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disclosures tribunal

'It would be hard to invent a story like that': Maurice McCabe finishes evidence at Tribunal

The Tribunal heard differing accounts of a pivotal September 2016 meeting between McCabe and Superintendent David Taylor today.

Updated 5.10pm

THE DISCLOSURES TRIBUNAL has heard that former garda press officer David Taylor disputes parts of an account given by Maurice McCabe, of a meeting they had at Taylor’s home in September 2016.

It also heard McCabe say that he does not have any evidence to prove that Martin Callinan said that he sexually abused his children, but that it is something he was told Callinan said.

Finishing his evidence today, McCabe also denied he was exaggerating by saying that the “floodgates opened” when then-commissioner Callinan described the activities of whistleblowers at the Public Accounts Committee as “disgusting”.

Yesterday, the Tribunal heard an emotional account from McCabe of Taylor telling him “I destroyed you” because of orders given by former garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

Today, the garda whistleblower faced cross-examination from counsel for a number of parties involved in the Tribunal – including Taylor, RTÉ, journalist Alison O’Reilly and An Garda Síochána.

During his evidence yesterday, McCabe said that Taylor told him that Callinan would draft texts and send them to him, and Taylor would then forward the messages on to senior gardaí, journalists and politicians.

McCabe said he was told these texts made reference to an allegation of sexual abuse that was made against him in 2006 – when the matter was investigated at the time, McCabe was exonerated.

He said he was told that Taylor would be given the brief to disseminate this information when the whistleblower appeared in media coverage.

He also claimed Taylor told him that “hundreds”, and possibly even “thousands”, of messages were sent by Taylor at the behest of Callinan containing information about these sexual abuse claims.

Furthermore, McCabe said that Taylor told him that Nóirín O’Sullivan was aware about it all, and had been the “pusher” of negative media briefings against McCabe.


This account from McCabe, however, was probed by counsel for David Taylor today. Tara Burns BL asked McCabe specifically about this description of O’Sullivan as “the pusher” initially.

“Taylor’s stance is that in discussing Nóirín O’Sullivan, he wasn’t saying she was pushing this agenda [of smearing your name],” Burns said.

McCabe responded: “No, that’s absolutely false.”

At this time, Taylor was suspended from An Garda Síochana on suspicion of leaking information. He was reinstated on 13 February 2017, a day before the Disclosures Tribunal was set up.

Burns pressed McCabe on not having noted down details about O’Sullivan being “the pusher”, and McCabe agreed that he had not noted down the full details at that time.

He was, however, confident that he was correct in his account of the meeting with Taylor.

McCabe said: “All I did was I reported what he said. It would be hard to invent a story like that.”

Burns also said that it is Taylor’s case that, while he sent a number of messages to senior gardaí, journalists and politicians about McCabe, he did not reference the 2006 sexual abuse allegation in them.

It is Taylor’s case that he was told by Callinan to brief the media negatively against McCabe but didn’t do so via text message.

McCabe, however, said: “It was a stressful meeting. I was very, very careful in what I was going to write down. I didn’t make this up.

It’s his word against mine.


Quizzed by counsel for journalist Alison O’Reilly, McCabe referenced meeting her at his home.

He said: “She said there was a rumour that I sexually assaulted a girl. I said no I didn’t.

I think she said that ‘well, everybody has it’. I said no, it didn’t happen.

Under questioning from counsel for RTÉ, McCabe went on to say that he was “annoyed” by the contents of an RTÉ broadcast in May 2006.

This broadcast was about a leaked copy of the O’Higgins report, which was an investigation which looked into claims McCabe had made of garda misconduct in the Cavan-Monaghan division.

Mr Justice O’Higgins noted in his final report that while McCabe was never less than truthful in his evidence, he was “prone to exaggeration” at times.

He acted out of “genuine and legitimate concerns” but also made “unfounded” and “hurtful allegations”.

Describing a report on Morning Ireland, McCabe said: “I thought it was a nasty article. My heart was sinking. Even my kids were on the school bus and heard it.”

Counsel for RTÉ asked McCabe if he listened to other broadcasts throughout the day based on this leaked report, and he said he hadn’t.

The Tribunal also heard that John McGuinness does not dispute McCabe’s account of a May 2016 meeting. In that meeting, McCabe said McGuinness told him that Martin Callinan had said that he had “sexually abused his own children and nieces”.

In the afternoon, McCabe was pressed by counsel for the gardaí about allegations he had made against senior members of the force.

It was also put to him that he may have exaggerated claims yesterday that when Martin Callinan referred to actions of whistleblowers as “disgusting”, the “floodgates opened” in terms of negative treatment he received.

“No it is not,” he said.

Under questioning from his own counsel, Michael McDowell SC, McCabe was asked about a disciplinary investigation against him in relation to the loss of a computer in a clerical abuse case.

McCabe said: “If I had been convicted of that it would have had an enormous impact on me.”

The garda whistleblower finished his evidence this afternoon, and it is likely that this is the last time the Tribunal will hear from him.

The Disclosures Tribunal will hear submissions from counsel on a number of matters on Thursday, and is due to reconvene on Tuesday 20 March.

After McCabe’s allegations over the past few days, it is the evidence of four people that will be of particular interest, namely: David Taylor, John McGuinness TD, Nóirín O’Sullivan and of course Martin Callinan.

Read: ‘Horrific’, ‘destroyed me’, ‘bury him’: An emotional Maurice McCabe gives his side of the story

Read: Tribunal hears claim that Martin Callinan told TD that Maurice McCabe ‘sexually abused his own children’