Latest: Frances Fitzgerald tells tribunal she had no recollection of email on Garda's McCabe strategy

Update 4pm: The former Tánaiste has given a statement to the Disclosures Tribunal saying she had no recollection of an email sent to her while Justice Minister, outlining a strategy to discredit Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

Frances Fitzgerald is due to be questioned by the Tribunal in the coming weeks, as it investigates whether the Garda Commissioner relied on a false allegation of abuse against Sergeant McCabe to discredit him at the O’Higgins Commission.

The Tribunal today heard tapes from the Commission in 2015 in which Counsel for Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said he’d been instructed to question the motivation and credibility of Sergeant McCabe. 

The Tribunal has adjourned until Friday due to the large volume of evidence presented to it in recent weeks.

Update 12pm:  The Disclosures Tribunal will only hear from one witness today, after which it will be adjourned due to the volume of information received in recent weeks.

The witness is Cyril Dunne, the former head of garda administration.

Cyril Dunne, Former Head of Garda Administration, pictured arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal. Pic: Paddy Cummins/PCPhoto.ie

Previously the Tribunal was scheduled to hear from four people today.

In addition to Mr Dunne, An Garda Siochana's head of legal affairs Ken Ruane, Superintendent Fergus Healy and Anne Marie Ryan, who was a solicitor with the Chief State Solicitor’s office during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation were set to appear.

The Disclosures Tribunal has been hearing a recording of the O’Higgins Inquiry in which counsel for the Garda Commissioner said he’d been instructed to question the motive and credibility and behaviour of Maurice McCabe.

The O’Higgins Commission was established to examine issues around policing in the Cavan-Monaghan district.

In the tapes, counsel for Sergeant McCabe is heard saying it’s astonishing that the then Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan would question the whistleblower’s motive and credibility.

Counsel for the Commissioner, Colm Smyth said he’d been instructed to question Sgt McCabe’s motivation right the way through.

Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine arriving at the public hearing at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle today. Pic: RollingNews.ie

Update 11am: The Disclosures Tribunal has heard it may be appropriate to look at contacts between the former Garda Commissioner and the Government during the current module.

The Tribunal is examining whether Nóirín O’Sullivan relied on inappropriate grounds to discredit Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Counsel for the Tribunal has said in its opening statement that communication on this matter in May and July of 2015 may be relevant.

The former Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald has previously said she did not recall receiving a letter in May 2015 regarding the then Garda Commissioner’s strategy to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Inquiry.

Update 7.20am: The Disclosures Tribunal resumes later this morning, with senior gardaí among those due to give evidence first.

Former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is expected to be called to give evidence tomorrow, while former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe are pencilled in for next week.

This module of the Tribunal is examining whether former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan relied upon false allegations of sexual abuse to smear Garda Whistleblower Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission of Inquiry.

An Garda Siochana's head of legal affairs Ken Ruane, former chief administrative officer Cyril Dunne and Superintendent Fergus Healy will be heard today.

Also appearing today will be Anne Marie Ryan, who was a solicitor with the Chief State Solicitor’s office during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation.

Nóirín O’Sullivan is pencilled in for tomorrow and Wednesday.

Former Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and officials from her Department will appear before the tribunal this week and next to be questioned about their knowledge of any smear campaign.

The question of whether Frances Fitzgerald knew of the then Garda Commissioner’s strategy to attack Sgt McCabe’s character caused her to resign last November.

Maurice McCabe is scheduled to appear before the Tribunal at the end of next week.

The Tribunal will also investigate contacts between the Gardai and journalists, Government members and other relevant persons.

The terms of reference of the tribunal can be read here.

 

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