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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C Justice Peter Charleton at Dublin Castle where the public inquiry is being held.
charleton tribunal

Ms D, the woman at the centre of the Disclosures Tribunal, will give evidence this week

To protect her identity, the public will not be allowed to attend.

THE DISCLOSURES TRIBUNAL will this week hear evidence from the woman at the centre of the original complaint about Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Ms D, as she is known in Dublin Castle, will have her identity protected throughout her testimony.

Last week, chairman Justice Peter Charleton ruled that while members of the press may report on her evidence, the public shall not be allowed to attend the proceedings during her testimony.

Journalists could also be requested to omit certain details, if required to ensure Ms D’s anonymity. The judge said that in the event of evidence which was “irrelevant and an infringement of privacy” being heard, he might order that particular pieces of evidence should not be reported.

The public inquiry is examining claims that erroneous allegations of sexual abuse were used as part of a campaign to smear and undermine the reputation of the well-known whistleblower.

Charleton said that he would leave it to the tribunal administrator to make a determination of who was a “bona fide” member of the media, noting that “most press people do carry cards”.

Explaining his decision, the Supreme Court justice said that secret courts were “an obnoxious aspect of certain regimes which do not follow Christian and democratic substratums to their proceedings”. However, he said there were exceptional circumstances in which the courts could restrict what was reported.

Ms D and her family (her parents Mr D and Mrs D as they will be known) are expected to begin their testimony today at noon.

Who is Ms D?

In September 2005, Ms D was referred to social workers over a different issue involving ‘sexual behaviour’, the tribunal has heard.

During a counselling session at that time, she made an allegation that a man – an unidentified garda - had tickled her and touched her inappropriately while playing hide and seek when she was younger. She named McCabe – her father’s colleague – as that man in a follow-up session and the allegations against him were formalised in a statement to gardaí in December 2006.

During this time, no test of credibility was carried out.

The DPP decided not to bring any charges as no crime had been committed and the case was formally closed in 2007 after Ms D ‘disengaged’ from child protection services.

What happened then?

Nothing until 2013 when Ms D sought counselling again.

A Tusla file was then opened on McCabe over the same allegation. However, details from an unrelated case, including a much more serious accusation of sexual abuse, were added to the file by Laura Brophy, a psychologist and counsellor with RIAN, a free counselling service under the remit of the HSE.

Giving evidence earlier this month, Brophy said she could not explain how details of ‘digital penetration’ made in an unrelated case involving a Ms Y were included in the report on Ms D.

She only discovered her mistake months later when Ms D left her a phone message on 14 May 2014. She said Ms D was emotional and upset, and told her there was a report in Bailieborough Garda station to the effect that she had been raped.

Charleton has noted that the allegation “literally came out of the blue” when it was put to McCabe almost a decade after it was first made.

The tribunal is tasked with establishing if the erroneous allegations made in the Tusla file were used by gardaí to smear the Sergeant’s name and character.

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With reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll

Read: Sign up to get daily emails about what happens at the Whistleblower Tribunal

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