Nóirín O'Sullivan tells Disclosures Tribunal she was used as a 'political football'

She is into her second day of evidence at Dublin Castle

Nóirín O'Sullivan tells Disclosures Tribunal she was used as a 'political football'

Noirin O'Sullivan arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle for the second day before giving evidence | Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 16.50

The former Garda Commissioner says she was very isolated around the publication of the O'Higgins Commission report and came to be used as a 'political football'.

Nóirín O'Sullivan has told the Disclosures Tribunal that an article in the Irish Examiner highlighting her instructions at the O'Higgins Inquiry to say Maurice McCabe acted out of malice created a vortex around her.

She said she faced repeated calls to step down, and the minister was constantly asked to state her confidence in the then-commissioner.

Just before the final report from the O'Higgins Commission was released, an article was published in the Irish Examiner which said that the Garda Commissioner introduced the question of malice regarding Maurice McCabe.

Ms O'Sullivan said the article contained errors - something its author denies - and that it immediately created a vortex around her.

She said she soon became a political football as opposition TDs called for her to step down, and called on the then-Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald to state her confidence in the commissioner.

Ms O'Sullivan said this left her very isolated, and she e-mailed the then-Tánaiste asking that she state her confidence in her in the Dáil - which Ms Fitzgerald failed to do.

Ms O'Sullivan denied this was a statement for the Tánaiste to read in the Dáil - saying it was just a list of facts.

The tribunal heard of a string of e-mails between Garda Headquarters and the Department of Justice, as they sought to prepare a public statement for the commissioner on the O’Higgins Report, in which Nóirín O'Sullivan said she had to test the evidence of Sergeant McCabe.

Allegations

Among the allegations made by whistleblower Maurice McCabe was that the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was corrupt for promoting a senior officer he knew was unsuitable.

The whistleblower meant corruption in the sense of the Garda Code – rather than criminal corruption - but Noirín O’Sullivan said that that allegation had been made in 2012 and followed Mr Callinan right up until 2015.

The O’Higgins Commission eventually said the allegation was unfounded, but Ms O’Sullivan said from a policeman’s perspective 'corruption is corruption' and extraordinarily serious.

Counsel for Maurice McCabe asked Noirín O'Sullivan who had resigned from An Garda Síochana that was being investigated in relation to his client – and she answered Martin Callinan.

Michael McDowell said that was a dark lie.

Noirin O’Sullivan will continue her evidence at the tribunal tomorrow.