Thursday 19 April 2018

Callinan briefed me on McCabe before RTÉ appearance - celebrity lawyer Gerald Kean

Solicitor Gerard Kean at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Stephen Collins
Solicitor Gerard Kean at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Stephen Collins

Gerard Cunningham

Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan told solicitor Gerald Kean that whistleblower Maurice McCabe "had not cooperated in any shape or form" with an internal inquiry into his complaints, the Disclosures Tribunal has heard.

The solicitor spoke by phone with the former commissioner several times before a panel appearance on RTÉ's 'Marian Finucane Show' on Sunday, January 26, 2014.

"I mistakenly or otherwise believed the commissioner was somebody beyond reproach," Mr Kean said.

The tribunal is looking at allegations that senior gardaí were smearing the whistleblower to politicians, journalists and others.

Mr Kean said he met Mr Callinan in person only once, at a charity event in Cork.

The solicitor said that when he spoke to Mr Callinan before his radio appearance, he was told that Sgt McCabe had not cooperated with an internal Garda inquiry, and he had breached the Data Protection Act. Mr Kean said Mr Callinan asked him not to disclose the fact that they had spoken.

Maurice McCabe
Maurice McCabe

"I was representing my own views, but very much based on the information that was in the public domain since [the previous] October and the information given to me by the commissioner," Mr Kean said of his RTÉ appearance.

Mr Kean said after he came off air in RTÉ, he was told by a producer that Sgt McCabe had called to complain. Mr Kean said this set off "alarm bells" and he rang Mr Callinan.

"He stuck to his guns, he said that's not correct, everything I said is correct," Mr Kean said.

"He was standing his ground on the information he gave me, and I was happy to stand my ground based on that information," Mr Kean said.

Sgt McCabe later wrote and complained about the comments Mr Kean made on the programme, saying that they left him "upset, annoyed and furious".

Mr Kean wrote to the commissioner about the complaint from Sgt McCabe, enclosing the sergeant's letter.

"I would be grateful if you could look at the letter that I have received and my proposed draft response," Mr Kean wrote.

Mr Kean was cross-examined by Micheál P O'Higgins, who represents An Garda Síochána and Mr Callinan.

The barrister said his client had "a clear view" that Sgt McCabe had failed to avail of an opportunity to co-operate with the O'Mahoney internal Garda inquiry into his complaints. The tribunal has heard Sgt McCabe was never asked to co-operate with the probe.

Mr O'Higgins also said it was Mr Callinan's position that he did not tell Mr Kean not to mention his name, and that he discussed only facts in the public domain.

"No, that's simply incorrect," Mr Kean responded.

Mr Kean said he would have loved to have been able to say during the broadcast that his information came to him from the Garda commissioner.

The solicitor said Mr Callinan told him Sgt McCabe was a troublemaker, obstructive and difficult.

He agreed he had not been told anything about sexual allegations by Mr Callinan.

Mr Kean also said he did not recollect speaking to former Garda press officer Supt David Taylor.

He said he thought he had spoken to retired Chief Supt Diarmuid O'Sullivan, who suggested he contact Mr Callinan.

Mr O'Sullivan told the tribunal he did not recollect speaking to Mr Kean, but if he had been, he would have directed Mr Kean to contact the Garda press office.

Phone records show contacts between Mr O'Sullivan and Mr Kean the Saturday before the RTÉ radio appearance, and on the Sunday afternoon subsequently.

Irish Independent

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