McCabe has suffered bloody nose but there is plenty still to come

Shatter is already damaged politically despite a strong Dail performance

Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the Public Account Committee meeting in Leinster House in January 2014.Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Sgt Maurice McCabe arriving for the Public Account Committee meeting in Leinster House in January 2014.Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 01:00

The name of Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe may have only become fixed in the public consciousness in recent months, but Official Ireland has heard plenty from him over the years.

Detail about the frequency and nature of his complaints outlined by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter in the Dáil yesterday painted a picture of a man who has busied himself for years in trying to expose what he sees as wholesale Garda corruption around him and not getting far.

Even allowing for the usual self serving nature of ministerial speeches, Shatter presented many facts that do not make easy reading for McCabe.

Given the blizzard of correspondence to and from the sergeant, a chronological look at events is best.

McCabe was working as a sergeant in Bailieboro in the Cavan-Monaghan division when he took a number of complaints to Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park Dublin.

They related to neglect of duty and other “malpractice” including a chief superintendent’s alleged failure to act appropriately when McCabe brought his concerns to the officer’s attention. He also claimed he had been victimised. A chief superintendent was appointed by Garda Headquarters to investigate.

Later in 2008 McCabe went to the then confidential recipient Brian McCarty
to make further serious allegations.

They included the failure by gardaí to notify a court in 2007 that Tipperary man Jerry McGrath was already on bail for attacking a female
taxi driver when he came before the courts seeking bail for the attempted abduction of a child. (He was granted bail again and while free murdered Sylvia Roche Kelly in a Limerick hotel in December 2007.)

The allegations in late 2008 concerned the failure of gardaí to properly investigate several cases including attempted rape, falsification of records, failure to deal with sexual harassment of a female garda and blocking him in assessing and monitoring probationer gardaí.

McCabe again contacted the confidential recipient alleging he was being victimised for making the earlier complaints. And later in the year he contacted the confidential recipient again about further alleged harassment. This time an assistant commissioner and chief superintendent were appointed to investigate.

He also wrote to the then minister for justice Dermot Ahern about his complaints of malpractice in Bailieboro made the previous year seeking an independent inquiry.

Ahern replied telling McCabe he had no role in interfering with Garda investigations and advised him to let the probe run its course.

When that inquiry was completed, the assistant commissioner in charge of it submitted 10 files on the allegations into the alleged malpractice in Bailieboro to the DPP, who directed there was insufficient evidence for any prosecution. The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) inquiries reached the same conclusion on the same complaints.

McCabe also made a complaint against an assistant commissioner who he alleged had assaulted and falsely imprisoned him. That allegation was investigated by a deputy commissioner and a file sent to the DPP, who directed no charges be brought.

In January, by now having been transferred to the traffic corps in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, McCabe went to the then confidential recipient Oliver Connolly. He made 12 allegations against a named superintendent for “direct wrongdoing or not dealing properly with wrongdoing” and a complaint of assault and false imprisonment against an assistant commissioner.