Friday 17 August 2018

Journalist: 'No garda briefed me on McCabe sex smear'

Eavan Murray
Eavan Murray
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A journalist who approached the family of the woman who made a sexual assault complaint against Sergeant Maurice McCabe has denied being negatively briefed about the whistleblower.

'Irish Sun' reporter Eavan Murray said she would never have allowed herself to be used as part of any smear campaign.

"No member of An Garda Síochána told me Maurice McCabe was a child abuser," she told the Disclosures Tribunal.

Ms Murray is one of 11 journalists former Garda press officer Superintendent Dave Taylor alleges he negatively briefed about a sexual assault complaint against Sgt McCabe on the orders of former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

He claims then Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan knew what was going on.

Seven of the journalists have now given evidence they received no such briefings.

Four others are due to give evidence this week.

While it is true a woman known as Ms D complained she was sexually assaulted as a child by Sgt McCabe, the DPP ruled out charges in 2007 and found what was described by Ms D did not amount to a crime.

The tribunal heard Ms Murray did not come forward with evidence in response to an initial appeal for information and investigators only learned from the D family of her visit to their home. An initial letter of response to the tribunal said it was not her practice to comment on news gathering activities or sources.

A statement from Ms Murray setting out her position that she was not negatively briefed was only circulated yesterday.

Ms Murray said her feeling at the time was one of fear and that it was "very counter-intuitive" to reveal information.

Supt Taylor claims Ms Murray informed him she was planning to visit the D household before her visit.

Ms Murray says the first time she discussed the matter with him was a number of days after being there.

She said she was assigned to visit the D home by an editor in the 'Irish Sun' after the newspaper learned Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams had "a massive exclusive".

She said she believed she went to the house a few days after Mr Williams in March 2014.

The D family's evidence is that she came to their home before Mr Williams.

Ms Murray said she was shocked when Supt Taylor gave her name to the tribunal.

Ms Murray said her fear was he had named her "to bolster his own story" and she had been proven correct.

Earlier, 'Sunday Times' journalist John Mooney said while he had heard some "catty remarks" he had not been negatively briefed by any garda that Sgt McCabe was involved in child abuse.

Irish Independent

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