‘Chasm’ opens between garda whistleblowers

Sgt Maurice McCabe

An apparent “chasm” has opened up between two garda whistleblowers whose allegations led to the setting up of a tribunal into an alleged campaign by senior officers to smear one of them.

Sgt Maurice McCabe said he was “1,000%” certain that former Garda press officer Superintendent David Taylor told him that ex-commissioner Martin Callinan had sent him “hundreds” of texts urging him to spread false allegations of child sexual abuse by Sgt McCabe to senior gardaí, TDs, and journalists.

However, at the Disclosure Tribunal yesterday, Tara Burns SC, for Supt Taylor, rejected this and said that Mr Callinan never sent her client such texts and that Supt Taylor only sent general texts regarding Sgt McCabe, such as his coverage in the media, to people.

Ms Burns also rejected evidence by Sgt McCabe that Supt Taylor told him that former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was a “pusher” in the abuse allegations.

She said her client made that comment in relation to Ms O’Sullivan pursuing a prosecution against Supt Taylor on other matters. Sgt McCabe rejected claims by Ms Burns that his brief notes of a three-hour meeting he had with Supt Taylor on September 20, 2016 were “jumbled” and “disjointed”.

Speaking to Sgt McCabe, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, the tribunal chair, said the dispute between the two protected disclosers might be described as a “chasm”.

Sgt McCabe said it was now “his [Taylor’s] word against mine”.

Allegations by Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe resulted in the creation of the tribunal.

The tribunal heard on Monday that Supt Taylor claimed the child sex abuse allegations were spread by word of mouth. It also heard Supt Taylor claimed that Ms O’Sullivan’s usual response to his texts was “perfect”.

Ms Burns said this related to the general texts her client sent out and did not refer to sex-abuse slurs.

Mr Justice Charleton said there was now a “softening and a vagueness” in Supt Taylor’s position, particularly regarding Ms O’Sullivan, compared to his previous statements.

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