otBy Patrick Brogan
Paul Williams, a man with decades of experience dealing with Gardaí knows that better than most. However, there were many grey areas in Paul Williams’ own evidence. Many questions are left due to his sometimes contradictory statements and his bizarre, almost unbelievable practice of not taking notes of key events, this from one of the country’s most experienced journalists.
Paul Wiliams said he became involved in this matter when a Gardaí, Detective Superintendent John O’Reilly, rang him asking would he speak to Mr D, the father of Ms D. At this point, Williams said he had heard rumours of “bad blood” between the Gardaí, but didn’t realise how serious the allegations were until speaking to Mr D. He later met Ms D and interviewed her with a videographer present. Before they recorded the interview, Mr Williams and Ms D spoke about some of the allegations which were not mentioned on the tape. Williams kept notes of this pre-interview but did not present them to the inquiry because he “wasn’t asked” even though everyone questioned at the tribunal was briefed that anyone with evidence useful to the inquiry should be present it.
He later arranged for Ms D to meet with both Micheál Martin and Alan Shatter. Maurice McCabe’s legal representative, Michael McDowell, suggested this was part of a ploy to undermine McCabe, but Williams denied this and said he often arranged for people he interviewed to meet politicians and cited examples. He said this is something he would continue doing. McDowell also suggested he pressurised Martin into meeting Ms D. Paul Williams denied this.
Williams, later said he rang the Garda Press Officier, Dave Taylor, to confirm information. Strangely, he took no notes of this, he claimed. When he later contacted him about this information, McDowell asked him did he not think it was strange he was given confidential information about the case, an indictable offence. He was asked this a number of times and both he and his legal representative said he was not responsible for the actions of Dave Taylor, which was not the question. Williams said he felt he was misled by Taylor’s account of what happened with the DPP, i.e. he left out important information clearing Maurice McCabe of any wrong doing in the case. Williams said if he had this information he may not have wrote the article.
An important point was brought up, why did Williams not include what he said Taylor had told him, that is the details regarding the case, in his article as it would have verified what he wrote and what Ms D had told him? Strangely, when the DPP letter was read out in court, Williams remembered some of the details, mainly the discrepancy between the accounts given. A total flip-flop on what he said initially about what Taylor told him. Also, it was pointed out that if one was Ms D’s major complaints was Garda malpractice, if the DPP investigation was botched, this might be Taylor’s motivation for giving it over to Williams. Taylor’s legal council were asked a number of questions but did not answer these until consulting with their client during the lunch break.
What they said after the resumption was interesting, to say the least. Taylor said Williams rang him only once and it was on a date different to the one Williams gave and claimed Williams rang him saying McCabe had ruined this young girl’s life and he was going to do likewise to McCabe. Taylor, through his legal team, denied ever seeing the DPP letter.
Williams denied this claim and others that said he was a Garda puppet or acted anyway untoward against Maurice McCabe.
The next person to give evidence was the aforementioned John O’Reilly. He said it was Mr D who mentioned Paul Wiliams’ name first and he only facilitated the meeting and wanted nothing more to with it. He said the D family were concerned with the number of journalists harassing Ms D and she wanted to get her story out there, but remain anonymous at the same time. O’Reilly felt this was a contradictory statement, but went along with it none-the-less. He denied ever saying that Maurice McCabe would loiter around schools waiting for the school girls to leave, Ms D’s claim, and said he was never contacted by GSOC about this. The Disclosures Tribunal continues tomorrow.
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