At­tacks on McCabe smack of com­plete, pre­med­i­tated evil

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - COMMENT -

GERALD Kean is not the only celebrity asked to sign au­to­graphs ever to grace Dublin Cas­tle. But he was the first lawyer to ap­pear at the Charleton Tri­bunal who is bet­ter known to the public for his colour­ful pri­vate life than his pro­fes­sional call­ing.

Kean told the Dis­clo­sures Tri­bunal this week that former com­mis­sioner Martin Cal­li­nan told him that Garda whistle­blower Sgt Mau­rice McCabe ‘had not co-op­er­ated in any shape or form’ with an in­ter­nal Garda in­quiry into his com­plaints.

His tes­ti­mony about con­ver­sa­tions with the former Garda com­mis­sioner and li­belled whistle­blower Sgt McCabe fas­ci­nated the public gallery when it damned Cal­li­nan.

He had only met the former com­mis­sioner once, at a char­ity event in Cork, but they had spo­ken for 57 min­utes and 49 sec­onds in a se­ries of phone calls – ‘a very long time’, as the tri­bunal chair­man noted.

It was af­ter talk­ing to the then­com­mis­sioner that Kean told Mar­ian Fin­u­cane on her RTÉ ra­dio show that McCabe was not co­op­er­at­ing with an in­ter­nal Garda in­quiry and had breached the Data Pro­tec­tion Act.

NEI­THER claim was true but that’s what the former Garda com­mis­sioner had told him to say and, said Kean, Cal­li­nan was some­one he be­lieved at the time was ‘beyond re­proach’. The tri­bunal was told that Cal­li­nan asked Kean not to say he had spo­ken to him be­fore the ra­dio pro­gramme where he li­belled McCabe. And although the lit­i­ga­tion against Kean was dropped, RTÉ had to pay more than €180,000 to set­tle it.

Later, Kean sent the let­ter con­tain­ing McCabe’s com­plaints to Cal­li­nan but he had not dis­closed that let­ter to the tri­bunal; he has since apol­o­gised for this er­ror.

Kean’s part­ing line to the tri­bunal – ‘I be­lieve in hind­sight that he [Cal­li­nan] used me to pro­mote a po­si­tion that sup­ported his stance in the mat­ter and that in my opin­ion is in­cor­rect and I ended up in the fir­ing line’ – was the third set­back for the former Garda com­mis­sioner last week.

The former chair­man of the Oireach­tas Public Ac­counts Com­mit­tee, Fianna Fáil’s John McGuin­ness TD, se­ri­ously chal­lenged Cal­li­nan’s cred­i­bil­ity.

He told the tri­bunal that the former Garda com­mis­sioner had told him that McCabe ‘fid­dles with kids’. McGuin­ness said Cal­li­nan told him that McCabe had sex­u­ally abused his fam­ily, was not to be trusted; that there was a file and that ac­tion would be taken against McCabe.

All of the al­le­ga­tions (which Cal­li­nan de­nies mak­ing) were demon­stra­bly un­true. The next day Fine Gael TD John Deasy, pic­tured, who was also a mem­ber of the PAC, told the tri­bunal that the former Garda com­mis­sioner made deroga­tory re­marks about McCabe be­fore his ap­pear­ance at the PAC. ‘The only per­son I re­mem­ber be­ing in prox­im­ity [at that time Mr Cal­li­nan made the re­marks] would be the former Garda com­mis­sioner, Nóirín O’Sul­li­van,’ said Mr Deasy. Both former Garda com­mis­sion­ers ve­he­mently deny any in­volve­ment in a smear cam­paign to den­i­grate McCabe. But the num­ber of wit­nesses ac­cus­ing Cal­li­nan of smear­ing McCabe is grow­ing, and Judge Peter Charleton will soon have to make find­ings about who is telling the truth.

Many peo­ple in and around Ir­ish public life had heard the ru­mours about McCabe com­mit­ting crimes that many be­lieve are fouler than mur­der.

A great wrong has been done to an in­no­cent man if peo­ple who cir­cu­lated those scur­rilous ru­mours link­ing McCabe to child abuse be­lieved them to be true.

But if cyn­ics cir­cu­lated those vile ru­mours know­ing them to be lies, it el­e­vates the crime per­pe­trated against McCabe to a dif­fer­ent plane – pure, pre­med­i­tated evil. AN­OTHER prom­i­nent Ara­bist, movie star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ John­son, spoke last week about his up­com­ing visit to Saudi Ara­bia: ‘I’ll be sure to bring my finest tequila to share with his Royal High­ness and fam­ily,’ he said, with­out irony. MANY things make me proud to make Dublin my home – but noth­ing em­bar­rasses me more than the cur­rent lord mayor of the city.

I was re­pulsed by Mícheál Mac Don­n­cha ma­noeu­vring against Bob Geldof, a na­tive-born cham­pion of the poor in the Third World, over his hav­ing the free­dom of the city.

And I was re­pelled this week at his self-im­por­tance in the West Bank city of Ra­mal­lah, at­tend­ing a con­fer­ence on the sta­tus of the city of Jerusalem as lord mayor of Dublin.

Not many cit­i­zens of Dublin are aware that their city coun­cil does not have the au­thor­ity to re­di­rect traf­fic – nor do they know it has a for­eign pol­icy.

On April 9, Sinn Féin coun­cil­lor Mac Don­n­cha led a vote of the city coun­cil call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to ex­pel Israel’s am­bas­sador to Ire­land and last week he passed through Israel on his way to Ra­mal­lah.

If the cur­rent lord mayor ever had the au­thor­ity of the city’s un­elected chief ex­ec­u­tive Owen Kee­gan, I re­ally would have think about re­lo­cat­ing.

I WENT to Belfast last Tues­day for the 20th an­niver­sary of the Good Fri­day Agree­ment and found my­self study­ing the cen­tral fig­ures and how they had aged – some bet­ter than oth­ers. But the fate of para­mil­i­tary lead­ers was more in­trigu­ing. I wrote...

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