Disclosures Tribunal: Howlin denies he should’ve looked further into claims made by journalist

The Labour leader says he had to lay out the claims before the Dáil to inform the debate

Disclosures Tribunal: Howlin denies he should’ve looked further into claims made by journalist

Brendan Howlin. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Brendan Howlin has denied that he should’ve looked further into claims made to him by a journalist that Nóirín O'Sullivan smeared Maurice McCabe before repeating the claims in the Dáil.

The Labour leader told the Disclosures Tribunal that he had to lay out the claims before the Dáil to inform the debate on the terms of reference of what became the tribunal.

On the 8th February 2017, Deputy Howlin told the Dáil he had spoken to a journalist who had direct knowledge of calls made by Nóirín O'Sullivan to journalists, in the course of which the Commissioner made very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Maurice McCabe.

The tribunal heard from Alison O’Reilly earlier that she had gotten in touch with Deputy Howlin’s office because she was so concerned about what her colleague Debbie McCann told her about Maurice McCabe.

Ms O’Reilly says Ms McCann admitted she got the information from her “pal Nóirín”.

Deputy Howlin disagreed that he should have checked out Ms O’Reilly’s information with greater care, as the Dáil had already decided on a Commission of Inquiry into the matter.

Deputy Howlin said he was presented with creditable information to inform the terms of reference – and said he told the Dáil he didn’t know if the allegations were true or not.