Maurice McCabe retires after 30 years on force

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe is to retire from the force today.

The Irish Examiner understands Sergeant McCabe met Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning at the weekend and applied to retire. As he has served the requisite 30 years, he is entitled to retire on a full pension.

His application was accepted and will come into effect from 12am.

His retirement comes three weeks after publication of the Disclosures Tribunal report in which Judge Peter Charleton described the Cavan-based sergeant as having done the state “considerable service”.

Judge Charleton also ruled there had been a “campaign of calumny” against Sgt McCabe conducted for former commissioner Martin Callinan and former garda press officer Superintendent David Taylor.

Earlier inquiries had largely vindicated the complaints of malpractice within the force which Sgt McCabe had made and which caused enormous pain for him and his family over a decade.

Judge Charleton also concluded that there had been hostility towards Sgt McCabe in some quarters of An Garda Síochána.

Following the publication of the Disclosures report, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan apologised to Sgt McCabe on behalf of the State. The minister told the Dáil that Sgt McCabe “deserves the gratitude of all of us for bringing serious shortcomings to public attention.

“He also deserves an apology for what he had to endure, both him and his family over the past decade.”

The State is facing a significant payout to Sgt McCabe, who is also taking a case against Tusla, the child and family agency, after it grossly mishandled an erroneous allegation against him.

Tusla has already formally apologised.

In the Dáil, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar reiterated his description of Sgt McCabe as a “distinguished” public servant. Mr Varadkar first made that observation in 2014 in response to a comment from Mr Callinan that the sergeant’s actions were “disgusting”.

The intervention of the then minister for transport was seen as crucial in changing the approach to Sgt McCabe within government circles.

“I was in touch with him again to express my view that he has done enormous service to the State and to wish him and Lorraine the best into the future,” Mr Varadkar told the Dáil.

Current Garda Commissioner Drew Harris also apologised to Sgt McCabe on behalf of An Garda Síochána. Last Wednesday, Mr Harris travelled to the McCabe family home in Co Cavan for a meeting with the couple.

In recent years, as a result of fallout from the various inquiries into his complaints of malpractice and how they were handled by senior management, Sgt McCabe has been absent from his station on sick leave.

Up until 2015, he had been a sergeant attached to Mullingar station and had been asked to head up the traffic unit there.

However, following events at the O’Higgins commission in 2015, he informed his district officer that he felt unable to take up the post.

The Disclosures Tribunal ruled that then commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan had done nothing wrong at the O’Higgins commission. 

In an interview on RTÉ following publication of the report, Sgt McCabe said he accepted the report in that regard.

“I accept that finding, but it’s a pity that she didn’t say that to me back at the O’Higgins commission, or meet with me when all this arose,” he said. “But I accept the finding.”


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