The former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has told the Disclosures Tribunal that she did not trust Supt David Taylor and she did not feel comfortable in his company when she took the decision to move him out of the Garda Press Office in 2014.  

Ms O’Sullivan was giving evidence for a second time to the inquiry.

The tribunal is examining an allegation of a smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Ms O'Sullivan was being questioned by lawyers for Sgt McCabe about a text sent in October 2016, in which she made reference to having transferred the Supt at the first available opportunity in June 2014.

Ms O'Sullivan said that she had felt Supt Taylor's experience was more suited to the Traffic Unit at Dublin Castle.

When pressed by the Tribunal Chair Mr Justice Peter Charleton about her reasons for moving Supt Taylor, Ms O'Sullivan said the issue was that she did not trust Mr Taylor and that the position of press officer was somebody she would have to have a very close working relationship with. 

Ms O'Sullivan told the tribunal she was concerned about the lack of strategic communications and the manner in which the press office was being managed.

Asked if she suspected Supt Taylor of the improper leaking of information to the media, she said she did not know at that time.

Ms O'Sullivan was also asked about reference she made in the same text message to misogynistic comments about her.

She told the tribunal that not everybody would have been pleased with her appointment as garda commissioner and not everybody would have been comfortable having a woman in such a senior role.

The tribunal was also shown records of calls between Ms O'Sullivan and RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds on the afternoon of 24 February 2014.

A report was published and broadcast on that date that claimed that Sgt McCabe had failed to cooperate with an internal garda inquiry by Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony into penalty points.  

Ms O'Sullivan said she did not discuss that news story with Mr Reynolds, and that she had never spoken to him in relation to the direction issued by the garda commissioner to Sgt McCabe about the Pulse system and the issues pertaining to the O'Mahony investigation.

The former commissioner was also asked about a series of newspaper articles written by journalist Paul Williams in April 2014 about Ms D, who made an allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2006, which was dismissed by the DPP.

Counsel for Sgt McCabe, Michael McDowell, questioned Ms O'Sullivan about the Tusla file received in her office containing a false rape allegation against the Sgt McCabe.

Mr McDowell put it to Ms O'Sullivan that a number of separate strands were coming together in a strange way in 2014 in relation to Sgt McCabe.  

She said she had no memory of ever seeing the file that had come into her office.  

Ms O'Sullivan was also asked about the fact that she had six official garda phones given to her during two years, and that five of them had been lost.

She said as soon as her phone no longer worked, or the system no longer operated, it would be changed by the garda telecommunications unit.

No recollection of discussion about McCabe allegation

Earlier, Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal that she had no recollection of any discussion about an allegation against whistleblower Sgt McCabe during preparations for the Public Accounts Committee meeting in January 2014.

The tribunal was shown copies of notes relating to a number of meetings held in January 2014, which Ms O’Sullivan attended, to prepare for the appearance of then garda commissioner Martin Callinan before the PAC.

The tribunal heard that the notes contained refer to a 2006 allegation made by 'Ms D' against Sgt McCabe, which was later dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecution.

Counsel for the tribunal, Kathleen Leader, repeatedly questioned Ms O’Sullivan about the reference in the notes.

Ms O’Sullivan said she had no recollection of the 'Ms D' allegation being raised at the meetings.

She also said she had no knowledge of conversations that took place on the day of the PAC meeting between Mr Callinan and a number of people who allege Mr Callinan spoke negatively about Sgt McCabe to them.

Ms O’Sullivan told the tribunal that after Mr Callinan used the word "disgusting" during the PAC meeting in reference to the actions of whistleblowers, the sense in the room was "palpable".

She said she passed a note to Mr Callinan to suggest that he withdraw or clarify the remark.

Ms O’Sullivan said she was not aware of the meeting that took place in a hotel car park between Mr Callinan and then PAC Chair Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness on 24 January 2014, until Mr McGuinness talked about it in the Dáil at a later date.

Ms O’Sullivan was asked about a claim by journalist Alison O’Reilly, that another journalist, Debbie McCann of the Irish Mail on Sunday, had told her that Ms O’Sullivan informed Ms McCann about the 'Ms D' allegation against Sgt McCabe.

Ms O’Sullivan said she certainly did not give Ms McCann or anybody else information in relation to 'Ms D'.

Supt Taylor has told the tribunal that he texted Ms O’Sullivan and Mr Callinan to let them know that journalist Mr Williams was interviewing 'Ms D' in March 2014, and that Ms O’Sullivan subsequently rang him to discuss it.

Ms O’Sullivan rejected this and said Supt Taylor did not talk to her about anything to do with Mr Williams and 'Ms D' at any stage.

Ms O'Sullivan denied leaking the O'Higgins Commission report to RTÉ News or seeking to influence its coverage.

The tribunal is examining whether Ms O'Sullivan influenced or attempted to influence broadcasts on 9 May 2016 on the unpublished report.

Ms O'Sullivan said she received the final report on 21 April 2016. Asked if she handed it to Mr Reynolds, Ms O'Sullivan said: "No, never." She also said she never discussed it with him.

The former commissioner also said she never sought to influence RTÉ's coverage and she had no idea how anybody could come to that conclusion.

In his evidence, Sgt McCabe said he thought the broadcasts were "nasty" and he said that he was told by the Garda Executive head of HR, John Barrett, that they must have come from Ms O'Sullivan.

The inquiry heard that Mr Barrett disputes that evidence and says he did not make the remark.

Ms O'Sullivan again said that she could not recall receiving the Tusla notification of the false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe. 

However, she said she accepted the evidence of her private secretary that she noted the correspondence.

Ms Leader suggested to Ms O'Sullivan that her evidence that the false rape allegation was not discussed at any time in relation to Sgt McCabe was not credible.

Ms O'Sullivan said it took some time to discover it as it had been allocated to a different file on the sergeant.

Ms Leader said there was a theme emerging that Ms O'Sullivan never heard any mention either of the Ms D allegation at the pre-PAC meetings and it just seemed to be wiped.

Ms O'Sullivan said she could only give her account and she was not present for any discussions on the Ms D allegation.

Not aware of any smear campaign

Ms O'Sullivan said she was never privy to, or aware of any smear campaign as alleged by Supt Taylor.

However, she said she was confused as to what exactly the superintendent was alleging against her.

Michael O'Higgins, counsel for Supt Taylor, said it was the superintendent's "belief and no more" that Ms O'Sullivan was aware because she was deputy commissioner.

Mr Charleton said he did not think that was correct and he rose for 15 minutes so the lawyers could check their instructions.

On return, Mr O'Higgins said the superintendent confirmed that he was alleging that Ms O'Sullivan was aware of the campaign in her role as deputy commissioner, as everything would funnel through her office.

Ms O'Sullivan said that was not correct.

Mr O'Higgins also said the superintendent alleges he updated her on the negative briefings. Ms O'Sullivan said that was completely untrue.

Mr Justice Charleton said it was perfectly clear from Supt Taylor's evidence that he had a problem with Ms O'Sullivan.

Mr O'Higgins said his client accepted the criminal investigation into him and he was not making the case that Ms O'Sullivan was put on the team on purpose.

Mr Charleton asked whether Supt Taylor was withdrawing all the allegations he had made under oath in the High Court and through public representatives challenging the criminal investigation.

Mr O'Higgins said he could not comment on that.

The inquiry has adjourned until tomorrow when Ms O'Sullivan will return for further cross-examination.

Additional reporting Sandra Hurley