Even in a post-truth, post-shame world, even in a world where alternative facts are trotted out as regularly as “unprecedented” October storms threaten homes and property, the conclusion reached by Mr Justice Peter Charleton that, despite his repeated denials, former garda commissioner Martin Callinan told a Dáil deputy in early 2014 that whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe had sexually abused his family is deeply shocking. The allegation, and that is a very generous use of vocabulary, was of course false.
There is a weariness about everything around the Maurice McCabe story at this stage, but events coming to a conclusion in Dublin Castle are worthy of serious attention. Recent revelations have brought into sharp focus matters of great import to both policing and the media in this country.
A journalist has told the Charleton Tribunal she would not consider sources who provided factual statements about a Garda investigation into allegations against Sgt Maurice McCabe to be smearing the sergeant.
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.
Former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald made a “conscious decision” not to interfere in the legal strategy being put forward at the O’Higgins Commission after receiving an email about it, the Disclosures Tribunal has heard.
The lead counsel in the Garda legal strategy challenging the credibility and motivation of Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins inquiry in 2015 said he had been “left in no doubt” that information given to his legal team by senior gardaí grounding that strategy was accurate, when a key part of it was “wrong”.
Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan did not give instructions to her legal team in relation to the dealings of whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe with senior officers also represented by her legal team, because she did not have direct factual knowledge of the issues, the Charleton Tribunal has heard.