Wednesday 17 October 2018

Retired garda: 'McCabe story may have been spun to RTÉ'

Former assistant Garda commissioner John O’Mahony
Former assistant Garda commissioner John O’Mahony
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The retired senior garda who led an internal investigation into the penalty points controversy said it was possible someone within the force spun an unfavourable story to RTÉ about whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Former assistant commissioner John O'Mahoney was quizzed at the Disclosures Tribunal about an RTÉ report in February 2014, which said then commissioner Martin Callinan issued a directive to Sgt McCabe in December 2012 telling him to co-operate with the internal investigation.

However, it later emerged Sgt McCabe was never directed to co-operate with the O'Mahoney investigation.

The tribunal heard that a direction was issued to Sgt McCabe by Mr Callinan to desist from accessing the Garda Pulse computer system and disseminating information from it.

Sgt McCabe was also told if he had any further concerns, these could be brought to the attention of Mr O'Mahoney.

However, he was not directed to do so and was not contacted during the course of the internal investigation.

Mr O'Mahoney said he was not the source of the information given to RTÉ and had not discussed the story with its crime correspondent Paul Reynolds. Counsel for Sgt McCabe, Michael McDowell SC, said it appeared somebody in the force "was spinning a deeply unfavourable story" about his client to RTÉ.

"Potentially, yes," responded Mr O'Mahoney.

His investigation did not find corruption in the force but did result in disciplinary proceedings against three senior gardaí and formal written advice regarding breaches of penalty points policy being issued to 62 others.

Derogatory

Mr O'Mahoney said it was not his view, or that of Mr Callinan, that there was non-co-operation by Sgt McCabe. He also said Mr Callinan never spoke to him in a derogatory fashion about any whistleblower.

The tribunal is investigating allegations by former Garda press officer Supt Dave Taylor that he was ordered by Mr Callinan in 2013 to negatively brief journalists that Sgt McCabe had been investigated over an allegation of child sexual assault.

Sgt McCabe had been cleared of an allegation in 2007.

Supt Taylor has named 11 journalists he claims to have negatively briefed about the sexual assault investigation.

One of them, 'Irish Daily Star' crime correspondent Michael O'Toole, told the tribunal that while he was exercising journalistic privilege over contacts with sources, he could confirm that he did not receive a negative briefing from any garda in relation to Sgt McCabe.

Irish Independent

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