Monday 22 October 2018

Journalists won't confirm or deny if they were briefed

‘Irish Examiner’ journalist Juno McEnroe
‘Irish Examiner’ journalist Juno McEnroe

Andrew Phelan

A journalist told the Disclosures Tribunal he heard "tittle tattle" about Sgt Maurice McCabe but refused to answer questions about whether he was "negatively briefed".

'Irish Examiner' political correspondent Juno McEnroe said he would not confirm or deny whether former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor told him about an allegation of sexual misconduct against Sgt McCabe.

He was one of three 'Irish Examiner' journalists to claim privilege, along with the paper's security correspondent Cormac O'Keefe and political editor Daniel McConnell.

Mr McEnroe said he was not aware of any attempt made by either former Garda commissioner Callinan or O'Sullivan to discredit Sgt McCabe by reference to an allegation of criminal misconduct.

No other journalists or politicians informed him of any attempt to discredit Sgt McCabe.

"In relation to Supt Taylor, I cannot answer questions… for fear that may be disclosing information that may be relating to a source or sources," he said.

Cormac O’Keefe
Cormac O’Keefe

He said he did not know anything about the sexual allegation against Sgt McCabe until after July 2014. The tribunal heard Supt Taylor left the Garda press office on June 10 that year.

Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, put it to him that Supt Taylor had said he did brief him negatively about Sgt McCabe, around January 2014.

Mr McEnroe said he chose not to answer any questions in relation to this.

Mr McEnroe said he did recall that at the time Sgt McCabe came to Leinster House to appear before the Dáil committee in 2014, there was "gossip, prattle, tittle tattle", that somebody raised a question mark, "a doubt" around Sgt McCabe and whether he was trustworthy. Mr McEnroe said he endeavoured to look into that and was satisfied that Sgt McCabe was a credible person.

Mr O'Keeffe refused to answer any questions about what anyone other than fellow journalists might have told him about Sgt McCabe.

He told the tribunal he would not say whether he was briefed negatively about Sgt McCabe by anyone in the Garda, including Supt Taylor or either of the former Garda commissioners, for reasons of journalistic privilege.

It was the "principle" that was at stake, he said.

Mr McConnell said he could not confirm or deny if Supt Taylor had negatively briefed him.

He first became aware of the 'Ms D' allegation after articles by Paul Williams were published in April 2014.

Before that, in January, he had heard what he described as "journalistic chatter" in relation to Sgt McCabe.

Irish Independent

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