The Disclosures Tribunal has confirmed that its next public hearings will take place in early January, when it will examine the legal strategy employed by former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan at the O'Higgins Commission.

In an update today, the inquiry, chaired by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, says it has access to the complete and unredacted transcripts from the commission and the advices of counsel as to their approach.

It will investigate whether the false sexual abuse allegation or any other grounds was used by Ms O'Sullivan to discredit Sgt McCabe.

This part of the inquiry will be followed by an examination of the allegations made by former garda press officer Dave Taylor, of a senior garda smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

Sittings will return on Monday 8 January. 

The tribunal says a central part of the inquiry is attitudes to Sgt McCabe and whether that translated into malicious behaviour or inappropriate action.

The inquiry also says it has prepared a draft report on its hearings into allegations made by garda whistleblower Keith Harrison and this report will be delivered next week.

The tribunal is also carrying out a scoping exercise on any other garda whistleblowers who feel they may have been targeted.

It is calling for any gardaí who have not provided a statement on this to do so by 18 December.

It is understood that the prioritising of the tribunal's examination of the then garda commissioner's legal strategy at the O'Higgins Commission has come as a surprise to some of those at the inquiry as it had been expected that it would deal with the Dave Taylor allegations next. The tribunal has declined to comment on this.