Tuesday 10 December 2019

Former commissioner's appearance delayed

Former Garda commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan’s actions are under examination. Picture: Collins
Former Garda commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan’s actions are under examination. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The appearance of former Garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan at the Disclosures Tribunal has been delayed due to the late disclosure of documents.

Ms O'Sullivan, who quit the force last October following a series of controversies, had been due to appear today to answer questions about the legal strategy she pursued against whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.

However, the disclosure of a large volumes of documents by An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and the Chief State Solicitors Office over the past month means the tribunal has had to cancel hearings originally scheduled for today, tomorrow and Thursday. The tribunal will resume on Friday, but it is expected to be Monday at the earliest before Ms O'Sullivan appears, unless the witness schedule is altered.

Tribunal counsel Diarmaid McGuinness SC said there had been "an accumulation" of information disclosed over the past month and that tribunal counsel needed more time to go through it.

This included more than 30 boxes of documents from An Garda Síochána and files from the Chief State Solicitors Office.

There had also been three tranches of electronic discovery from the Department of Justice.

Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton said he wasn't going to blame anyone for the delay the late disclosure had caused.

"I appreciate discovery is an ongoing matter," he said.

"I also am aware that we have a number of statements coming in relation to matters that are directly relevant to the terms of reference from people who perhaps ought to have known last February these things were called for."

Rather than blaming anybody, he said he wished to thank tribunal counsel and staff who had had to cope with "an enormous volume of material".

Irish Independent

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