Independent News and Media group Business Editor Dearbhail McDonald has told the Disclosures Tribunal that she advised against the publication of a draft story by colleague Paul Williams about a historical child sexual abuse allegation made against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

The article later ran in April 2014, although it did not name the sergeant.

It referred instead to an unnamed serving garda and an alleged victim who wanted an earlier garda investigation reopened.

Ms McDonald said the story that ran contained material differences to the earlier draft that she had seen.

The inquiry has heard that a 'Ms D' made a sexual assault allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2006.

It was later dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions as not constituting a crime.

Ms McDonald said she was asked by INM Group Editor Stephen Rae, in March 2014, to stress test the story and check whether it was legally and factually robust.

She said she reported back and composed a memo highlighting risks.

Ms McDonald said she was not revealing the contents of the memo due to confidentiality and privilege. 

However, she said she advised against publication of the draft.

Ms McDonald said some of her concerns were taken on board and there were material changes to the story but she said she was not involved in the final published article.

Counsel for the garda commissioners suggested to Ms McDonald that by participating in the process that led to the article's publication, she participated in smearing Sgt McCabe.

Ms McDonald said she absolutely rejected that and her role was to protect the sergeant.


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Later, former INM group news editor Ian Mallon said he would have approved the decision for Paul Williams to go to speak to the woman who made the allegation, but he said the decision to run the story was made by the former editor of the Irish Independent, Claire Grady.

He agreed the story was a big story.

Mr Mallon was also asked about a claim by former editor of the Sunday Independent, Anne Harris, that she heard from Mr Mallon about an allegation of criminal misconduct in relation to Sgt McCabe where she says Mr Mallon referred to "interference with a child".

Mr Mallon said he utterly rejected her claim and and Ms Harris rejected it herself in her own evidence in the witness box.

Counsel for Anne Harris said his client's evidence was that Mr Mallon told her there is more to Sgt McCabe than meets the eye and "you know about McCabe and children".

Mr Mallon said that was incorrect.

The inquiry has adjourned for today.

Mr Mallon will return for further questioning tomorrow.