'I thought... has this actually happened?' - Father of Ms D 'almost collapsed' when he read false sex assault allegation
The father of the young woman who made allegations against garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe said he "almost collapsed" when he was first shown a false allegation of digital rape.
Mr D, a garda, told the Charleton tribunal that he was shown the allegation on a Tusla notification form by Supt Leo McGinn.
"I thought, has she told a counsellor and not told us," he said. "Has this actually happened?"
The tribunal is looking into the creation and distribution of files by Tusla and the HSE containing false allegations against Sgt McCabe, which were created in 2013, and whether he was the target of a smear campaign. The allegations were copied in error from an unrelated case.
Mr D said that when he spoke to his wife about the allegation, "she broke down completely, she cried and she said what's going on?"
When he told his daughter, the phone went silent, and she then told him, "that's not my complaint."
Mr D said he was relieved when his daughter told him this, and contacted Supt McGinn soon after to let him know there was a mistake. He said the superintendent later told him the error was corrected.
"If a mistake of that magnitude was brought to the attention of somebody I just presumed it would be fixed. I couldn't actually conceive that it wouldn't be fixed," Mr D said.
Ms D's father said that any time Sgt McCabe's name came up in media reports, "she got upset, she got annoyed".
He said he had turned away several journalists who tried to contact him at his home or through Facebook in 2013 and early 2014.
He did not know how journalists found out his daughter's name and address, but said the fact she had made a complaint against Sgt McCabe "was an open secret in the guards."
During a social meeting with a colleague, Det Sgt John O'Reilly, he spoke about his daughter and how she was frustrated and angry, and the officer suggested she could speak to Paul Williams.
"My only concern was and still is my daughter. She was extremely upset and distraught at that time," Mr D said.
"My client absolutely and emphatically denies that he has ever in any shape or form assaulted or sexually assaulted Ms D in any way," barrister Michael McDowell SC told the tribunal on behalf of Sgt McCabe.
"The public will not know unless I say that, that I am operating under a very strict regime," he said.
The tribunal chairman, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, said the tribunal's terms of reference meant he could not inquire into anything that happened in 1998 or 2006, his inquiry started in 2013.
The tribunal also heard from Mrs D who said that when her husband first told her of the allegation she was "horrified".
"I thought to myself, God almighty, did this happen to her and did she not want to tell us about it," she said.
She said that she did not know who journalist Paul Williams was referring to or how he got his information when he told her that Ms D's case had been shown to senior garda officers and people in government.