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Sinn Féin table motion to amend Charleton Terms of Reference – Ó Laoghaire

29 November, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD today published a Sinn Féin PMB which seeks to amend the terms of reference for the Charleton Tribunal given the revelations which have emerged in the past days.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said that, given the Government and the Taoiseach’s commitment to transparency on this issue over the last few days, as well as a similar commitment from Fianna Fáil, they will support this logical step.

Upon publishing the motion, the Cork South-Central said:

“The last few days have been quite turbulent for the Department of Justice, Ministers and former Ministers of that Department. Serious questions have been raised in relation to the culture of the Department, how the documents at the heart of this controversy were not found earlier and sent to the Charleton Tribunal.

“Yesterday evening, we attempted to bring forward a motion which outlined very specific changes, a motion which was ruled out of order due to time constraints, unfairly in our view, and could have been easily discussed due to the prominence of the issue in the last week. 

“Our motion today is very simple; we are calling on the Government to amend the current terms to explicitly include the Minister for Justice and Department officials.

 “The Government has previously stated that all those mentioned are already included under the ‘state entity’ clause. However, specific reference would ensure that there is specific focus on the Department, and its knowledge and approach, which is a source of specific discussion and concern currently, and it would very much be a statement of intent going forward on the part of Minister Flanagan and the Taoiseach.

“It also, crucially, includes a new term of reference which relates to the possibility of a cover up, suppression, or a deliberate failure to disclose central documents by the Department.

“This is an issue which was not truly anticipated at the time of the drafting of the terms of reference, but is central to the current controversy, because the explanations of the Minister for the late discovery of these documents are simply not credible. The Tribunal needs to get to the bottom of this and establish the truth as to what went on in the Department.

“Given the Government and the Taoiseach’s commitment to transparency on this issue over the last few days, as well as a similar commitment from Fianna Fáil, I hope they will support this logical step.” 

Note: Please see the Sinn Féin PMB and proposed amendments below. 

Sinn Féin PMB Motion:

That Dáil Éireann believes that a revision of the Terms of Reference of the Disclosures Tribunal is required and should take place to take account of the recent revelations regarding the Department of Justice, Ministers of Justice past and present, Attorney General's office, An Garda Síochána.

Sinn Féin proposed amendments to Terms of Reference

[a] To investigate the allegation made in a Protected Disclosure under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014, on the 30th of September, 2016, by Superintendent David Taylor, wherein he alleges that he was instructed or directed by former Commissioner Martin Callinan and/or Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, to contact the media to brief them negatively against Sergeant Maurice McCabe and in particular to brief the media that Sergeant McCabe was motivated by malice and revenge, that he was to encourage the media to write negatively about Sergeant McCabe, to the effect that his complaints had no substance, that the Gardaí had fully investigated his complaints and found no substance to his allegations and that he was driven by agendas.

[b] To investigate the allegation of Superintendent Taylor in his Protected Disclosure, that he was directed to draw journalists’ attention to an allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sergeant McCabe and that this was the root cause of his agenda, namely revenge against the Gardaí.

[c] To investigate what knowledge former Commissioner Callinan and/or Commissioner O’Sullivan and/or other senior members of the Garda Síochána and /or officials, advisors or Ministers in the Department of Justice and Equality had concerning this allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sergeant McCabe and whether they acted upon same in a manner intended to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

[d] To investigate the creation, distribution and use by TUSLA of a file containing false allegations of sexual abuse against Sergeant Maurice McCabe that was allegedly sent to Gardaí in 2013, and whether these false allegations and/or the file were knowingly used by senior members of An Garda Síochána to discredit Sergeant McCabe.

[e] To investigate whether the false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by Commissioner O’Sullivan to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the Commission of Investigation into Certain Matters in the Cavan/Monaghan district under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice Kevin O’Higgins.

[f] To investigate whether senior members of An Garda Síochána attempted to entrap or falsely accuse Sergeant McCabe of criminal misconduct.

[g] To investigate such knowledge which former Commissioner Callinan and Commissioner O’Sullivan and Ministers of Justice, past and present had concerning the matters set out in [a], [b], [c], [d], [e] and [f] above.

[h] To investigate contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and:

- Media and broadcasting personnel,

- members of the Government,

- TUSLA,

- Health Service Executive,

- Department of Justice and Equality, including individual officials,

- any other State entities,

- or any relevant person as the Sole Member may deem necessary to

carry out his work

relevant to the matters set out in [a], [b], [c], [d], [e] and [f] above.

[i] To examine all records relating to the telecommunications interactions used by Superintendent Taylor, former Commissioner Callinan and Commissioner O’Sullivan, in the period from the 1st of July, 2012, to the 31st of May, 2014, to ascertain whether there are any records of text messages or other telecommunication interactions relating to the matters set out at [a], [b], [c], [d], [e] and [f] above and to examine and consider the content of any such text messages or other telecommunication interactions.

[j] To examine all electronic and paper files, relating to Sergeant Maurice McCabe held by An Garda Síochána and to consider any material therein relevant to [a], [b], [c], [d], [e] and [f]above.

[k] To investigate whether Commissioner O’Sullivan, using briefing material prepared in Garda Headquarters, influenced or attempted to influence broadcasts on RTÉ on the 9th of May, 2016, purporting to be a leaked account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission Report, in which Sergeant McCabe was branded a liar and irresponsible.

[l] To investigate whether a meeting took place between former Commissioner Callinan and Deputy John McGuinness on the 24th of January, 2014 in the carpark of Bewley’s Hotel, Newlands Cross, Co. Dublin and to examine and consider the circumstances which led to any such meeting, the purpose of such meeting and matters discussed at such meeting.

[m] To investigate such knowledge which Commissioner O’Sullivan had of the meeting referred to in [l] above.

[n] To investigate contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and TUSLA in relation to Garda Keith Harrison.

[o] To investigate any pattern of the creation, distribution and use by TUSLA of files containing allegations of criminal misconduct against members of An Garda Síochána who had made allegations of wrongdoing within An Garda Síochána and of the use knowingly by senior members of the Garda Síochána of these files to discredit members who had made such allegations.

[p] To consider any other complaints by a member of the Garda Síochána who has made a protected disclosure prior to 16th February, 2017 alleging wrong-doing within the Garda Síochána where, following the making of the Protected Disclosure, the Garda making the said Protected Disclosure was targeted or discredited with the knowledge or acquiescence of senior members of the Garda Síochána.

[q] To investigate whether or not there was a cover-up and/or a suppression of documents or other information which should have been provided to the Disclosure Tribunal or other inappropriate collaboration by;

- the Department of Justice and Equality, including officials, advisors and Ministers past or present

-the Office of the Attorney General

- An Garda Síochána

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