The Mullingar Garda meeting, the notes and McCabe’s secret recording

Background: ‘Inaccuracy’ occurred when lawyers previewed evidence, Charleton told

A meeting between Sgt Maurice McCabe and Supt Noel Cunningham in 2008 has become very contentious.

Sgt McCabe had been told the previous year he had no case to answer after an historical allegation of inappropriate touching had been made against him.

Made by Ms D, the daughter of a colleague of Sgt McCabe's, it was dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Sgt McCabe worked alongside Ms D’s father in Bailieboro, Co Cavan, and wanted the full DPP direction released to all parties because it exonerated him. But his Garda superiors declined his request, saying it was outside normal practice.


Sgt McCabe then drew up a report containing issues he had with Ms D's father and submitted it to Supt Mick Clancy in Bailieboro.

The Charleton tribunal and the O’Higgins commission have both been told he did this because he wanted senior officers to release the DPP’s direction and show it to Ms D’s family.

In August 2008, Supt Cunningham met Sgt McCabe in Mullingar to discuss the matter. Sgt Yvonne Martin was present as a witness.

The Charleton tribunal has heard Supt Cunningham compiled a report about the meeting for Garda authorities.

“Sgt McCabe stated that this report was composed by him to highlight matters that occurred in Bailieboro District while he was sergeant in charge at Bailieboro Garda station,” it read. “He stated that the report was a bid by him to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him and the Ms D family in relation to the allegations made against him by Ms D and the subsequent investigation.”

Sgt Cunningham had made initial notes of the meeting, which the Charleton tribunal has been told correspond with a secret tape recording made by Sgt McCabe.

In May 2015, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office prepared a document outlining the evidence the Garda commissioner intended to rely on at the O’Higgins commission. One section outlined what Supt Cunningham would say in evidence about the Mullingar meeting.

“In the course of this meeting,” the document read, “Sgt McCabe advised Supt Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Supt Clancy was to force him to allow Sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.”

However, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office later clarified this, saying an inaccuracy had arisen on its part when summarising what Supt Cunningham’s evidence would be.

No complaint “against” Supt Clancy had been made by Sgt McCabe. Instead, Sgt McCabe had drawn up a report on the issues he had with Ms D’s father and this report had been submitted “to” Supt Clancy for consideration.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times