Tuesday 20 November 2018

Callinan told me McCabe faced sex abuse claims, says C&AG

Garda Maurice McCabe with wife Lorraine at the tribunal in
Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.
Garda Maurice McCabe with wife Lorraine at the tribunal in Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins.

Gerard Cunningham

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy told the Charleton Tribunal that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan told him there were sexual offence allegations against whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy told the Charleton Tribunal that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan told him there were sexual offence allegations against whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

He also told Mr McCarthy that Sgt McCabe was not to be trusted, in what Mr McCarthy felt was an attempt to shake his "conviction" in his report on cancelled penalty points, the tribunal heard.

The tribunal is looking at allegations that senior gardaí were smearing the whistleblower to politicians, journalists and others.

It has heard previously that the DPP directed no prosecution after a historic abuse allegation was made against Sgt McCabe in 2007, saying that the Garda investigation found no evidence of a crime.

Mr McCarthy told the tribunal that his office received a file of 4,000 cancelled penalty points notices from Sgt McCabe in August 2012.

Seamus McCarthy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Seamus McCarthy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Sgt McCabe alleged that some of the notices were cancelled illegally and corruptly. A second, similar file was received in October of that year from Noel Brett, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority.

Mr McCarthy told of an exchange outside the hearing room of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

He said there were several officers with Mr Callinan, among them then deputy commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, assistant commissioner John Twomey, Supt David Taylor, and assistant commissioner John O'Mahoney.

Mr McCarthy said the commissioner approached him and raised Sgt McCabe's name.

"[He said] He was not to be trusted, that he had questions to answer, and that there were sexual offence allegations against him," Mr McCarthy said.

Mr McCarthy was concerned, as his office had not identified the whistleblower publicly. He said that the office had conducted its own investigation, and not relied on the whistleblower, and did not confirm the whistleblower was Sgt McCabe.

He said he had not spoken to anyone about what Mr Callinan told him before the tribunal was set up.

Conor Dignam SC, representing Mr Callinan, put it to Mr McCarthy that his client did not mention Sgt McCabe by name outside PAC, and had said that the allegations were "questionable", not that he had questions to answer.

Mr McCarthy said that was not what he recalled.

Meanwhile, the Garda head of communications has said he would have been "appalled" if told the Garda commissioner wanted to brief journalists about sex abuse allegations against Sgt McCabe.

Michael P O'Higgins SC, on behalf of Supt David Taylor, put it to Andrew McLindon that two or three weeks into the job, Mr McLindon got a full briefing on issues including Sgt McCabe.

Mr O'Higgins put it to Mr McLindon that his reaction was "matter-of-fact, sanguine" and he did not raise questions.

But Mr McLindon said: "I would have been appalled and highly concerned."

Mr McLindon said he had never been told by Supt Taylor of any instructions to brief negatively against Sgt McCabe.

"I would have been seriously concerned, it would have been anathema to me as a public relations professional," Mr McLindon said.

Asked if Sgt McCabe was seen within the force as "a bitter little man", Mr McLindon said that would be the view held among some.

"I couldn't say that that was the view held generally," he added.

Irish Independent

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