Garda whistleblower tribunal: the terms of reference

Broad range of areas to be investigated by inquiry under Justice Peter Charlton

Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


The tribunal into the Garda whistleblower controversy will report on issues concerning allegations from Sgt Maurice McCabe within nine months, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said on Thursday.

Mr Kenny said Mr Justice Peter Charleton has agreed to conduct the review, but added he was not certain how long it would take to investigate other aspects of the whistleblower issue.

Terms of reference for the tribunal were published on Thursday. Under these, the tribunal will cover allegations from former Garda press officer David Taylor that he was directed by former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan and/or current commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to negatively brief the media about Sgt Maurice McCabe.

It will investigate what knowledge Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan had concerning an allegation of criminal misconduct against Mr McCabe and whether they acted upon this to discredit the sergeant.

It will investigate the creation, distribution and use by Tusla (theChild and Family Agency) of a file containing false allegations of sexual abuse against Mr McCabe and whether the file was used by senior gardaí to discredit him.

Resolution to establish a Tribunal of Inquiry

It will also investigate whether the false accusations of sexual abuse were inappropriately relied upon by Ms O’Sullivan to discredit Mr McCabe at the Commission of Investigation chaired by Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins.

The tribunal will look at whether senior gardaí attempted to entrap or falsely accuse Mr McCabe of criminal misconduct and it will also look at contacts between An Garda Síochána and the media, members of the Government, Tusla, the HSE and other State entities.

It will examine all records relating to the telecommunications interactions used by Mr Taylor, Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan, between July 1st, 2012, and May 31st, 2014. In addition, it will examine all electronic and paper files, relating to Mr McCabe, held by An Garda Síochána.

The tribunal will investigate whether Ms O’Sullivan attempted to influence broadcasts on RTÉ by leaking unpublished O’Higgins Commission material. It will also investigate whether a meeting took place between Mr Callinan and Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness on January 24th, 2014 in the carpark of Bewley’s Hotel, Newland’s Cross, Co Dublin, and if it did, why.

It will investigate contacts between gardaí and Tusla concerning garda Keith Harrison and will investigate any pattern of the creation, distribution and use by Tusla of files containing allegation of criminal misconduct against Garda whistleblowers.

The tribunal will consider any other complaints by a member of the Garda who feels they were targeted, with the knowledge of senior gardaí, after making a protected disclosure.

The tribunal will report to the Minister for Justice on an interim basis no later than three months from its establishment.