Callinan is now facing costly legal fall-out of tribunal
State may no longer indemnify former Garda Commissioner
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.