Maurice McCabe: Garda culture makes it hard to speak out

Sgt Maurice McCabe said the Garda culture makes it “extremely hard to speak out” and said that those who do are “certainly isolated and alone”.

In his first-ever public evidence, he said there is an element of the force “that blank you and not speak to you” and there were places he was “not welcome”.

Dressed in his sergeant’s uniform, he told the Disclosures Tribunal that he never once got hate mail “even up to today” and that he had received 300-400 cards from people all over the country supporting him.

Also at the tribunal:

  • Sgt McCabe told his boss almost nine years ago he felt he was being “forced out” from his job as sergeant-in-charge of Bailieborough Garda Station, claiming he was not receiving the support of management in addressing alleged shoddy work practices there;
  • The alleged behaviour included: members not turning up on time, or at all; not doing foot patrols; poor investigation files; incidents not being investigated; members “constantly hanging around the station”; members reading the paper and watching TV; warrants not being executed; constant coffee and tea breaks; and incidents not being created on Pulse;
  • Sgt McCabe said he was “extremely happy” when he unofficially heard he was cleared by the DPP of any sexual crime against a child (in the Miss D case) but “annoyed” the investigating officer Inspector (now Superintendent) Noel Cunningham did not officially tell him and he had to ring him two weeks after to confirm it.
  • Sgt McCabe said a circular letter issued by Chief Supt Colm Rooney in July 2011 to all gardaí in Cavan/Monaghan and Sligo about an internal investigation into complaints made by Sgt McCabe — giving all members at Bailieborough a clean bill of health — was like a “kick in the teeth”
  • He said this prompted him to make the serious allegations of negligence, dereliction of duty, perverting the course of justice and serious corruption against a chief superintendent, an assistant commissioner and then-commissioner Martin Callinan (subsequently rejected by the O’Higgins commission).

The tribunal is investigating if senior gardaí conducted a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe by using a false child sex abuse allegation against him.

Questioned by tribunal counsel Patrick Marrinan, he confirmed there was derogatory material posted on Facebook in 2009 referring to him “Maurice the Rat”. Asked about the cumulative effect on him and his family, he said: “You certainly are isolated and alone”.

“There are an element that blank you, not speak to you. The culture is there, it is extremely hard to speak out,” he said.

The tribunal heard that he first started making complaints about policing standards in Bailieborough to his district officer, Supt Mick Clancy in November 2007. 

He followed this with a letter on January 28, 2008 on a range of complaints and felt Supt Clancy was going to address the issues.

He said in March he wrote to Supt Clancy seeking to immediately vacate as sergeant in charge at Bailieborough and held a two-hour meeting with him.

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