Former Garda Commissioner called as witness at Gemma O'Doherty tribunal

Former Garda Commissioner called as witness at Gemma O'Doherty tribunal

FORMER Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has been called to appear at an unfair dismissal hearing involving investigative journalist Gemma O’Doherty and Independent News and Media (INM).

O’Doherty’s case against INM will be heard tomorrow [Friday] by Ireland’s Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

The leading journalist was made compulsory redundant in the months that followed her pursuit of then Commissioner Martin Callinan over inquiries into his driving record.

Her editor-in-chief at the Irish Independent was Stephen Rae, a former editor of Garda Review magazine.

In September The Irish Post revealed that a vehicle registered to Mr Rae had penalty points terminated.

The former Garda Commissioner resigned in March following criticism of his handling of the information presented by Garda whistle blowers John Wilson and Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

O'Doherty had been investigating the whistle blowers' disclosures.

Reporting on the pending hearing The Sunday Business Post reported:

“She [O’Doherty]will tell the EAT panel that she was described by the then Irish Independent editor, Stephen Rae, as 'a rogue reporter’ after she called to the commissioner's house to establish that he was the same person as the driver whose points had been eliminated.

Gemma O'Doherty was forced to leave the Irish Independent Gemma O'Doherty was made redundant last year

"The tribunal will hear that two senior editorial executives later visited Garda Headquarters to apologise for O'Doherty's intrusive approach.”

The report added: “The newspaper is expected to argue that it was a bona fide redundancy situation and completely unrelated to O'Doherty's work on Garda handling of penalty points; and that it was not related to her uncovering of alleged Garda mistakes in the investigation of the unsolved killing of a Catholic priest, Fr Niall Molloy, after a wedding party in 1985.”

The tribunal hearing comes in advance of pending High Court actions for defamation and personal damages against O'Doherty's former employer.

O'Doherty was the only employee to be selected for compulsory redundancy.

Her forcing out brought condemnation from journalists at top British and international publications.