Charleton tribunal: Garda who investigated whistleblower to give evidence
Frank Clerkin led inquiry into Dave Taylor at the time of his Maurice McCabe smear claims
The Garda officer who conducted a criminal investigation into Dave Taylor is scheduled to give evidence to the Charleton tribunal this week. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
The Garda officer who conducted a criminal investigation into Dave Taylor, the former head of the Garda Press Office, is scheduled to give evidence to the Charleton tribunal this week.
Supt Taylor was the subject of an investigation conducted by Supt Frank Clerkin when Nóirín O’Sullivan was the Garda commissioner. No charges were ever brought and Supt Taylor returned to duty, but not at the press office.
Supt Clerkin is one of a number of Garda officers due to give evidence this week. Two officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland who have conducted research on telecommmunications exchanges involving Supt Taylor and others are also to give evidence.
Around the time he was the subject of a criminal inquiry, Supt Taylor made a protected disclosure in which he said he had been ordered to conduct a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe by former commissioner Martin Callinan and/or Ms O’Sullivan.
Last week, in response to a query from the tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton, counsel for Supt Taylor said he was not claiming that this campaign had involved text messages.
John Ferry also said his client was not making any claim against the Garda that it had tampered with Supt Taylor’s mobile phone.
Earlier this year, Sgt McCabe told the tribunal in evidence that he had met Supt Taylor and been told that “hundreds” of text messages had been sent to journalists and others as part of the alleged smear campaign.
The sergeant said an emotional Supt Taylor told him that he had “destroyed” him on the instructions of former commissioner Mr Callinan and that the subsequent holder of the office, Ms O’Sullivan, “knew everything that was going on”.
Sgt McCabe said he was told Mr Callinan wrote all the texts which Supt Taylor sent out. He was told that Supt Taylor would “always”send a copy of the texts to Ms O’Sullivan, who would always reply, “Perfect.”
He said he was told the next day by Supt Taylor that “thousands” of such texts might have been sent.
Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan have rejected the claim from Supt Taylor that there was an orchestrated smear campaign which they knew about.
During evidence last week, Mr Justice Charleton said the first protected disclosure made by Supt Taylor was “a very strong statement against Nóirín O’Sullivan”.
Supt Paul Moran, who took over in the Garda Press Office from Supt Taylor, has told the tribunal he believed his predecessor was “bitter” about how he had been removed from the role.
In March of last year, Supt Taylor lodged High Court proceedings against Ms O’Sullivan and the State arising from his being arrested and suspended from duties following the initiation of a criminal investigation into alleged leaks about a Roma family.
No papers have since been lodged in the matter, court records show. Supt Taylor is expected to give evidence later this month.