Sergeant Maurice McCabe would have kept working in An Garda Síochána but believed he couldn’t go back after everything that had happened to him, his solicitor said yesterday.
Speaking after the Irish Examiner revealed the retirement of Sgt McCabe, Sean Costello said the decision was “sad in many ways” but that the whistleblower felt it was the “only decision” available to him.
In a statement, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said Sgt McCabe and his family had “suffered greatly” and that the country owed him a “debt of gratitude”.
After the publication of the Disclosures Tribunal report three weeks ago, Mr Flanagan apologised in the Dáil to Sgt McCabe on behalf of the State and spoke to him on the phone — but confirmed yesterday he had yet to meet him in person, but would “in the near future”.
Garda commissioner Drew Harris held a private 90-minute meeting with Sgt McCabe a week ago.
Sgt McCabe retired from the force yesterday after serving 30 years.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton described the Cavan-based garda as having done the State “considerable service” and said he had suffered a “campaign of calumny” at the hands of former commissioner Martin Callinan and his press officer, David Taylor.
Speaking on RTÉ radio yesterday, Mr Costello said his client “certainly felt vindicated” by the Charleton report but that he made a personal decision to retire.
“He feels that’s the best decision, in fact, the only decision as far as it relates to the gardaí.
“It’s sad in many ways, because it was a job that he loved, he wanted to — he would have kept going, but the impact of everything that happened over the many years, he just found he wasn’t able to go back, he couldn’t go back to being a member of An Garda Síochána.”
Mr Costello said his client found Mr Harris “a very genuine, a very decent man”.
He said Sgt McCabe hoped that if the recommendations of the Charleton report are implemented and result in a changed organisation that “that is possibly the best legacy he can hope for”.