By Caroline O’Doherty, Michael Clifford, Cormac O’Keeffe, and Noel Baker
Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said he is delighted at being vindicated by the Disclosures Tribunal after what he described as a “tortuous” period for him and his family.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Sgt McCabe said he, his wife Lorraine, and their five children hoped they could now put it all behind them.
Tonight on Prime Time, for the first time we heard from the man at the heart of the Charleton Report. Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe gave us his reaction to the findings of the Disclosures Tribunal. pic.twitter.com/HBo5gRNJht— RTÉ Prime Time (@RTE_PrimeTime) October 11, 2018
“We hope now that this is the end of what has been a long and tortuous journey and we now just want to get on with our lives,” he said.
“The tribunal and the other inquiries I had to go through were entirely stressful for us and we want to just put it all behind us and just return to a quiet life.”
And addressing the finding that Dave Taylor and Martin Callinan worked together to smear him Sgt McCabe last night told RTÉ: “It’s an astonishing finding. But I suppose from the very start of the inquiry I knew they were involved in it so it didn’t come as a major suprise to me. But it’s hard to take.”
Sgt McCabe was responding to Judge Peter Charleton’s report into allegations of a smear campaign conducted against him by senior gardaí in retaliation for his whistleblowing on Garda incompetence and corruption.
Key among the allegations was that Garda management used a baseless claim of child sex abuse against Sgt McCabe to discredit him through negative briefing to politicians and the media.
Former Garda press officer Superintendent David Taylor said he ran the campaign on the direction of then commissioner Martin Callinan, with the knowledge of then deputy commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.
Judge Charleton said Sgt McCabe was “a genuine person” who had “done the State considerable service”.
He said: “The tribunal has been convinced that there was a campaign of calumny against Maurice McCabe by Commissioner Martin Callinan and that in it he was actively aided by his press officer Superintendent David Taylor.”
Of Ms O’Sullivan, he said there was “no credible evidence” that she “played any hand, act or part” in any such campaign.
He also said the campaign failed in that “no newspaper or media outlet ever traduced the character of Maurice McCabe in consequence of any communication from Superintendent Taylor, or indeed at all”.
He said Supt Taylor was motivated by bitterness and a desire to deflect from an unrelated investigation into his alleged leaking of information to the media.
He said Mr Callinan was motivated by anger at having to answer in public to Sgt McCabe’s claims and his belief that he would do a better job smearing him than “his incompetent subordinate”, Supt Taylor.
Judge Charleton’s criticisms of Garda management and the ethos that pervades the force are scathing.
“The improvement that is most needed in our police force is adherence to honesty and adherence to the duty to do a full and hard day of work in the service of the people of Ireland,” he said.
He also launched an astonishing attack on Tusla, the child and family agency, for its mishandling of the sex abuse claim that allowed it to persist long after it had been found to be untrue. Only for Tusla’s “startling inefficiency and indolence” and its “considerable failings and stupidities”, the tribunal could probably have been avoided.
A spokesman for Ms O’ Sullivan told the Irish Examiner she welcomed the report. He said she was at a family engagement over the weekend and would study the report in full next week and comment then.