Cal­li­nan is now fac­ing costly le­gal fall-out of tri­bunal

State may no longer in­dem­nify for­mer Garda Com­mis­sioner

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Maeve Shee­han

FOR­MER Garda Com­mis­sioner Martin Cal­li­nan could bear the cost of civil ac­tions aris­ing from the damn­ing find­ings of the Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal.

As a for­mer com­mis­sioner, the State has cov­ered Mr Cal­li­nan’s le­gal costs at the Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal. But in­formed sources said the State may no longer in­dem­nify him against fu­ture ac­tions, given the tri­bunal’s dam­ag­ing find­ing that he smeared whistle­blower Sergeant Mau­rice Mc­Cabe.

The move is ex­pected to be con­sid­ered by the State’s le­gal of­fices on the ba­sis that the tri­bunal’s find­ings sug­gested Mr Cal­li­nan’s ac­tions were not in keep­ing with the role of a garda com­mis­sioner.

Mr Cal­li­nan is al­ready be­ing sued by Mr Mc­Cabe, as part of a le­gal ac­tion he launched last year against An Garda Siochana and the State and it re­mains to be seen whether fur­ther ac­tion will fol­low. Le­gal costs at the tri­bunal will be de­cided at a fu­ture date: it has spent €2.3m with €1.48m of that on le­gal fees.

The Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal con­cluded that Mr Cal­li­nan had con­ducted a “cam­paign of calumny” against Mr Mc­Cabe, with his for­mer press of­fi­cer, serv­ing su­per­in­ten­dent David Tay­lor.

De­spite his de­nials, Mr Cal­li­nan was found by the tri­bunal to have smeared Sgt Mc­Cabe to four peo­ple; the TDs John McGuin­ness and John Deasy, Sea­mus Mc­Carthy, the Comptroller and Au­di­tor Gen­eral, and the RTE broad­caster, Philip Boucher-Hayes.

The fu­ture of Su­per­in­ten­dent Tay­lor, who was harshly crit­i­cised by Mr Jus­tice Peter Charleton for his “de­ceit” and “lies” to the tri­bunal, is be­ing con­sid­ered by Garda man­age­ment. Su­per­in­ten­dent Tay­lor, who works in Garda traf­fic corps, was pre­vi­ously in­ves­ti­gated but never pros­e­cuted for leak­ing sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia. He re­turned to work af­ter dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against him were dropped.

The Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal was par­tic­u­larly scathing of Su­per­in­ten­dent Tay­lor, find­ing that he “dressed up” lies in a le­gal syrup that cloy­ingly gar­nered pub­lic sym­pa­thy, by ma­nip­u­lat­ing the me­dia and man­ag­ing to hold on to his ca­reer through “de­ceit”.

Sgt Mc­Cabe was “de­lighted” with the re­port’s find­ings, but de­clined to com­ment fur­ther this week­end.

It is un­der­stood that he was con­tacted by both the Garda Com­mis­sioner, Drew Har­ris, and the child and fam­ily agency, Tusla, hours af­ter Mr Jus­tice Charleton’s re­port was pub­lished last Thurs­day.

Garda Com­mis­sioner Drew Har­ris con­tacted Sgt Mc­Cabe to of­fer his sup­port, the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent has learned.

A state­ment on the com­mis­sioner’s be­half con­firmed he spoke with Sgt Mc­Cabe but said he “wishes to re­spect the pri­vacy of Sgt Mc­Cabe so we will not be com­ment­ing on the con­tent of the con­ver­sa­tion”.

Tusla has of­fered to meet the Mc­Cabe fam­ily to apol­o­gise fur­ther for mis­tak­enly at­tribut­ing a false rape al­le­ga­tion to him, and for pur­su­ing the al­le­ga­tion even though the agency had been no­ti­fied that it was in­cor­rect. The agency was sav­aged by Mr Jus­tice Charleton for its “star­tling in­ef­fi­ciency and in­do­lence” and its “con­sid­er­able fail­ings and stu­pidi­ties” and sug­gested that the tri­bunal could have been avoided were it not for those fail­ings.

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