Tribunal finds it ‘likely’ Callinan spoke about McCabe to senior gardaí

Only two officers came forward with information after tribunal wrote to 430 gardaí

RTÉ broadcaster Philip Boucher-Hayes arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Photograph:  Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

RTÉ broadcaster Philip Boucher-Hayes arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle, Dublin. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

 

It is likely that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan spoke negatively about Sgt Maurice McCabe to senior officers in the force, Mr Justice Peter Charleton found in his Disclosures Tribunal report.

The Supreme Court judge said he had made findings in relation to Mr Callinan having had “interactions” with four individuals in relation to Sgt McCabe.

This was a reference to politicians John McGuinness and John Deasy, Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy, and RTÉ broadcaster Philip Boucher-Hayes.

In his report, Mr Justice Charleton said Mr Callinan, during separate conversations with the four men, had smeared Sgt McCabe, in some cases by falsely referring to links with sexual abuse.

“These four individuals were total strangers” to Mr Callinan, the judge noted.

“The tribunal does not find it probable that interactions of a similar nature were not had with at least some of those who were close to Martin Callinan in An Garda Síochána.”

No such evidence was volunteered to the tribunal or otherwise given in evidence by any serving or former officer, and the tribunal, the judge said, was not able to make any finding of fact in this regard against any particular person.

The tribunal, he said, had done everything possible to gather evidence from senior officers and wrote to 430 individuals at different ranks.

“None of these individuals replied with any relevant information, apart from two officers.”

No inference could be drawn as to whether these other senior officers had relevant information, he said.

In his report Mr Justice Charleton said that Sgt McCabe, by way of his complaints about policing standards, was calling the force to account and thus involving himself in direct criticism of other serving officers.

“This generated considerable animosity towards him”, even though Sgt McCabe, in doing what he was doing, “was not only right but was courageously setting about serving the people of Ireland”.

The animosity against the sergeant continued from the time he first made his complaints.

“While many individual witnesses have sworn to this tribunal that they had no problem with him, or similar expressions, this background must nonetheless be always borne in mind,” the judge said.