Monday 16 September 2019

Former Garda press officer 'told TDs of bid to smear Sgt McCabe'

Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace at the tribunal yesterday. Photo: Collins
Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace at the tribunal yesterday. Photo: Collins
Andrew Phelan

Andrew Phelan

A former Garda press officer was emotional and "in a bad place mentally" on the night he told two TDs he had been part of a smear campaign against whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace told the Disclosures Tribunal they met Superintendent Dave Taylor at his home, where he said there had been an orchestrated campaign to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

They both left the meeting with the impression he said he had sent out derogatory text messages about Sgt McCabe to journalists, although they could not be 100pc sure. Supt Taylor denies this.

Meanwhile, Supt Taylor has now added a 12th name to the list of journalists he claims to have negatively briefed about Sgt McCabe as part of an alleged smear campaign.

He says he briefed journalists that Sgt McCabe had been investigated over a historic allegation of child sexual assault.

Supt Taylor alleges he was ordered to do so in mid-2013 by then Garda commissioner Martin Callinan and with the knowledge of then deputy commissioner Noírín O'Sullivan. They both deny his allegations.

While Sgt McCabe was investigated over a complaint that had been made by a woman known as Ms D, the DPP decided in 2007 there should be no prosecution.

Mr Wallace and Ms Daly told the tribunal they got in contact with Supt Taylor and spoke to him at his home on October 3, 2016.

Sgt McCabe had told them Supt Taylor was making a protected disclosure alleging a campaign to discredit him and they wanted to verify the information.

Mr Wallace said while he believed the smear campaign claim, he felt Supt Taylor had been "economical with the truth" about his own position. Supt Taylor was being investigated at the time for leaks.

"Leaving the meeting, I was very clear that Dave Taylor had confirmed the information that Maurice (McCabe) had given us," Ms Daly said.

Like Mr Wallace, she could not be certain Supt Taylor said he sent out derogatory texts about Sgt McCabe to journalists and others but that was her impression.

In her notes, it was clear "they discussed phones a lot".

The tribunal heard Supt Taylor is naming a 12th journalist as being among those he negatively briefed.

Cathal McMahon, former crime reporter with the 'Irish Daily Mirror', said he learned the allegation against Sgt McCabe from a non-Garda source in early 2014.

He denied he was negatively briefed by Supt Taylor.

John Kierans, the paper's editor, said he did not believe or run the story and that it had been "peddled around town" by Supt Taylor.

Irish Independent

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