Thursday 19 September 2019

Former civilian boss denies that gardaí were 'going after' McCabe

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: PA
Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: PA
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A former senior civilian official at An Garda Síochána has flatly denied that he ever said "we are going after" Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.

Former chief administrative officer Cyril Dunne told the Disclosures Tribunal he was "certain" he never made the remark to Garda human resources director John Barrett.

Mr Barrett alleges the remark was made to him following a meeting he had with Mr Dunne and then-Garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan. Ms O'Sullivan was not in the room at the time.

He said he was unsure of the date, but it may have been the evening of May 13, 2015, the day before the commission began its private hearings into allegations of Garda malpractice made by Sgt McCabe.

But Mr Dunne said he could not have met Mr Barrett that evening as he was at a golf club meeting in Co Wicklow.

The tribunal heard Mr Barrett had sent an email to Mr Dunne and Ms O'Sullivan on May 13 about another issue. This email contained the line: "As I said to you last night", referring to May 12.

Mr Dunne said he had no recollection of any conversation with Mr Dunne or the commissioner on May 12.

In its current module the tribunal is examining whether unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Ms O'Sullivan to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.

Ms O'Sullivan gave lawyers the go-ahead to challenge Sgt McCabe's motivation and credibility at the commission, but denies giving instructions to question his integrity. The legal strategy was adopted at a time she was publicly backing the Garda whistleblower.

Mr Dunne said he hadn't known about the commissioner's legal strategy. "I had no involvement in it at all," he said.

He said his understanding at the time was that the commissioner was "generally very concerned" about having a duty of care to all gardaí at the commission, including Sgt McCabe.

"I understand that she was very keen to have the commission establish what the real truth was," he said.

Mr Dunne was asked if Ms O'Sullivan had ever spoken about challenging Sgt McCabe's motivation, integrity, or credibility. He replied: "The opposite, in fact. The impression I had was she was very much supporting him."

Irish Independent

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