Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said if he had known at the outset the abuse he would suffer for lifting the lid on corruption within the gardaí he "would never have done it".
Mr McCabe, who formally left the force last month after being vindicated by an investigation, detailed how he became a victim of online abuse in the form of "obscene" photographs by former Garda colleagues on social media sites.
"If I had to know then what was facing me, I would never have done it, never," he said.
Mr McCabe, a former sergeant who faced unfounded and false allegations of a sexual assault, was praised in the Charleton Tribunal report, published last month.
The Disclosures Tribunal found former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan was part of a "campaign of calumny" against Mr McCabe, actively aided by his former press officer, Superintendent David Taylor.
In an interview set to be aired on RTÉ tonight, Mr McCabe recollected how he became isolated and ostracised within the police force for simply doing what he saw as the right thing.
The father-of-five, who joined An Garda Siochana in 1985, took up the role of sergeant-in-charge at Bailieborough in Co. Cavan in 2004.
That was where he raised complaints about policing standards within the force.
Ultimately, it led to his resignation as sergeant-in-charge and it marked the beginning of a series of allegations being made against him.
Mr McCabe added: "What I was hoping for is that the issues that I reported would be investigated and that I would get back into position as sergeant-in-charge and they'd say: 'Yes, I was right to highlight these issues'.
"If I had to know then what was facing me, I would never have done it, never."
Mr McCabe's wife Lorraine said she was "afraid" at the time that he was "getting into deep water".
"He was just pushing things too far," she said. "It wouldn't be me, I would have walked away."
In the two-part documentary on RTE One television, Mr McCabe and his wife outlined how they became aware that photographs of a plastic rat, which had been pierced with darts by off-duty gardaí, had been posted online with his name written underneath.
Mr McCabe said: "They had a plastic rat and it showed them sticking darts into it and it also showed then obscene sexual gestures with the rat and underneath the photographs was the word 'Maurice'.
"Then there was a comment 'cheese eating rat bastard' underneath."
Mrs McCabe, who described the photographs as "nasty" and "awful", said they gave them an indication of the level of animosity that her husband faced.
"It just gave us a complete sense of the feeling towards him," she said.
"I can remember just being across the road and coming home one afternoon just walking up the drive, and I'm thinking 'God, like it's a lovely house, the gardens are lovely, everything looks lovely, if you only knew the turmoil that was inside'."
The couple's marriage also became a target of Garda rumours.
"A colleague of mine in Cavan Monaghan, he rang me to say that there was a rumour that I left my wife," Mr McCabe recalled.
"He told me exactly who was saying the rumour [a Garda].
"I confronted him a few days afterwards I seen him on the street, I pulled up and told him I haven't left my wife and he said 'Oh somebody came into the station and told me that'.
"I said: 'You should have checked that out before you spread it'."