Garda’s claims of McCabe contact rejected

Claims by the acting Garda commissioner, Noirín O’Sullivan, that senior Garda management are in contact with Sergeant Maurice McCabe over ongoing harassment have been rejected by sources close to him.

Garda’s claims of McCabe contact rejected

Ongoing harassment of the whistleblower within the force, despite vindication by Sean Guerin, was raised in the Dáil by independent TD Mick Wallace on Tuesday.

Ms O’Sullivan told the Justice Committee yesterday that “senior Garda management are supportive of Sgt McCabe and in contact with him on a daily basis”.

She said she had sent an assistant commissioner to reassure Sgt McCabe about support for him from senior management.

Sources close to Sgt McCabe rejected both contentions. “The only interaction management have had with Maurice even since the publication of the Guerin Report was when he approached somebody to complain about the harassment. They have never come near him otherwise.”

The source also pointed out Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny did meet Sgt McCabe the day after Guerin was published to inform him his access to the Pulse computer was being restored. “Pulse was the only thing discussed at that meeting . . . There was certainly nothing about the commissioner conveying that she supported him or recognised that Guerin had vindicated his complaints.”

The sergeant has allegedly been subjected to a number of instances of harassment in recent weeks. Among the allegations were:

* The drawing of graffiti on a duty detail in his station in which somebody had added the category of “whistleblower” to columns for “sergeant” and “garda”.

* An allegation a senior officer had, when reviewing the performance of ranked Garda members, asked them whether Sgt McCabe was hindering their work.

* When Sgt McCabe was the senior ranking officer at a fatal traffic accident, a more senior officer bypassed him and directly contacted members of ordinary rank, contrary to policy.

Ms O’Sullivan told the meeting she had arranged to contact the acting confidential recipient, asking to get in touch with Sgt McCabe’s legal team about the harassment. It is unclear, however, under what power she operated as there is no provision for management to contact the confidential recipient about a member of the force. Neither does the confidential recipient have any power to do so.

Since publication of Guerin, nobody from the commissioner’s office has contacted Sgt McCabe in any form of communication. Neither has he been contacted by his staff body, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors.

Justice Committee members also accused the Department of Justice secretary general, Brian Purcell, of “stonewalling” after he flatly refused to answer questions on why he was sent to the former Garda commissioner’s home hours before he announced his resignation.

Mr Purcell, who was sent by the Taoiseach to Martin Callinan’s home the night before he retired, said to answer such questions would be to prejudice the work of the Fennelly Inquiry into a range of Garda matters.

More in this section