald said: "I mean, the way I would have responded to the email was that, first of all, it was about something that was happening at the O’Higgins Commission.

Now, I would have regarded the O’Higgins Commission as really quasi-judicial under the Commission of Investigation Act, it was private, it was independent and I did not see any role for myself in relation to the O’Higgins Commission... It would have been completely inappropriate for me, as Minister, to interfere, to have any political interference. The day of political interference in something like that was well gone, as far as I was concerned.

The report said that it accepted this evidence as "an honest appraisal of the situation. It was not a lazy dodging of the issues but rather a considered response to the information".

It also is satisfied that Frances Fitzgerald and former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan did not speak to each other about the matter.

Maurice McCabe a 'genuine person', who experienced a 'campaign of calumny' against him

The latest report from the Disclosures Tribunal has found that garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe is a genuine person who at all times has had the interest of the people of Ireland uppermost in his mind.

This section of the Disclosures Tribunal was looking to see whether senior gardaí engaged in a campaign to smear Sgt McCabe.

The report is more than 400 pages long and is divided into four sections including one which focuses on allegations that Sgt McCabe's character was assassinated.

The report strongly criticises former Garda Press Officer Dave Taylor for "disgraceful behaviour", describing him as a witness "whose credibility was completely undermined by his own bitterness".

The Tribunal found that Superintendent Taylor was part of a "campaign of calumny" against Maurice McCabe.

"The tribunal is convinced that he (Superintendent Taylor) pursued a scheme that somehow evolved out of his cheek-by-jowl working relationship with (former Garda) Commissioner Martin Callinan," the report states.

The report also found that whistleblower Maurice McCabe is a "genuine person who at all times has had the interests of the people of Ireland uppermost in his mind", and that Sgt McCabe regarded those interests as "superior to any loyalty" which he had to the police force of the State.

"Neither interest should ever be in conflict," it added.

In terms of then Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, the report found there is no credible evidence that she played any hand, act or part in any campaign against Maurice McCabe.

Former Deputy COmmissionner and Commissioner Nóirín O Sullivan

The report also strongly criticises the child and family agency Tusla for its handling of the false rape claim made against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Maurice McCabe is praised throughout the report which notes that people will be horrified about all the negative things said about him and all the reports which floated around.

Update 12.55pm: Maurice McCabe 'repulsively denigrated' for being 'good citizen'

The Disclosures Tribunal has found that Sgt Maurice McCabe was "repulsively denigrated for being no more than a good citizen and police officer".

The tribunal, which is chaired by Justice Peter Charleton, has published its third interim report.

It follows hearings investigating whether there was a smear campaign orchestrated by Garda management against the Garda whistleblower.

The report strongly criticises former Garda Press Officer Dave Taylor for "disgraceful behaviour", describing him as a witness "whose credibility was completely undermined by his own bitterness".

Peter Charleton also concluded that Superintendent Taylor completely understated his own involvement in a campaign of calumny against Maurice McCabe and that it was not the case that he acted under orders.

You can read the full report below.

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