The Disclosures Tribunal's third interim report states that by the time the inquiry came to hear matters in relation to the issue of Sergeant Maurice McCabe's treatment at the O'Higgins Commission, former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald had "selflessly" decided to resign in the national interest. 

The report outlines that when that happened in November 2017 all that politicians, the public, and the media had to go on were leaked snippets of a transcript, and subsequently the May 2015 email which was made public, sent to her regarding a row at the O'Higgins Commission.

Judge Peter Charleton states this information somehow transmogrified over time into an allegation that Sgt McCabe had been maliciously accused before the O'Higgins Commission of multiple and false sexual assault offences with a view to damaging his credit-worthiness; and that the Minister had stood back and allowed it to happen.


Read more:
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'Utter mystery' as to how Taylor was press officer, says Charleton
O'Sullivan never suggested challenging McCabe's integrity - Disclosures Tribunal
Disclosures Tribunal timeline
The report in quotes


It found that in the result, at a crucial juncture for Ireland in Brexit negotiations, the Government came close to falling.

The report outlines that correspondence forwarded to Ms Fitzgerald, who at the time was justice minister, about the approach being taken by the garda legal team in May 2015 was noted for information, and that this indicated no action was needed.

Mr Justice Charleton says that the tribunal accepts Ms Fitzgerald's evidence that she did not wish to interfere in the O'Higgins proceedings as an "honest appraisal" of the situation.

The report finds that Ms Fitzgerald and former Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan did not speak about the matter.

It outlines that Ms Fitzgerald and her department rightly did not attempt to direct the commissioner as to how she should approach the O'Higgins Commission.

In a statement, Ms Fitzgerald said on a personal level she was pleased that she was "found to have acted appropriately, used my judgement well, and that my evidence has been accepted as truthful".

The former tánaiste said that there "are many lessons to be drawn" from Mr Justice Charleton’s report, which she said required "thorough and careful reading".