Martin Callinan denies TD’s account of meeting

Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan has rejected accounts of a meeting where it was claimed he told a Fianna Fáil TD that whistleblower Maurice McCabe was not to be trusted, documents reveal.

But Mr Callinan did confirm to a judge-led inquiry that he met with John McGuinness in January, 2014, just days before he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee.

Mr McGuinness previously revealed in the Dáil that during the carpark meeting he was warned that Mr McCabe was not trustworthy.

However, in correspondence between Mr Callinan and Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill — who was tasked at looking into allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe — the former commissioner appeared to deny accounts of the meeting contained in two protected disclosures.

In letters, seen by RTÉ, Mr Callinan told Judge O’Neill that “there are a variety of descriptions of what occurred at that meeting, none of which are correct”.

In correspondence with Judge O’Neill over several weeks in October and November 2016, Mr Callinan went on to say that the protected disclosures “contain many vague descriptions of events based on hearsay and indeed hearsay upon hearsay”.

“In addition, in material instances, dates and times are not specified,” Mr Callinan wrote.

Acknowledging his meeting with Mr McGuinness, he wrote: “You might kindly set out precisely the allegations to which you wish me to respond. An example of why this is necessary can be ascertained from an examination of the various descriptions of my meeting with Deputy John McGuinness on 24 January 2014.

“There are a variety of descriptions of what occurred at that meeting, none of which are correct”.

The revelations come as current Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan faces fresh calls to step down ahead of a tribunal of inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against the Garda whistleblower which opens today.

AAA-PBP TD Richard Boyd Barrett said “double standards” were at play after a series of answers to his parliamentary questions show 26 other staff are currently suspended on full pay from work in the Department of Justice or agencies under it: “It seems to me a very big contradiction to say that Nóirín O’Sullivan should stay in situ but actually within our own department it appears to be regular practice to suspend people on full pay when they are being investigated.

“So that is a glaring double standard, where special protection seems to be given to Nóirín O’Sullivan that is not being applied to others.”

Education Minister Richard Bruton and chief whip Regina Doherty, yesterday reiterated the Government’s full confidence in Ms O’Sullivan. Ms Doherty conceded however that “the amount of work that will be involved in co-opertaing with the tribunal, potentially has the capacity to take away from somebody’s ability to do their day job and they [the Policing Authority] will keep a close eye on that.”

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