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Village Idiot March 2018

Paul Williams, (53) is an Irish ‘media personality’, the hardest man on Newstalk, who specializes in crime reporting

His TV credits include ‘Dirty Money: The story of the Criminal Assets Bureau’ and ‘Paul Williams Investigates – ‘The Battle for the Gas Fields’ about the policing of the Corrib Gas protests. ‘Secret Love’ (1995) with Phylis Hamilton told the story of her secret 20-year love affair with Ireland’s most outspoken Catholic priest, Fr Michael Cleary. Williams always tells it as it is, or at least as the gardaí see it.

He also writes books: ‘Gangland’ (1998), ‘Evil Empire’ (2001), ‘Crimelords’ (2003), ‘The Untouchables’ (2006), ‘Crime Wars’ (2008), ‘Badfellas’ (2011) and ‘Murder Inc’ (2014). He is known for bravely confronting crimelord John Gilligan about the murder of journalist, Veronica Guerin.

The Sunday Tribune said as long ago as 2008 that a common criticism of Williams is that he is “little more than a cheerleader for the gardaí” and noted Williams’s tendency to steer away from any crime or corruption within the force. In 2013 he told an interviewer that “most of my friends are police”. He often explains that particular people are damningly “known to gardaí”.

Williams has been criticised for his tendency to give nicknames such as “The Tosser”, “The Penguin”, “Babyface” and “Fatpuss” to the criminals he is reporting on as it tends to glamourise the criminals.

In 2011 he joined the Irish Sun, as ‘Investigations Editor’. Since 2012, he has contributed to the Irish Independent where he’s a mate of the editor, as ‘Special Correspondent’.

In 2016 Williams joined the newly revamped ‘Newstalk’ schedule as a co-presenter with Shane Coleman on the Breakfast Show. According to the Irish Times: “Williams’s chief asset remains his hard-boiled, fuming persona. It’s not just the criminal fraternity and the Garda hierarchy he takes aim at, but anyone who smacks of being lily-livered or politically correct. He talks about ‘the snobby world of literature’ and dismisses President Michael D Higgins’s voluntary pay cut with a curt ‘big bloody deal’, while constantly making cracks about ‘the Shinners’”. He described the Jobstown protesters on-air last July as “assholes”, “bastards”, “thugs” and “bullyboys”. The BAI didn’t like it.

The Charleton (or Disclosures) tribunal is looking into whether Sergeant Maurice McCabe was the target of a smear campaign.

Last year Williams told the Tribunal that it was “absolutely false” that he was “in some way acting as a puppet for the guards” in 2014 when he met Ms D, the woman who made allegations of abuse against McCabe in 2006. Her father, a garda at Bailieboro garda station, was moved to other duties after a disciplinary tribunal into his performance was launched after complaints from Sergeant McCabe.

McCabe has told the tribunal of a 2016 meeting with Superintendent Dave Taylor of the Garda Press Office during which he said he was told “hundreds” or “thousands” of text messages had been composed by then-Commissioner Martin Callinan and forwarded to senior Garda officers, journalists, and politicians, on Callinan’s orders. “If there was an article praising me, Callinan would say ‘use your phone, do him down, he has to be buried’”. McCabe said Taylor said he would be encouraged to say that McCabe had been investigated for sexual assault.

Taylor has specifically told the tribunal that he never sent any negative texts about McCabe to journalists and conveyed it all verbally.

Williams told the tribunal that he was never negatively briefed against McCabe but rather, off the record, that there had been an investigation in 2006 into Ms D’s allegation and that the director of public prosecutions had decided not to bring proceedings.

In March 2018 McCabe told the tribunal that when in 2014 an article by Paul Williams was published just a few months later containing an anonymised version of Ms D’s allegations, McCabe said he knew “exactly who it was pointing at”. He was not identified in the article, but said he knew it was about him and felt it was “payback”. The article started: “A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted as a child by a serving garda claims the incident was covered up through a botched investigation”.

“Sure, it was awful. I mean, I have been cleared, completely, and I should have been left alone”, said McCabe. “I can’t prove it, but I knew it was in relation to what I was doing, in relation to penalty points”. TD Joan Collins has named Williams under Dáil privilege as one of those to benefit from having their penalty points cancelled by gardaí.

Williams has previously given evidence that he was contacted directly by Ms D and was not negatively briefed about McCabe by Garda Headquarters.