Top gardaí hit back at claims by McCabe

Garda management has hit back at claims by whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe that he was not directed to co-operate with an internal inquiry and that no attempts were made to seek his input.

As Justice Minister Alan Shatter prepares for a fresh grilling in the Dáil today over his handling of the affair, senior gardaí said “several attempts” were made to contact Sgt McCabe, in addition to two directives from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Those directives — delivered last November and December — ordered the sergeant to stop accessing and distributing data from the Garda Pulse computer system and invited him to bring his concerns to an investigation set up specifically to examine his allegations.

However, he was not interviewed as part of the investigation, which was published last May. Last October, Mr Shatter told the Dáil Sgt McCabe “didn’t co-operate” with the O’Mahony investigation.

Following comments attributed to the commissioner on Monday, Sgt McCabe issued a public statement saying those comments were “false and misleading”. Sgt McCabe said he was never “directed” by the commissioner to co-operate with the investigation.

He said he “never withheld any information or co-operation” from the inquiry and further stated he was “never contacted by anyone conducting the O’Mahony investigation”. Sgt McCabe said the inquiry completed its work without “making any attempt to speak with me or to seek my input or co-operation”.

A senior Garda source said a directive issued on December 14, 2013, publicised in the newspapers on Tuesday, told Sgt McCabe that he could bring his concerns to the internal inquiry.

Elsewhere in the conversation between Sgt McCabe and a chief superintendent he was told on three other occasions he “can”, “should” or “needs to” contact the internal inquiry.

“Is a sergeant with 29 years experience saying he doesn’t understand what he needed to do?” said a senior Garda source.

He said a second directive was issued on December 27 to the same effect. The source said Sgt McCabe’s superintendent made “several attempts” to contact him on December 28 and December 29.

“He failed to make contact by phone and called out to his home and was informed by his wife that he was sick and could not see him,” said the source.

Sgt McCabe rang in sick on December 31 and returned from sick leave to work on March 31. The source said he was informed on April 1 of the directives and that he could inform the O’Mahony investigation of any issues.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Callinan said he welcomed the appointment of senior counsel Seán Guerin, tasked by the Government to examine investigations into the 12 allegations of Garda misconduct compiled by Sgt McCabe. He said gardaí looked forward “to fully co-operating” with the barrister.

The Taoiseach said previous investigations by the Garda and DPP into 11 of the 12 cases had found the allegations to be “groundless”, but said the Sgt McCabe’s dossier “directly contradicts” these findings.

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