Former Garda Press officer Superintendant Dave Taylor has rejected suggestions that he attempted to sell lies to whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe as part of a plan to exact revenge and shield himself from criminal and disciplinary proceedings he was facing.
Supt Taylor was giving evidence for a fourth day to the Disclosures Tribunal, which is examining an allegation he made in a protected disclosure in September 2016 about a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.
Mícheál O'Higgins, Counsel for former Garda commissioners Martin Callinan and Nóirín O'Sullivan, put it to Supt Taylor that in 2016 he had a strong sense of grievance as a result of a criminal and disciplinary investigation into him.
Mr O'Higgins suggested the superintendent had become fixated on Ms O'Sullivan and came up with a plan to exact revenge for what he felt had been done to him, and that this plan including painting himself as a victim and seeking to align himself with Sgt McCabe.
Mr O'Higgins suggested Supt Taylor was attempting to sell Sgt McCabe "a load of lies" by telling him about the alleged smear campaign, and that the Supt hawked around those lies to politicians and journalists in autumn 2016.
He put it to Supt Taylor that the purpose of this process was to undermine Ms O'Sullivan and as part of that he had felt he had to attack Mr Callinan as well.
Commenting on differences between Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe's accounts of how Supt Taylor told Sgt McCabe the smear campaign had been carried out, Mr O'Higgins suggested that Supt Taylor appeared to have watered down his account for fear of being caught out.
Supt Taylor said he could only place his knowledge before the tribunal and leave if for the Chair to make a decision.
Mr O'Higgins said the tribunal was about the allegation Supt Taylor had made in his protected disclosure and that this was not the truth.
Supt Taylor said he did not accept that.
Taylor tells tribunal Callinan instructed him to release letter to journalist
Under questioning by his own lawyer, Supt Taylor said he initially did not want to meet Sgt McCabe and could not confront what he had done.
Supt Taylor said he eventually agreed to meet the sergeant and tell him what had gone on, and because of his evolution, he had to confess.
Asked by Tara Burns SC whether he was lying to Sgt McCabe, he said he was not.
He also said that on the day of the commissioner's retirement, Martin Callinan asked him to release a letter to RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds that the commissioner had written to the Department of Justice about phone tapping at Garda stations.
Mr Callinan's lawyers told the tribunal that Supt Taylor had asked him for the letter.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton said he would not be making a decision on that issue and he saw it as far removed.
Counsel for Conor Lally of the Irish Times said his client's position was that he was constrained by privilege but he can confirm no Garda ever gave him a negative briefing about Sgt McCabe.
Supt Taylor said he did speak to Mr Lally on the instructions of Mr Callinan.
The Superintendent was also questioned by lawyers for journalist Gemma O'Doherty.
Supt Taylor said that after Ms O'Doherty called to Mr Callinan's home in relation to a story about the commissioner having penalty points quashed, that the commissioner rang him.
He said Mr Callinan was extremely annoyed and extremely angry that she had called without notice and had spoken to his wife.
He said the commissioner asked him to make contact with the management of Independent News and Media to express annoyance at what he saw as a breach of ethics.
He said he rang INM's then managing editor, Michael Denieffe, and arranged a meeting in Harcourt Square in Assistant Commissioner John Twomey's office.
Asked if this was the only meeting he had arranged, he said it was.
Ms O'Doherty has told the tribunal in a statement that the reason she called to Mr Callinan's house was to make sure that the Martin Callinan who lived there was the Garda Commissioner.
Taylor 'regrets' breaching rules in relation to release of information
Supt Taylor told the tribunal it was regrettable that he had breached rules in relation to the release of information, and that he fully accepted the garda investigation that was carried out into him.
Supt Taylor said Chief Supt Francis Clerkin, who led the investigation into the matter, had done a professional job.
Supt Taylor was arrested and suspended from duty in 2015 as part of the investigation.
The Director of Public Prosecutions ultimately directed no prosecution in the case.
Supt Taylor told the tribunal that he accepted that he had circulated information to journalists at a time when he was not entitled to do so.
However, he said he did not pass on information in relation to an incident in 2013 involving a child from a Roma family who was taken into care.
Tribunal Chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton put it to Supt Taylor that he had been breaking the garda code left right and centre every day for over a year.
Supt Taylor said it was regrettable to him that he had let down his standards and he had to live with that.
Judge Charleton asked Supt Taylor what his problem had been with former commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
Supt Taylor said he was removed from the Garda Press Office, a job he felt he was doing well, which he said was a public move from a high profile position to a position of less profile.
He said that within the garda family it was seen as a sideways move.
Judge Charleton put it to Supt Taylor that the premise a number of people had understood was that he was moved out of the Garda Press Office and he was under investigation because there allegedly had been text messages which needed to be destroyed, and this could be done when his phones were seized and brought to garda headquarters.
Judge Charleton asked Supt Taylor if there were any texts worth destroying in a sense of implicating Martin Callinan or Nóirín O'Sullivan in any kind of plot against Sgt McCabe.
Supt Taylor said no.
Additional Reporting Sandra Hurley