Superintendent David Taylor denies claims over messages

Former Garda press officer Dave Taylor arrives at the tribunal yesterday.

Sgt Maurice McCabe has said he was “1,000%” certain he was told that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan had sent “hundreds of texts” to his then press officer to smear him with false child sex abuse claims.

However, counsel for the former press officer, Superintendent David Taylor, yesterday told the Disclosures Tribunal that her client rejected he ever said this.

The two men met at Supt Taylor’s home for three hours on September 20, 2016.

Tara Burns SC, for Supt Taylor, said her client accepted he sent hundreds of texts but that they were in elation to developments and media coverage regarding Sgt McCabe.

The tribunal heard on Monday that Supt Taylor claimed that allegations of child sex abuse against Sgt McCabe were only spread by word of mouth.

Ms Burns said her client also disputed Sgt McCabe’s evidence that he had said former commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was a “pusher” of the false allegations and that she knew everything about the dissemination of texts as part of a smear campaign.

She said the “pusher” reference related to her alleged role in pursuing a prosecution against him.

Sgt McCabe said this was “absolutely false” and that he took accurate notes of the meeting, although he accepted they were not verbatim or full notes.

The tribunal has previously heard that Supt Taylor claimed that Ms O’Sullivan’s usual response to his texts was “perfect”.

Ms Burns said yesterday this related to the general texts her client sent out and did not refer to the Miss D case, which related to allegations of child sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe, which the DPP found not to be have happened.

She put it to Sgt McCabe that he “misremembered” or “misinterpreted” the 2016 meeting and that his one-page record was “jumbled” and “disjointed”.

He said he was “1,000%” sure.

After Mr Justice Charleton sought clarification, Ms Burns said that Supt Taylor also disputed that he had told Sgt McCabe that his use of the Pulse system was being monitored by someone called “Kieran” at Garda headquarters.

She said her client assumed Sgt McCabe’s Pulse use was being monitored, but did not know.

And she said he had not conveyed to Sgt McCabe that there was a secret file on him, called Óisin, but that there was a computer server called Óisin.

Mr Justice Charleton commented that there was “a softening and a vagueness” now compared to what Supt Taylor told the tribunal over three private meetings, particularly in relation to Ms O’Sullivan and what she knew.

The chair put it to Sgt McCabe that what might be called a “chasm” had opened up between his evidence and Supt Taylor’s.

“It’s his word against mine at this stage,” Sgt McCabe said.

Shane Murphy SC, for gardaí, reaffirmed the denial by both Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan of any knowledge of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

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