Former garda press secretary told to "bury" whistleblower, tribunal told

Latest: Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe has testified that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was "obsessed" with him and told the former Garda press secretary to “bury” him, writes Gerard Cunningham.

Former garda press secretary told to "bury" whistleblower, tribunal told

Update 6.30pm: Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe has testified that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was "obsessed" with him and told the former Garda press secretary to “bury” him, writes Gerard Cunningham.

Giving evidence for the first time at the Disclosures Tribunal Sgt McCabe said that Superintendent Dave Taylor, the former press secretary, told him that he was ordered by Callinan to spread rumours that McCabe had been investigated for sexual assault.

Sgt McCabe said that Supt David Taylor "was in bad shape" when he met him in 2016, and "you could see that he was distressed or stressed."

"He kept saying I destroyed you. And I said I want to know what you did to me," Sgt McCabe said.

Sgt McCabe said he was told there was an orchestrated campaign to destroy him "in the form of whispering, of phone calls, of texts."

Supt Taylor told the sergeant this was done "on the authority” of ex-commissioner Martin Callinan, Sgt McCabe said.

Mr Taylor told the sergeant that he would receive text messages from Martin Callinan, and he would then forward these to journalists, the inquiry heard this afternoon.

Mr Taylor also said he would always send the texts to Noirin O'Sullivan, and she would reply "that's perfect" and Mr Taylor would then send them on, Sgt McCabe told the tribunal.

A file picture of Supt David Taylor

A file picture of Supt David Taylor

Sgt McCabe said he was told that Ms O'Sullivan "was the pusher and she knew everything that was going on."

Mr Callinan and Ms O'Sullivan deny the allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

The sergeant told the tribunal that he met Supt Taylor at his house with his wife while Supt Taylor had been temporarily suspended in September 2016.

He said Mr Taylor told him that there was a "constant obsession" with Sgt McCabe, and if an article or interview appeared about the sergeant, Martin Callinan would say "use your phone and do him down. He has to be buried."

"Martin Callinan would encourage David Taylor to spread the rumours about me, the fact I had been investigated for sexual assault," Sgt McCabe said.

The historic assault complaint in 2006 led to a garda investigation, and a recommendation from the DPP again a prosecution as there was no evidence any assault had taken place.

Sgt McCabe said he was told there was an intelligence file on him in Garda HQ, and an officer was designated to monitor his activities on PULSE.

The tribunal had to adjourn briefly as Sgt McCabe became visibly upset as he recalled a meeting with Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness. After the break, Sgt McCabe said that Mr McGuinness told him that Commissioner Callinan had told him (Mr McGuinness) 'McCabe was not to be trusted and that he had abused vulnerable children and his nieces'.

Sgt McCabe said he was "furious" when he spoke with Supt Taylor, and said that Supt Taylor could have stopped and said no at any time.

Sgt McCabe said that Supt Taylor's wife Michelle Taylor told him that Supt Taylor had met "a spiritualist" and felt he had to confess what he had done. She told Sgt McCabe that they had believed all the allegations that they heard about him.

Sgt McCabe said that after the meeting, he "couldn't get my head around hundreds of text messages", and the next morning he contacted Supt Taylor again to confirm that there had been hundreds of text messages.

"He said to me, it could have been thousands," Sgt McCabe said.

Tribunal barrister Pat Marrinan SC said that Supt Taylor will say there were no text messages and that the information was spread through word of mouth. On 26 September 2016, Sgt McCabe made a protected disclosure about what he alleges Supt Taylor told him.

Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine, at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle today. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine, at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle today. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Update 4pm: 'A kick in the teeth': McCabe describes feelings after garda chief's reaction to complaints

Following a recess, Sgt Maurice McCabe has told the Disclosures Tribunal that former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan told a TD he had sexually abused all of his children and his nieces.

When asked to recall what John McGuinness told him at a meeting in May 2016, Sgt McCabe became emotional.

He said Deputy McGuinness also recalled being told by Commissioner Callinan that Sgt McCabe wasn’t to be trusted and that it was very serious.

Sgt McCabe said he couldn’t believe it and was unable to recall how he got home that night.

Sgt McCabe is now being questioned about how he came to meet with former garda press officer David Taylor, who alleges a campaign to smear him by senior gardai.

Update 2.40pm: Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe has said that the response of a garda chief following an internal garda investigation into his complaints of malpractice was "a kick in the teeth".

Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney issued a circular letter in 2011 congratulating all gardaí stationed in Bailieboro, Co Cavan saying the report vindicated the station's high standards and professionalism.

Eleven out of 42 of the complaints made by Sgt McCabe were upheld by the 2011 report.

Last month Chief Super Rooney, now retired, told the tribunal that he now believed the views he expressed in the circular letter were inappropriate.

“My vindication of the high standards was not warranted,” he said.

The Charleton tribunal also heard today that Sgt McCabe told a senior officer that he felt he had been forced out of his position when he sought to step down as Sergeant in Charge at Bailieboro Garda Station in March 2008.

He said there was a culture in An Garda Siochana which made it "extremely hard to speak out".

He said he did not want to identify any person or place, but "there would be often places where I wasn't welcome at all".

Sgt McCabe said his revelations about penalty points "really hit hard in the force."

Giving evidence for the first time before the tribunal, Sgt McCabe was questioned by tribunal barrister, Pat Marrinan SC.

In a module completed last month, the tribunal examined whether unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by the former garda commissioner, Nóirín O'Sullivan, to discredit whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation.

The commission, which sat in private in 2015, investigated complaints made by Sgt McCabe about certain policing matters and about serious allegations against senior officers including then Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan.

Last summer, the tribunal looked at the creation and distribution of files by Tusla and the HSE containing false allegations against Sgt McCabe and whether he was the target of a smear campaign.

The tribunal heard how details of a serious assault from an unrelated case were added to a report on Sgt McCabe due to a "copy and paste error”.

A garda investigation following a 2006 allegation by Miss D against Sgt McCabe led to a recommendation from the DPP against a prosecution in the case, stating there was no basis for a prosecution and the incident described did not amount to an assault or to a sexual assault.

Sgt McCabe said that during this investigation, he got "great support" from his station colleagues and from senior garda management in the Cavan Monaghan division.

Sgt McCabe said he "was extremely happy" when he was told he had been exonerated.

He said that following encounters with Mr D and Mrs D, he asked that the DPP's directions should be shared with the family, so that they understood he had been exonerated.

The tribunal also heard that in January 2008, Sgt McCabe sent a letter to Supt Michael Clancy outlining 21 points of concern in Bailieboro garda station.

The following month, Sgt McCabe said he wrote a letter outlining his difficulties with the D family at the request of Supt Clancy.

Sgt McCabe said it was Supt Clancy's idea that he should ask for the DPP's direction to be shown to the D family.

Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton said that this was a "new idea" and he understood the proposal to share the DPP's direction had come from Sgt McCabe.

"I wasn't asking him, he was asking me," Sgt McCabe told the chairman.

Folk singer Christy Moore (left) and Author Frank Connelly, at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle today. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Folk singer Christy Moore (left) and Author Frank Connelly, at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle today. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

In March 2008, Sgt McCabe resigned his post in Bailieboro, citing lack of managerial support, lack of standards, lack of accountability and lack of duty to the public.

Sgt McCabe said he believed that a 2009 Facebook comment about a puppet called "Maurice the rat" could have referred to him. The incident was described later by the O'Higgins commission of inquiry as "vile and offensive".

Sgt McCabe said the 2011 circular by Chief Supt Rooney saying that the internal garda report into his complaints found no systemic failures in the management or administration of Bailieboro garda district was “a kick in the teeth."

He also said that after his name became public he received hundreds of emails and letters of support from around the country.

"I'd say three or four hundred. I haven't got any hate mail, not one. I couldn't reply to them all, naturally. In fact I haven't replied to any,” he said.

The sergeant also said that colleagues in the traffic unit in Mullingar where he worked had been "completely supportive" of him” though "there was an element that would just blank you”.

"They know how I work, they treat me one hundred percent," Sgt McCabe said. He said he also received support from his wife and children.

Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin today. Pic: Gareth Chaney Collins

Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin today. Pic: Gareth Chaney Collins

Earlier: Maurice McCabe says sex assault claim 'ruined my life'

Sergeant Maurice McCabe said an unfounded sexual assault allegation "ruined" his life forever.

Sgt McCabe has accused the Garda force of malpractice including the quashing of penalty points.

The saga surrounding the handling of his claims of wrongdoing among gardaí in Cavan-Monaghan contributed to the end of the careers of former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, two former chiefs of the Garda and ex-justice minister Frances Fitzgerald.

A decision was taken not to prosecute him following a false allegation in 2006 while he was an officer in Bailieborough, Co Cavan by a complainant who later confronted him outside the Garda station.

Sgt McCabe said he was 100% exonerated by the Garda investigation.

A letter from the officer said: "I am married with five children and this scurrilous allegation has ruined my life forever.

"I am a completely changed person in that I don't trust anyone any more."

He sought the Director of Public Prosecutions' directions: "All I seek is fairness."

He appeared before a public inquiry at Dublin Castle which considered the handling of the complaint against him.

The Disclosure Tribunal led by Mr Justice Peter Charleton is probing how the Garda handled Sgt McCabe's whistleblowing.

Part of the Tribunal's terms of reference is considering whether the false and unfounded child sex abuse allegation made against Sgt McCabe in 2006 was used against him.

Former Justice minister Michael McDowell arrives for the Disclosures Tribunal. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Former Justice minister Michael McDowell arrives for the Disclosures Tribunal. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Update 11am: Maurice McCabe was 'extremely happy' when he was cleared of abuse allegation

Maurice McCabe has told the Disclosures Tribunal that he got great support from management and garda colleagues in the Cavan-Monaghan district when he was cleared of an allegation of abusing the daughter of a colleague.

The Garda whistleblower has been giving evidence for the first time at the Tribunal, where he will face questioning about an alleged smear campaign by gardaí against him.

Sergeant McCabe said when he was told the DPP had exonerated him in April 2007, he was extremely happy.

However, he has told the Tribunal that he was unhappy with a senior colleague for not giving him the DPP directions sooner.

Maurice McCabe

Maurice McCabe

Earlier: Maurice McCabe to give evidence for the first time

Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe will be questioned this morning about an alleged Garda campaign to smear him, as well as his treatment at the O’Higgins Commission.

Maurice McCabe will only testify once before the Disclosures Tribunal, and lawyers for all parties will be given the opportunity to question him.

The Tribunal has already held hearings on the creation of a Tusla file which contained a false allegation of sexual abuse by Maurice McCabe, and on whether former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on inappropriate grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.

Lawyers for the Gardaí will be able to cross examine Sgt McCabe about these modules, and about an alleged smear campaign conducted by senior gardai.

Later this month the Tribunal will hear from the former head of the Garda Press Office Dave Taylor, who alleges that he was directed by former Commissioner Martin Callinan to brief negatively about Sgt McCabe.

Digital Desk

More in this section