Friday 20 September 2019

Callinan accuses TD of 'false and outrageous allegations'

Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan leaves the Disclosures Tribunal yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan leaves the Disclosures Tribunal yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan has accused a high-profile TD of making "false" and "outrageous" allegations against him.

Mr Callinan firmly disputed evidence given by former Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman John McGuinness at the Disclosures Tribunal last month.

The Fianna Fáil TD alleged Mr Callinan told him penalty points whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe had sexually abused his own children.

During his second day of evidence at the tribunal, Mr Callinan also disputed remarks attributed to him by Fine Gael TD John Deasy and Comptroller & Auditor General Seamus McCarthy.

All three have alleged Mr Callinan maligned Sgt McCabe in conversations that took place either before or after a meeting of the PAC on January 23, 2014, at the height of the penalty-points controversy.

Mr Callinan insisted he "never spoke" about Sgt McCabe "in a derogatory fashion at all".

The tribunal is investigating allegations Mr Callinan was behind an alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

Mr McGuinness has claimed the then-commissioner said Sgt McCabe "fiddles with kids" after the PAC meeting and described Sgt McCabe and another Garda whistleblower, John Wilson, as "f***ing headbangers".

The TD has also alleged that at a meeting between the two men in a hotel car park the following day, Mr Callinan told him he would be making "a grave error" if he called Sgt McCabe before the committee as a witness, that the whistleblower was not to be trusted and had sexually abused his own children and nieces.

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"These are outrageously serious allegations made against me and I cannot for the life of me understand why they are being made other than to say they are not true in any shape or form," said Mr Callinan.

"They are simply not true. They are falsehoods."

Under examination from tribunal counsel Pat Marrinan SC, Mr Callinan claimed that after the PAC meeting he asked Mr McGuinness whether Mr Wilson would be called as a witness.

He alleged the TD responded: "You must be joking, sure he's an f***ing header." This is denied by Mr McGuinness.

Mr Callinan disputed the accuracy of a note Mr McGuinness made of their meeting the following day.

The former commissioner also claimed C&AG Mr McCarthy "was mistaken" in his claim that Mr Callinan told him before the PAC meeting there were allegations of sexual offences against Sgt McCabe.

"I genuinely think there was some sort of misunderstanding in relation to what he thought I said on the day," he said.

Mr McCarthy has given evidence that early in the conversation Mr Callinan referred to Sgt McCabe by name and made statements to the effect that the he was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer, and that there were allegation of sexual offences against him.

"I think substantially the conversation took place, but I disagree that I said Sgt McCabe had sexual offences against him," said Mr Callinan.

He also disputed the evidence of Fine Gael TD Mr Deasy, who alleged that, during a conversation in a Leinster House coffee dock prior to the PAC meeting, Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe "was not to be believed".

He said the words attributed to him "are not words that I used nor were they words I would use against any member of An Garda Síochána".

Later, under questioning from Sgt McCabe's counsel, Mr Callinan said he did not order a report of HR and disciplinary matters relating to the whistleblower in 2013 and did not know who compiled it. Mr Callinan said under no circumstances did he order any document in an effort to "do down" Sgt McCabe.

Irish Independent

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