The backlash Maurice McCabe faced after the Garda commissioner described the actions of whistleblowers as “disgusting” made him feel like he was “poison”, he told an RTÉ documentary last night.
A colleague of his described how the general feeling among gardaí following Martin Callinan’s comments to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was that “he [McCabe] was finished” and that he “won’t be making any more complaints”.
“I felt I was poison,” said Mr McCabe in the documentary, Whistleblower: The Maurice McCabe Story.
His wife Lorraine spoke about the devastation her husband felt as his best efforts to highlight malpractices in An Garda Síochána were stymied again and again.
He even pointed out the tree on their land that he intended to hang himself from.
Yet despite the forces conspiring against him, he refused to give up, a doggedness he attributes to his father Michael.
Michael, who features in the documentary, led his own crusade against the pollution of Lough Sheelin in the midlands in the 1980s.
Lorraine agreed: “Michael would have always told Maurice, ‘Don’t give up Maurice, don’t let them beat you’, whereas I would have wanted Maurice to stop and just get on with our lives and just leave it all alone.
“He was never going to let go, ever, and I suppose he got that from his father.”
Mr McCabe also revealed the “disgust” he felt when he shook his former boss’s hand at the Disclosures Tribunal.
The former Garda sergeant was approached by Mr Callinan during a break in tribunal proceedings earlier this year.
“I was annoyed with myself because he was one person that I wouldn’t shake hands with ever again,” said Mr McCabe.
“I was disgusted, to use his word.”
Last month, the tribunal found Mr McCabe was subjected to a smear campaign by Mr Callinan and former Garda press officer, Superintendent Dave Taylor.
The role of Mr Taylor, who has since retired, was also examined in last night’s documentary, as was the role of Tusla, the child and family agency, which incorrectly categorised Mr McCabe on its files.
The documentary was the second of a two-part series.
RTÉ said the first part of the documentary, which aired on Monday night, attracted an average audience of 509,000, with a 40% share.