Disclosures Tribunal: Dave Taylor unable to provide details of negative McCabe press briefings

Supt Taylor has accepted that the alleged campaign was a flop

Disclosures Tribunal: Dave Taylor unable to provide details of negative McCabe press briefings

Garda Superintendent David Taylor arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated 17:45

The former Garda Press Officer has accepted that a smear campaign he says he was ordered to direct against Maurice McCabe was a flop.

Dave Taylor has finished his second day of evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal which is currently examining whether garda management ordered the Superintendent to brief journalists negatively about Sgt McCabe.

Asked repeatedly for specifics on when the negative briefings occurred, Supt Taylor was unable to provide any details.

While Superintendent Taylor accepted that the smear campaign ran for nine months from mid 2013, to Spring 2014, he could not give details to counsel for RTÉ or Independent News and Media (INM).

Asked for an explanation as to why all journalists would refute his claim that he briefed them negatively – Superintendent Taylor said he couldn’t comment on their evidence.

Rossa Fanning for INM suggested that the only rational explanation is that the Superintendent’s account was untrue – which Mr Taylor did not accept.

Chairman Peter Charleton said the Tribunal had searched for stories about Maurice McCabe and it was very difficult to find anything negative about him, never mind him being embittered.

Earlier, Supt Taylor apologised to sergeant Maurice McCabe for his part in the alleged smear campaign he claims was orchestrated by garda management.

He told the Tribunal this afternoon that he apologised to Sergeant McCabe when he met him in September 2016 - and apologised again today.

He maintained, however, that he did not tell him that he smeared him by text message.

Supt Taylor has also denied telling Independent TD Mick Wallace that when former Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan moves, she’s lying.

Earlier he told the tribunal that Sergeant McCabe would be spoken about "around the water cooler" in Garda HQ.

The former Garda Press officer agreed with a sergeant in the Press Office who said last week that Dave Taylor would not have been on Sgt McCabe’s side.

Under cross-examination by counsel for Maurice McCabe, Dave Taylor said he now accepts that Sgt McCabe was not motivated by revenge for being investigated for a sexual assault allegation when he blew the whistle on the quashing of penalty points by gardaí.

The Disclosures Tribunal is investigating whether Garda management directed Superintendent Taylor to smear Maurice McCabe to journalists.

The former Press Officer has again said he never wrote down negative briefings – but that his instructions would be verbal.

Last week, a sergeant in the Press Office, James Molloy, said that it was clear that Supt Taylor was not on Maurice McCabe’s side.

Supt Taylor agreed that was the impression he gave to his staff, and said Sgt McCabe would’ve been spoken about around the water cooler in Garda Headquarters.

Asked by Micheal McDowell if he felt he was revealing a huge secret about Maurice McCabe or fanning the flames of a current rumour, Supt Taylor said the rumour was already out there and he wasn’t always breaking new news.