The State’s financial watchdog has said former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan made comments about Sergeant Maurice McCabe along the lines that he was “not to be trusted” and had questions to answer over alleged “sexual offences”.
Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Seamus McCarthy is the second person to tell the Disclosures Tribunal that Mr Callinan mentioned sexual allegations involving Sgt McCabe, after the testimony of Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness this week.
The tribunal is investigating if senior gardaí conducted a campaign to smear Sgt McCabe among media, politicians, and others.
Mr McCarthy said Mr Callinan approached him outside a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee at Leinster House on January 23, 2014. It was during that five-hour meeting, chaired by Mr McGuinness, that the commissioner described the actions of whistle blowers as “disgusting”.
A C&AG report into failings of the Garda fixed charge notice system, which had been sparked by records on 4,000 cancelled penalty points sent by Sgt Maurice McCabe to the watchdog, was due to be discussed at the meeting.
Mr McCarthy said the former commissioner’s comments may have been designed to “shake” his conviction in his report.
He told Mr Justice Peter Charleton that the commissioner initiated a private conversation in the lobby.
“The commissioner raised Sgt McCabe’s name, along the lines that Sgt McCabe was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer and that there were sex offence allegations against him,” said Mr McCarthy.
He said he told Mr Callinan he had not relied on the whistleblower for his report. He admitted to Conor Dignam SC, for Mr Callinan, he did not take a note of what was said, nor was he quoting “precise words” from the ex-commissioner.
Mr Dignam said his client rejected that he said Sgt McCabe could not be trusted or had questions to answer, only that some of the allegations were questionable.
He said his client did not raise the sexual allegation but that Mr McCarthy had, by saying he had heard rumours of such.
Mr McCarthy said that was “incorrect”, adding: “I did not say that.” He said he did not know anything about the Ms D allegations — in which Sgt McCabe was investigated for a sexual offence against a minor, but which the DPP ruled did not constitute a criminal offence and directed against prosecution. Mr McCarthy said he thought Mr Callinan’s comments could have been “an attempt to shake my conviction in my report”.
Garda director of communications Andrew McLindon said he was “shocked, surprised, and concerned” at Mr Callinan’s “disgusting” remark. He insisted he knew nothing about any campaign to smear Sgt McCabe.
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