Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe has said the finding in the Disclosures Tribunal report that he was smeared by the former Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, and his then Press Officer, Superintendent David Taylor, was astonishing and "hard to take".

The report by Mr Justice Peter Charleton concluded that Sgt McCabe is a genuine person who at all times has had the interests of the people of Ireland uppermost in his mind.

It found he regarded those interests as superior to any loyalty which he had to the police force of the State, but that neither interest should ever be in conflict. 

Furthermore, the report has strongly criticised the child and family agency Tusla for its handling of a false rape claim made against Sgt McCabe.

Sgt McCabe gave his initial reaction to the Tribunal Report to RTE's Prime Time programme.

He said he was delighted the report was published as it meant he and his family could now get back to normal.

"It's been 12 years nearly and we're delighted that it's out today. Myself, Lorraine, and the kids. We haven't read it all yet but we're reading through pieces and we're so thrilled it's out because it means it's finished for us now. All is over. I can get back to my normal job hopefully."

Responding to the finding that Mr Callinan and the Supt Taylor worked together to smear him, Sgt McCabe said: "I see that finding and it's an astonishing finding, but I suppose from the very start of the inquiry I knew that they were involved in it, so it didn't come as a major surprise to me. But [it's] hard to take."

Sgt McCabe says he accepts the finding in the tribunal report that there was no evidence that the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and senior gardaí were engaged in a campaign against him at the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation.

"I accept that finding, but it's a pity that she didn't say that to me back at the O'Higgins Commission, or meet with me when this all arose. But I accept the finding."

Asked if he accepted the report in its entirety he said: "I haven't read it all yet but on the bits and pieces that I have, yes, I accept it all....I'm very happy for me, and Lorraine and the kids and my extended family. I'm very happy."

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Read more:
Callinan went on 'frontal attack' against McCabe

'Utter mystery' as to how Taylor was press officer, says Charleton
O'Sullivan never suggested challenging McCabe's integrity - Tribunal

Tribunal finds RTÉ report was not directed by Garda HQ
Disclosures Tribunal timeline
The Disclosures Tribunal report in quotes

The latest interim Disclosures Tribunal report examines three main areas, namely the Tusla file containing the false rape claim against Sgt McCabe; former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's legal approach at the O'Higgins Commission; and the alleged senior garda smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

Mr Justice Charleton criticises the former garda press officer, David Taylor, and makes reference to evidence heard about the conversations former garda commissioner Martin Callinan had with others about Sgt McCabe.

It also accepts that the former commissioner O'Sullivan did not suggest that Sgt McCabe's integrity should be challenged at an earlier inquiry - the O'Higgins Commission of Investigation.

The report, which is based on evidence given in three modules over a period between July 2017 and July 2018, makes findings on the roles of a number of key individuals and agencies.

Allegation of character assassination

Mr Justice Charleton said Sgt McCabe had done the State a considerable service by bringing policing problems to the attention of the public, and said he remained an officer of exemplary character and a person of "admirable fortitude".

Mr Justice Charleton said that those reading this report would no doubt be horrified at the section which summarises all of the negative things said directly about Sgt McCabe, and all of the rumours which floated around and were magnified over the best part of a decade from 2007.

Regarding the Ms D allegation, which concerned an allegation of sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe, which was dismissed by the DPP as not constituting a crime, Mr Justice Charleton said it was a shame that the ruling of the DPP could not have been circulated to Sgt McCabe and the D family.

The tribunal chairman said he had no option but to find that former Supt Taylor was a witness whose credibility was completely undermined by his own bitterness.

The report said Dave Taylor was not acting under orders from former commissioner Martin Callinan

Mr Justice Charleton said his affidavit in the judicial review proceedings that he intended to commence before the High Court, was untruthful and his motivation in bringing forward this allegation was to stop or undermine a criminal investigation rightly being taken against him.

He said the truth was that Supt Taylor completely understated his own involvement in a campaign of calumny - or slander - against Sgt McCabe.

The report states: "In the result, the tribunal has been convinced that there was a campaign of calumny against Maurice McCabe by Commissioner Martin Callinan and that in it he was actively aided by his press officer Superintendent David Taylor."

Martin Callinan is criticised by Mr Justice Peter Charleton

It added: "The truth is that Superintendent David Taylor completely understated his own involvement in a campaign of calumny against Maurice McCabe. He claimed, for the first time, while giving evidence to the tribunal that he was acting under orders. That was not the case.

"The tribunal is convinced that he pursued a scheme that somehow evolved out of his cheek-by-jowl working relationship with Commissioner Callinan.

"Their plan was that there was to be much nodding and winking and references to a historic claim of sexual abuse while, at the same time, saying that the Director of Public Prosecutions had ruled that even if the central allegation did not have credibility issues, what was described did not amount to an offence of sexual assault or even an assault."

It adds: "The plain reality, however, is that Superintendent David Taylor engages in thought-through deceits.

"What has to be remembered here is that Superintendent David Taylor had an agenda.

"What might be regarded as upsetting in all of this is the extent to which Superintendent Taylor was able to dress up lies in a legal syrup that cloyingly garnered public sympathy.

"He apparently succeeded in garnering public sympathy through the manipulation of the media and he also managed to hold on to his career through deceit."

Tusla file and Sgt McCabe

The report also strongly criticised the child and family agency Tusla for its handling of the false rape claim made against Sgt McCabe.

Mr Justice Charleton said the agency gave the allegation an afterlife due to "astounding inefficiency and inertia".

Mr Justice Charleton also concluded the file had been "filleted" by an unidentifiable person in the organisation and that from 2016, no one within Tusla considered owning up to the serious mistakes that had been made.

The report finds that the the rape allegation was "conjured out of nowhere" within a Health Service Executive counselling service.

He says this was a coincidence even if it seemed unlikely and all the witnesses from the HSE were honest.

Sgt McCabe was accused of a sexual assault by the daughter of a colleague in 2006. This was subsequently dismissed by the DPP as not constituting a crime.

The tribunal heard that when the woman later went to HSE counselling in 2013, the assault was incorrectly inflated to a rape allegation by a template error.

Mr Justice Charleton said the computer analysis bore this out.

The report also criticises the garda handling of the allegation, saying the northern region never sent a corrected version of the allegation to Garda Headquarters.

Mr Justice Charleton also says that while others were informed and incorrectly informed, Sgt McCabe was never contacted and told the mistakes had been made.

O'Sullivan's legal approach at O'Higgins Commission

The report accepted Ms O'Sullivan's evidence that her instructions to her legal team at the O'Higgins Commission were to consider the interests of all gardaí before the inquiry and to have the evidence of Sgt McCabe scrutinised.

The report looked at Nóirín O'Sullivan's legal approach at O'Higgins Commission

Mr Justice Charleton's report also accepted the evidence of Ms O'Sullivan's legal team that she never suggested that Sgt McCabe's integrity be challenged at the commission.

The report outlines that correspondence forwarded to then minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald 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.

Judge 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 Ms O'Sullivan did not speak about the matter.

The O'Higgins examined garda failures in the Cavan/Monaghan division.

Letter which contained error was drafted in haste

The report found that a letter submitted to the O'Higgins Commission by the Garda legal team in May 2015 which contained an error was drafted in haste.

It found that the letter was accurate up to a point, but that inattention and perhaps emotional overlay by some of those instructing the legal team sent the letter astray.

The letter incorrectly stated that Sgt McCabe had made a complaint against a senior officer to get something he wanted.

The report said the tribunal unequivocally accepted the evidence of AnnMarie Ryan of the Chief State Solicitor's Office that she gave three copies of the document to the Garda legal team on the day it was submitted.

Judge Charleton said the tribunal was satisfied that there was no deliberate attempt to write a series of quite silly mistakes by way of a submission undermining Sgt McCabe to the O'Higgins Commission. 

The report stated that notes taken by Superintendent Noel Cunningham of a meeting in August 2008 with Sgt McCabe in Mullingar fully accorded with a tape recording made by Sgt McCabe of the meeting.

It found that Supt Cunningham had never given evidence to the contrary of this either at the O'Higgins Commission or the Disclosures Tribunal.

The report states there is no evidence that Ms O'Sullivan ever knew about the letter or that she had any input into drafting it or that she was aware of any error.

In a statement, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he and his officials would examine the report in its entirety, to see "what actions are required".

He said that he would ensure any proposals for any recommended change in the justice sector are "implemented without delay".

Mr Flanagan also said that Mr McCabe's actions "arose out of a legitimate drive to ensure that An Garda Síochána serves the people through hard work and diligence".

Charleton Report an 'opportunity to change' - Commissioner Harris

In a statement this afternoon the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said An Garda Síochána fully accepts the findings of Mr Justice Charleton. 

"Mr Justice Charleton's Report makes for difficult reading for the organisation, but it is vital that we take it as an opportunity to change how we operate so we provide a professional and ethical service to the public."

Commissioner Harris said that given the scale of the Report he would be establishing a group to examine Mr Justice Charleton's findings from policy, process, discipline and cultural perspectives to identify the lessons to be learnt and changes to be made.

Mr Harris said: "I welcome and support Mr Justice Charleton's comments about Sergeant McCabe. I acknowledge the difficult time he and his family have endured and I hope this chapter is drawing to a close. I will ensure Sergeant McCabe and all Garda personnel referenced in the report receive appropriate supports.

"I will ensure An Garda Síochána is a safe environment for people to raise issues or concerns. The organisation will improve by having an open and inclusive culture," he said.