Monday 25 June 2018

Comment - The 'Grand Inquisitor' faced 10 hours of questions - about his own questions

John McGuinness pictured at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Stephen Collins/Photos
John McGuinness pictured at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Stephen Collins/Photos
John Downing

John Downing

This was a dramatic case of role reversal. John McGuinness was renowned over the years 2011-2016 as the 'Grand Inquisitor' chairing the taxpayers' watchdog Public Accounts Committee, assertively trying to take it into new areas.

For the past two days he faced almost 10 hours of questioning at the Charleton tribunal. Counsel for gardaí, especially barrister Mícheál O'Higgins, acting for former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan and others, zoned in on four points.

1. Did he take notes of a contentious meeting with commissioner Callinan? On Monday he recalled he had jotted down some very short points on his way home in January 2014. But in an RTÉ interview in May 2016 he said he had no notes and no recording. In response, he argued he understood the RTÉ questions were about detailed notes which he had not taken, merely "short, snappy notes".

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