Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams has told the Disclosures Tribunal that he was never briefed by senior gardaí about rumours about Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mr Williams said he had heard vague rumours that the reason Sgt McCabe had highlighted issues of garda malpractice was due to a grievance held by the sergeant in relation to an earlier investigation, and that there was a lot of bad blood in Bailieborough.

Sgt McCabe had been investigated in 2007 in relation to an allegation of child sexual abuse but the Director of Public Prosecutions had dismissed the allegation.

Mr Williams said he could not recall where the rumours came from, they were just there. 

He said he was never briefed on this by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, her predecessor Martin Callinan, or former garda press officer Superintendent Dave Taylor.

He said he was not too close to garda headquarters and anyone would know that.

Mr Williams denied that he had access to the garda investigation file. He said that was completely and absolutely without truth and completely baseless. 

In March 2014, Mr Williams interviewed the woman who made the allegation - Ms D -  and the following month, he wrote two articles which did not identify Ms D or Sgt McCabe after checking some of the details with Supt Taylor.

Mr Williams said that Supt Taylor left him "with a different impression" of the nature of the DPP's directions in relation to a sexual assault allegation made against Sgt McCabe. 

He said Supt Taylor did not tell him that the DPP's reason for not preferring charges was because what was described did not constitute a sexual assault. 

Under questioning from SC Michael McDowell, Mr Williams said he was not told the terms of the DPP's direction. 

Asked if he felt he was misled, Mr Williams said he was just told the DPP was not preferring charges. 

He said he may have been told there was "insufficient evidence". 

Mr Williams also said he did not know whether Supt Taylor was on a solo run in answering his questions about the 2007 investigation into Sgt McCabe, or whether he was acting on instructions.

Lawyers for Supt Taylor said that Supt Taylor's recollection was that he spoke to Mr Williams on the day when Mr Williams interviewed Ms D. 

However, Supt Taylor would say that after Mr Callinan's retirement on 25 March 2014 he had a lesser role in the press office, and he did not speak to Mr Williams about the Ms D articles.

Mr Williams said that Supt Taylor made a "throwaway comment" to him that rumours about Sgt McCabe were "known in the park". 

He said this was a reference to the Phoenix Park headquarters of An Garda Síochána.

Williams denies orchestrating meetings

Mr Williams confirmed he arranged for Ms D to meet Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin on 30 April 2014 and to meet then Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter in June.

Mr Williams met Ms D on both days, although he said they did not discuss what she would say to the politicians.

In the case of her meeting with Mr Martin, Mr Williams drove her to and from the meeting.

Mr Williams denied he orchestrated the meetings. He said Ms D just wanted to be heard. 

Mr McDowell asked about an article published on 15 April 2014 with the headline, 'Alleged Garda sex victim wants to meet Martin' and he asked if Mr Williams was increasing the pressure on Mr Martin and if he thought that was normal journalistic activity. 

Mr Williams said he was just reporting what was going on. 

Mr McDowell said Mr Williams was deceiving the reader by orchestrating events. 

Mr Williams replied that he just arranged the meeting, he had done it before and he said he would do it again.

He also confirmed he had not checked any of the details with Sgt McCabe before publishing.  He said the articles did not identify Sgt McCabe so he felt no need.

Mr McDowell suggested that perhaps he could write "any old thing" if the person was not identified and he said several people would have known who the articles were about, including Maurice and Lorraine McCabe, the D family, Supt Taylor, members of government, Superintendent McGinn and Detective Superintendent O'Reilly.

Mr McDowell said Mr Williams intended to go as close as he could to identifying Sgt McCabe.  Mr Williams denied this.

Mr McDowell also put it to Mr Williams that he engaged in "utterly speculative unfounded journalism" by writing another article on 3 May 2014 saying the then taoiseach, Enda Kenny, was expected to order an investigation into Ms D's claims.

Mr Williams said that he understood that Ms D's case would be included as a result of what she was told by Mr Martin.

Senior garda says he did not suggest Williams to 'D' family

A detective superintendent has told the tribunal that he did not suggest Mr Williams to Ms D’s family.

Detective Superintendent John O'Reilly said his recollection was that it was the woman's father who referred to Mr Williams by name as someone he and his wife had spoken about.

The woman's father has told the tribunal that Det Supt O'Reilly suggested Mr Williams to him.

Det Supt O'Reilly said he just passed on Mr Williams' number and facilitated a contact.

He said he had no reason to suggest Mr Williams in any shape or form.

He was also asked about comments contained in the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission investigators’ notes of an interview with Ms D.

Ms D told the investigators that Det Supt O'Reilly had told her father that Sgt McCabe would go to the local secondary school and watch "the young ones" coming out of school.

Det Supt O'Reilly said he never said that and he had never heard it said.