Monday 23 October 2017

Dáil hears claims Garda Commissioner contacted journalist making allegations of 'sexual crimes' against whistleblower Maurice McCabe

Former Minister says Commissioner O’Sullivan must stand aside pending inquiry

Garda chief Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Garda chief Nóirín O’Sullivan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
John Downing

John Downing

Labour leader Brendan Howlin has told the Dáil that a journalist today told him of serious allegations of misconduct against Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

Amid repeated warnings from the Dáil chairman, Séan Ó Fearghaíl, the former Public Expenditure Minister insisted it was important for the Dáil to hear what the journalist had told him.

Mr Howlin said the journalist, who today contacted him, said he had direct knowledge of Commissioner O’Sullivan contacting a number of journalists in 2013 and 2014 and alleging the whistleblower, Sgt Maurice McCabe, was involved in “sexual crimes.”

The Labour leader said the Garda Commissioner should stand aside pending the outcome of a Commission of Investigation to be headed by Supreme Court Judge, Peter Charleton.  Mr Howlin said in any other walk of life a person in such a situation would have to go on “administrative leave.”

The Ceann Comhairle, Séan Ó Fearghaíl, said he could not allow what he in Irish called “dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean leí” claims. These were third-hand allegations which were very serious.

The chairman said he had no difficulty with Mr Howlin calling on Commissioner O’Sullivan standing aside pending the inquiry. He was very concerned about these allegations.

“You’re taking us into territory into which I think we should not venture,” Mr Ó Fearghaíl insisted.

But Mr Howlin replied that in a previous case involving alleged Garda misconduct he had ended up before the High and Supreme Courts. He had then been told by the Judges that he should have first raised the allegations in the Dáil.

The drama unfolded as Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald prepared to give the Dáil the terms of reference of the Judge Charleton’s upcoming inquiry. The Supreme Court Judge’s work will follow a review by former High Court Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill into two “protected disclosures” submitted by Sgt McCabe and Supt Dave Taylor.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil that the inquiry must be allowed take its course and the status of any revelations so far amounted to allegations.

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