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RTÉ faces claims that Garda chief Nóirín O'Sullivan orchestrated Maurice McCabe 'liar' report

By Philip Ryan

Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ faces claims that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan orchestrated a broadcast in which Sgt Maurice McCabe was branded a liar, and irresponsible.

The relationship between RTÉ and Garda management will be put under the spotlight as part of the latest investigation into allegations of misconduct in the force.

Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton has been asked by the Government to investigate a claim that Ms O'Sullivan was involved in the broadcast which aired on RTÉ on May 9, 2016.

 

The news item related to a previous Commission of Investigation, chaired by Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins, which examined serious claims of garda malpractice by Sgt McCabe.

Mr Justice Charleton has been asked to establish whether Ms O'Sullivan orchestrated the news broadcast - which purported to be a leaked account of the unpublished O'Higgins Report.

 

It is understood the allegations relate to a news item which aired on RTÉ Radio One's flagship programme 'Morning Ireland'.

RTÉ last night said it would not be commenting on the terms of reference for Mr Justice Charleton's Commission of Investigations.

 

Senior garda sources also questioned why Ms O'Sullivan is the focus of this part of the inquiry rather than former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, since the RTÉ report focused on him.

Letter

 

The 'Sunday Independent' previously revealed how Sergeant McCabe's solicitors issued a legal letter to RTÉ within hours of the broadcast.

The 'Morning Ireland' show focused on allegations of corruption made against Mr Callinan by Sgt McCabe.

 

Mr Justice O'Higgins found there was no evidence to suggest Mr Callinan acted corruptly.

Read More: High drama in Dáil as Labour leader lays out staggering claims against Garda chief

 

Sgt McCabe's legal team wrote to the State broadcaster insisting the news report was unfair and unbalanced.

Central to their concerns was the fact that the O'Higgins Report had not been published at the time.

 

The news broadcast also provided extensive details of other aspects of the 360-page report which examined allegations of failures by gardaí to properly investigate serious crimes.

The O'Higgins Commission raised concerns about investigations into assaults, dangerous driving and child abuse.

 

The most shocking failings were found in the garda investigation into the murder of Sylvia Roche Kelly by Jerry McGrath while he was on bail for serious crimes in 2007.

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