Cal­li­nan al­leges Tay­lor said he was go­ing to ‘bring O’Sullivan down’

Ex-press of­fi­cer de­nies mak­ing up claims to un­der­mine com­mis­sioner

Irish Independent - - News / Disclosures Tribunal - Shane Phe­lan Le­gal Af­fairs Ed­i­tor

SU­PER­IN­TEN­DENT Dave Tay­lor planned to “bring down” for­mer Garda Com­mis­sioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, her pre­de­ces­sor Martin Cal­li­nan has al­leged.

The Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal has heard Mr Cal­li­nan claim the con­ver­sa­tion took place at his home in 2015, some time af­ter Supt Tay­lor was ar­rested dur­ing an in­quiry into the al­leged unau­tho­rised dis­clo­sure of in­for­ma­tion to jour­nal­ists.

Mr Cal­li­nan is sched­uled to give ev­i­dence to­day.

Garda coun­sel Micheál P O’Hig­gins SC, said Mr Cal­li­nan had made a state­ment say­ing Supt Tay­lor told him “he would bring her down be­cause of what she had done”.

Supt Tay­lor de­nied the al­le­ga­tion. He also re­jected a claim by Mr O’Hig­gins that at the time he had “lost his bal­ance” and was mak­ing “wild al­le­ga­tions” about Ms O’Sullivan.

The tri­bunal has pre­vi­ously heard how Supt Tay­lor was said to have been “gut­ted” af­ter Ms O’Sullivan trans­ferred him from the garda press of­fice to the traf­fic bureau in June 2014. The fol­low­ing year he was ar­rested and sus­pended af­ter be­ing placed un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for the al­leged leak­ing of unau­tho­rised in­for­ma­tion.

No charges re­sulted from the in­quiry, but Supt Tay­lor ac­cepted yes­ter­day he had been pass­ing in­for­ma­tion to jour­nal­ists.

While that in­quiry was on­go­ing, Supt Tay­lor crit­i­cised his treat­ment by in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers, but un­der ques­tion­ing yes­ter­day he ac­cepted Chief Supt Frank Clerkin, who led the in­quiry, had done a pro­fes­sional job.

In Septem­ber 2016, while still un­der sus­pen­sion, he made a pro­tected dis­clo­sure al­leg­ing Mr Cal­li­nan or­dered him to neg­a­tively brief jour­nal­ists about penalty points whistle­blower Mau­rice McCabe and that Ms O’Sullivan had knowl­edge of the smear campaign. The ac­cu­sa­tions are de­nied by Mr Cal­li­nan and Ms O’Sullivan.

Mr O’Hig­gins put it to Supt Tay­lor that the pro­tected dis­clo­sure was part of a plan to shield him­self from crim­i­nal and dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings.

The bar­ris­ter al­leged Supt Tay­lor de­cided to por­tray him­self as a vic­tim and to align him­self with Sgt McCabe.

He said Supt Tay­lor “had at­tempted to sell to Sgt McCabe what were a load of lies” and then “hawked around” those lies to jour­nal­ists and politi­cians. The pur­pose of this, he al­leged, was to un­der­mine Ms O’Sullivan and as part of that he had to at­tach Mr Cal­li­nan.

But Supt Tay­lor did not ac­cept that his pro­tected dis­clo­sure was “not the truth”.

Tri­bunal chair­man Mr Jus­tice Peter Charleton said Supt Tay­lor “had a prob­lem” with Ms O’Sullivan and asked what the prob­lem was.

Supt Tay­lor said he felt he was re­moved from the press of­fice when he had been do­ing a good job. He de­nied be­ing bit­ter about it but said it was a pub­lic move from a high-pro­file po­si­tion to a less high-pro­file one.

Re­fer­ring to sus­pi­cions that Supt Tay­lor had passed garda crit­i­cal in­ci­dent re­ports about var­i­ous mat­ters, in­clud­ing rapes, to jour­nal­ists, the judge said Supt Tay­lor had been “break­ing the garda code left right and cen­tre ev­ery sin­gle day al­most for a pe­riod of over a year”.

Supt Tay­lor replied: “It is of ex­treme re­gret to me and, as I said, I have to live with that now af­ter this tri­bunal is over.”

Ear­lier, Supt Tay­lor said Mr Cal­li­nan was “ex­tremely an­noyed and ex­tremely an­gry” af­ter a jour­nal­ist called to his home in 2013 be­fore pub­lish­ing an ar­ti­cle in the Ir­ish In­de­pend

ent say­ing the com­mis­sioner had penalty points quashed.

Ques­tioned by John Berry BL, for Gemma O’Do­herty, Supt Tay­lor said Mr Cal­li­nan asked him to con­tact man­age­ment at In­de­pen­dent News & Me­dia (INM) to ex­press his an­noy­ance and to con­vey that jour­nal­ists should make queries via the garda press of­fice. Supt Tay­lor said he and then As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner John Twomey met with then INM man­ag­ing ed­i­tor Michael De­ni­effe.

He said the meet­ing was held in Mr Twomey’s of­fice at Har­court Square rather than at garda head­quar­ters as Mr Cal­li­nan was “a pro­tected per­son” and Mr Twomey was in charge of per­sonal pro­tec­tion and the se­cu­rity of Mr Cal­li­nan’s home.

Photo: Damien Eagers

Supt Dave Tay­lor, then Garda Com­mis­sioner Martin Cal­li­nan and then deputy com­mis­sioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at­tend a meet­ing of the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee in 2013.

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