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#DisclosuresTribunal to resume at 10am in Dublin Castle this morning. Sixteen witnesses - including ppl from Garda Press Office - scheduled to give evidence today (highest number scheduled for a day to date) No sitting tmw. It will then sit from 9am to 1pm on Friday.
#DisclosuresTribunal As today's witnesses pertain to Garda Press Office and interactions with media, judge asks what media orgs/journalists have limited representation. He's told INM, RTE, Alison O'Reilly of Mail (separate representation to Mail group), Michael O'Toole of Star
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness SC, for tribunal, tells judge it's helpful to know who is represented today. Says a number of witness statements do mention other journalists whom tribunal has been in contact with but who are not represented here today. McGuinness asks for 15 mins
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton says he's "not happy" some media organisations have not responded to tribunal correspondence. Letters sent as recent as April 24. Said some organisations claimed 5 days wasn't enough to respond but points out 8 days have passed now.
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton says "I feel that enough time has passed and I think that genuine cooperation with tribunal would have involved an answer from those organisations, as did some organisations did answer and did seek representation"
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton says tribunal has gone to the trouble of eaching out to the organisations and to have a "holding letter" from a number of orgs coming back is "not something that makes me happy". Says "we will proceed with what we can proceed with"
#DisclosuresTribunal Retired Supt Paul Moran, who succeeded Supt Dave Taylor in Garda Press Office, is now giving evidence.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran going through workings of the Garda Press Office. Director of Comms at AGS Andrew McLindon (who recently gave evidence) was his boss.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says when he was in GPO, every am, all newspapers would be trawled through and stories relating to AGS would be scanned, put into doc and sent to snr management to appraise them of what's being said about AGS prev 24 hours "to sworn & unsworn members"
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran telling tribunal about an IT system called Spotlight in the Garda Press Office which manages information going in and out of the office. He says it's effectively a log system of queries going in and out. Moran says the system was installed few years ago
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says only staff at Garda Press Office has access to Spotlight
#DisclosuresTribunal Leader asks what conclusion does he made of info which appears in press but is not on Spotlight. Moran says "Journalists have many sources and that's part of their job." Says good journalists go out and establish sources.
#DiscosuresTribunal Moran adds he has got calls "very, very shortly after an incident" from a journalist making inquiries about an incident which he hadn't even heard about. Leader BL, for tribunal, asks "Would you take it that didn't come from Gda Press Office?" Moran says yes.
#DisclosuresTribunal Leader asks Moran if he got the sense that queries related to Sgt Maurice McCabe were to be treated differently when he was in Garda Press Office (June 2014 to May 2015), he said no. Also said he never had briefing about McCabe, said his name never came up.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says one of first things he did in GPO was hold one-to-one meetings with crime journalists over three months. Says they were ice breaker meetings, he'd give them tour of office, have coffee, etc.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says the purpose of the meetings were to say hello, and see what their expectations were. Meetings would be 45mins to an hour.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says he never got drawn into conversations with journalists about his predecessor (Dave Taylor) but he got a "sense" that they recognised he was brining change to the Garda Press Office
#DisclosuresTribunal Judge Charleton seeks clarification about this "change". Moran says the change was that he himself was not chasing up info personally and reverting back to journalists. Instead he was referring queries to the press office.
#DisclosuresTribunal Leader asks Moran if it had been his view/sense that the position of the Garda Press Officer would be deemed to be a person close to the Commissioner. He agrees.
#DisclosuresTribunal Tara Burns SC, for Dave Taylor, now asking questions of retired Supt Paul Moran. Burns asking about contact he had with Noirin O'Sullivan prior to his appointment to press office.
#DisclosuresTribunal Conor Dignam SC, for AGS, asks Moran about his one-to-one meetings with journalists. Dignam asks him if, during those meetings, if any journalist asked him about Sgt McCabe or rumours pertaining to him. Moran says
"Not that I can recall, chairman, no."
#DisclosuresTribunal Dignam asks if any journalists told him that Dave Taylor had told them things about McCabe and if they sought an update. Moran says no.
#DisclosuresTribunal Dignam asks Moran about an occasion where he met Taylor for coffee (after Taylor was moved out of GPO). Moran said Taylor was "bitter" about being moved.
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton asks if Moran can say anymore about this alleged bitterness from Taylor towards Noirin O'Sulivan as he says this is a "very big aspect of this". Moran says their chat was a lot of small talk and he knew he was upset.
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says DT liked the job he had and that he showed no bitterness towards him (Moran). M says he recalls DT that his difficulty wasn't o much he had a difficuly with move, but how the move was done "whatever that's suppose to mean"
#DisclosuresTribunal Moran says "word on the street" was that Paul Moran was very close to NOS and that perhaps not a lot of things were said to him.
#DisclosuresTribunal hears there are more journalists and media organisations now represented. They include Irish Daily Mail, Irish Mail on Sunday, IDM editor Sebastian Hamilton, IMOS editor Conor O'Connell, journalist Debbie McCann (of IMOS), Sunday Times, ST jour John Mooney..
#DisclosuresTribunal ...Justine McCarthy (of ST), Irish Sun and Irish Sun on Sunday and Eavan Murray (Irish Sun), Irish Examiner's Juno McEnroe, Daniel McConnell and Cormac O'Keeffe, Irish Times and Conor Lally (of Irish Times).
#DisclosuresTribunal Just before the legal representation matter was discussed, Fionan O Muircheartaigh BL, for journalist Alison O'Reilly, asked Moran about the handover Taylor had with him. Puts it to him matters pertaining to Sgt McCabe were prob biggest thing exercising AGS..
#DisclosuresTribunal..between January and July 2014 but it wasn't referred to in the handover. Moran agreed this was the case. O'M asked Moran if it occurred to him to ask Taylor about this/Sgt McCabe at the handover. Moran said no.
#DisclosuresTribunal Supt John Ferris, of press office, is now giving evidence. He was in press office when Dave Taylor started in press office.
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris being asked about workings of GPO. Says key for press office staff is the privacy of indivuals concerned and ensuring info sent out does not jeopardise a case. Says they might confirm an incident like a burglary won't give out names of injured parties
#DisclosuresTribunal Now being asked about the Spotlight system. Ferris says, before Spotlight, news clippings would be attached to clipboards and manually brought to heads of different departments.
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness BL, for tribunal, raises Ms D articles by Paul Williams. Asks was he aware of Ms D case when he joined press office (in Aug 2007), he said no. He said he learned about the matter from media coverage but can't recall which/what coverage.
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says he was aware of a rumour about some sexual issue in regards to McCabe but he says he can't say when he heard it. He said he had limited dealings with Paul Williams. Ferris says DT never said anything to him about any campaign to smear McCabe
#DisclosuresTribunal Sees email Paul Williams sent to Ferris on April 28, 2016, ahead of an appearance by him on RTE's Late Late Show.
#DisclosuresTribunal In email PW says Gerry Murphy suggested he email Ferris and asks for clarity from Commissioner as he says he was to be on Late Late to discuss AGS and "current state of connectivity or lack of it - between snr management in Phoenix Park & frontline gardai"
#DisclosuresTribunal sees Ferris forward PW's email on to the Commissioner's office and the Deputy Commissioner of Operations. Tribunal sees redacted email in respect of this was sent from Head of Legal Affairs Ken Ruane to Donal O'Cualain, John Twomey, and Andrew McLindon.
#DisclosuresTribunal sees email on Sept 4 2015 from McLindon to NOS, Twomey, Murphy and Ferris re: "potential medai questions for next week". One q related to Fennelly invest: "Will there be a Garda investigation into the loss of SIM card and personal papers by Comm Callinan?
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness refers to radio interview by Clare Daly in Oct 2016 in which she refers to two protected disclosures made by Sgt McCabe and Supt Taylor – though they weren’t named:…
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness also refers to Mick Clifford, of Irish Examiner, also on radio. McG asks if Ferris knew Daly and Clifford were referring to Taylor. Ferris says no. Ferris confirmed he got the transcript of the radio interview for the Commissioner (as requested)..
#DisclosuresTribunal ..but he didn't read it and just forwarded it on to the Commissioner. (in that radio interview, Daly referred to text messages allegedly sent as part of smear campaign)
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness points out in his statement to tribunal, he said he reg attended review meetings in which protected disclosures were discussed. Asked if radio transcript was discussed at these meetings, Ferris said no. He said content of transcript wdn't come up
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris said in early Jan 2015 he came into work and Sgt Damien Hogan was slightly anxious as he said Taylor (who was put out of press office in June 2014) had asked to be provided with press clippings even though he (Taylor) knew this had been disallowed
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris said he contacted Taylor that morning and explained to him he wasn't to get the press clippings as he was no longer press officer and his predecessor in traffic dept (where Taylor was then) wasn't on list for the clippings
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris refers to occasion, also in Jan 2015, where he found a person was printing out the clippings for Supt Taylor. Ferris: "I inquired why she was printing them...she said Taylor had requested them...I said he wasn't to get them.."
#DisclosuresTribunal hears that Ferris got copy of O'Higgins report in April 2016 for Supt Frank Walsh (then Noirin O'Sullivan's private secretary). He said purpose of him getting copy was for him to draw up a holding statement as it was expected rpt was to be published that week
#DisclosuresTribunal McGuinness SC, for tribunal, points out that trib is examining allegations of a leak of O'Higgins report to RTE's Paul Reynolds. Asked if he had any dealings with Reynolds, Ferris says "absolutely not".
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says he had spent 10 years in Garda Press Office "cleaning up the mess of leaks". Says it would have been going completely against what he had been doing if he was to leak material
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris repeats: "I had no knowledge of this [smear] campaign or perceived campaign." Says there was no mention of it amongst his staff in GPO and no mention of it outside the office.
#DisclosuresTribunal Breffni Gordon BL, for Sgt McCabe, asks Ferris about the draft response he had drawn up in response to the draft O'Higgins report that he received from Supt Frank Walsh (NOS's private secretary) in April 2016 and then sent to Frank Walsh
#DisclosuresTribunal Draft response starts off "The Garda Commissioner welcomes..." Ferris says they were his words and there had been no input from the Garda Commissioner in making his response. He said he didn't read full report but effectively based draft on key findings
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says Taylor felt "we should pump out press releases" Ferris said it was sometimes embarrassing. Recalls time snr crime corr rang Ferris to say "am I missing something?" after a press release was sent out about a €5k drug seizure by national drugs unit
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris said he felt press releases such as that were unprofessional. Says he could understand if it was a press release to a local paper about a local garda seizure but not on a national level
#DisclosuresTribunal Tara Burns SC, for Taylor, raises journalists' requests for info. She recalls Ferris's earlier evidence when he said Paul Williams wasn't a journalist who would often contact the GPO. Burns asks which journalists would be in reg contact with GPO
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says there would be normal, recognised crime correspondents, people who would show up if there was a murder, and press conference, etc, says: "The Michael O'Tooles, the Paul Reynolds".
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says Paul Williams didn't show up at such events, "that wasn't his scene...he didn't do that kind of thing..he wasn't on the contact list...he didn't get the press releases"
#DisclosuresTribunal Burns recalls Ferris's evidence about time he told Taylor he wasn't to be on press clippings list (T was taken off it twice). Burns asks Ferris if he recalls Taylor telling Ferris he wanted to be on list for his thesis. F: 'That most definitely didn't happen'
#DisclosuresTribunal Conor Dignam SC, for AGS, goes through his previous evidence about the press clippings list (20 ppl on it) and the media contacts list (700 ppl on it) [which, tribunal has heard, Brenda O’Grady had attempted to print out for Taylor, under Taylr's instruction]
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton says to Ferris he's starting to wonder "does anybody know anything" . Says it's Taylor's position that Martin Callinan was obsessed with McCabe. Ferris repeats: "I can't advance it in terms of a my knowledge there was no campaign"
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris also says "I was never privy to any conversation between Dave Taylor and Martin Callinan in respect of Sgt McCabe"
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton tries, with some difficulty, to understand how the AGS system of gathering press clippings, press searches, etc - with help of media monitoring company - works
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton goes back to April/May 2014 when Paul Williams wrote about Ms D in which she alleged she had been sexually assaulted by a guard, that the investigation was inadequate and she wanted to meet leader of opposition, Micheal Martin
#DisclosuresTribunal Charleton said this was "really, really bad news". Judge said this must have caused fuss in the GPO. Said his colleagues must have been talking about it. Judge says he can sit in tribunal until Kingdom Comes but ppl have to tell him what was remarked
#DisclosuresTribunal At one point, Ferris he might not be able to tell Judge what he wants to hear, Charleton rep lie: "I don't want to hear anything apart from the tribunal is over". Charleton continues to ask what commens were being made in GPO at time of Paul Williams articles
#DisclosuresTribunal Ferris says: "I can't help you on that....Other than generally, there wasn't a big discussion...there wasn't a huge amount of discussion about it..."
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