Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe has spoken publicly for the first time to dispute what he says are “false and misleading statements” which were attributed to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in reports yesterday.
In an unprecedented move for a serving garda, Sgt McCabe has placed himself in direct conflict with the commissioner by disputing a claim that Commissioner Callinan had issued him with directions which he failed to obey.
In a further escalation of the controversy it has emerged Justice Minister Alan Shatter was personally informed at least three times in 2012 by Oliver Connolly about the seriousness of the criminal cases in the dossier compiled by Sgt McCabe, according to correspondence seen by the Irish Examiner. A statement issued by Sgt McCabe last night said he felt compelled to dispute reports that he had failed to co-operate with the Garda inquiry into the deletion of penalty points.
Attached to the statement is a transcript of a conversation he had with a chief superintendent which he says completely vindicates his position. The transcript is believed to be from a tape recording.
Sgt McCabe said reports in the media that he was directed on December 14, 2012, to co-operate with Garda assistant commissioner John O’Mahony and hand over any evidence of malpractice are “both gravely misleading and false”.
Sgt McCabe and fellow whistleblower John Wilson were not interviewed by Asst Comm O’Mahony yet Commissioner Callinan and Mr Shatter have stated the two men did not co-operate with the inquiry.
“I was never directed by the commissioner to co-operate with the O’Mahony investigation as alleged,” Sgt McCabe states.
“On 14 December 2012, I was asked to remain back after duty in Mullingar Garda station to meet with Chief Superintendent Mark Curran. When he arrived he read me out a document.
“I have, fortunately, a full record of what transpired and it is attached to this statement. As appears from the record the chief superintendent refused my request to furnish me a copy of that document.
“The fact that I was denied a copy of the direction may have encouraged the author of the statement issued today about me to grossly misrepresent the terms of the commissioner’s direction as read out to me and as recorded by me. I never withheld any information or co-operation from the O’Mahony report as is now suggested. As a member of the Garda Síochána I have tried to uphold its integrity by complying with my duty and being truthful in my dealings with my superiors.”
It also emerged yesterday that in June 2012, the garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly informed Sgt McCabe that he had personally brought the issue to the attention of Mr Shatter three times over the previous five months.
The correspondence is set to increase pressure on Mr Shatter to explain why he had not acted on the serious concerns about a range of cases involving alleged negligence and malpractice set out in Sgt McCabe’s dossier.
Mr Connolly was responding to an email from Sgt McCabe in which the Garda sergeant intimated that he was despairing at the lack of progress about his complaints.
On June 21, 2012, Sgt McCabe emailed Mr Connolly: “Oliver, I know you are doing your best and have done your best but the whole system is not working under Alan Shatter.”
Later that day, Mr Connolly replied: “Maurice, I personally delivered your previous email communication for the attention of the minister. I previously met with the minister just prior to Easter regarding your matters of concern and in January I presented your confidential report. I am doing what I can. Kindest regards, Oliver.”
Mr Connolly was last week sacked from his post as confidential recipient by Mr Shatter after the emergence of a transcript of a conversation between Mr Connolly and Sgt McCabe in February 2012 at which the dossier was discussed.
The cases at issue include the attack on taxi driver Mary Lynch, and others involving serious assault and false imprisonment which were allegedly not investigated properly.
The Taoiseach, who is reviewing the dossier, has described the allegations as “grave” as sources have indicated the Cabinet is expected to provide “clarity” later today on the mechanism or process of how those allegations will be dealt with.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Government was considering legislative changes to improve arrangements for Garda whistleblowers. Mr Gilmore was joined by other ministers who pledged their support for Mr Shatter, including Pat Rabbitte.
However, there were repeated opposition calls on Mr Shatter to apologise to Sgt McCabe.
Sinn Féin’s Padraig Mac- Lochlainn said he had spoken to a new female whistleblower and he was awaiting documentation which he would forward to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to include in the ongoing review.
‘I was never directed by the commissioner to co-operate’
Statement by Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe:
“My attention has been drawn by members of the media today to a statement or press release that appears to have been released to the media earlier today in relation to me.
“The un-headed statement or press release is, I regret to say, both gravely misleading and false.
“It suggests that the Garda commissioner wrote to me 14 months ago ‘and told [me] to co-operate with the investigation into the allegation that penalty points had been cancelled’.
“It claims that the commissioner ‘issued a direction’ to me ‘to co-operate with the investigation being carried out by the assistant commissioner’ and ‘directing’ me to bring any information or concerns I had ‘to the inquiry team’.
“It goes on to say that ‘the Garda Síochána is a disciplined force and that members are required to comply with directions issued by the commissioner’, implying that I wrongfully failed to comply with the commissioner’s direction to cooperate.
“The statement further suggests that I did not comply with the commissioner’s direction during a period when I was on sick leave and that I ‘did not contact’ the assistant commissioner until ‘April 2013, by which time the investigation had been completed’.
“I was never directed by the commissioner to co-operate with the O’Mahony investigation as alleged. On 14th December, 2012, I was asked to remain back after duty in Mullingar Garda Station to meet with Chief Superintendent Mark Curran. I did so.
“When he arrived he read me out a document. I have, fortunately, a full record of what transpired and it is attached to this statement. As appears from the record, the chief superintendent refused my request to furnish me a copy of that document. I presume that this was in accordance with his superiors’ instructions.
“The fact that I was denied a copy of the direction may have encouraged the author of the statement issued today about me to grossly misrepresent the terms of the commissioner’s direction as read out to me and as recorded by me.
“I was never contacted by anyone conducting the O’Mahony investigation which completed its report without making any attempt to speak with me or to seek my input or co-operation into its inquiries. I never withheld any information or co-operation from the O’Mahony investigation as is now suggested.
“When I learned that its report had been completed without making any attempt at all to contact me, I protested at what had happened, as the record shows. At that point I was offered a totally meaningless opportunity to speak with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahony.
“As a member of the Garda Síochána, I have tried to uphold its integrity by complying with my duty and being truthful in my dealings with my superiors and with the public office holders with whom I have been dealing in relation to these matters.
“I must leave it to others to judge whether those standards are shared or have been adhered to by those who issued the false and misleading statement concerning me today.”
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