Garda whose daughter made abuse claim faced disciplinary action

Charleton Tribunal told Sgt McCabe became aware of ‘serious misbehaviour’ by colleague

The Garda whose daughter made an allegation of child sex abuse against Sgt Maurice McCabe was the subject of a Garda disciplinary procedure that arose as a result of the actions of Sgt McCabe, the Charleton Tribunal has heard.

Sgt McCabe was the sergeant in charge of Bailieboro Garda station when he became aware in 2006 of “serious misbehaviour” on the part of a colleague, the father of the girl who is being called Ms D.

A serious disciplinary procedure was initiated and it led to Ms D’s father losing his position and reverting to other duties.

It was only after Sgt McCabe initiated the steps that led to the disciplinary procedure that Ms D, in the company of her parents, made an allegation in 2006 of sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe.


While the 2006 allegation was a relatively mild one, a series of bizarre mistakes by a number of parties led to it becoming a false allegation in 2013, of digital vaginal and anal penetration.

The tribunal is investigating a number of matters including an alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe by senior Garda management, including a false allegation of child sexual abuse.

It is hearing evidence from Gerard Lowry, the area manager with the child and family agency, Tusla, which in 2015 wrote a letter to Sgt McCabe requesting a meeting to discuss the allegation of digital rape, even though the agency had been informed, in 2014, that the allegation was entirely erroneous.

The original allegation was that in 1998 Ms D, then 6-years-old, while playing hide and seek in Sgt McCabe’s house with his children, was party to what the tribunal has described as “horseplay” with Sgt McCabe which she later, in 2006, said involved inappropriate sexual motions, or “dry humping”.

When a letter outlining the false rape allegation was sent by Tusla to Sgt McCabe in 2015, his solicitor, Sean Costello, responded saying the original allegation was totally untrue and the allegation now being made was "new and entirely false".

Original allegation

He said when the original allegation was made, Sgt McCabe had insisted on the girl being interviewed by an independent social worker without her parents being present, and she also be interviewed by the Garda.

Sgt McCabe had also insisted on knowing the exact allegation being made, and had denied the allegation when told the details.

Mr Costello also said that the Director of Public Prosecutions, when the file was reviewed, decided not to bring charges, that no criminal offence had been described, and queried how the girl's parents could have concluded that a sexual assault had occurred given the events described.

The tribunal has heard that before the letter was sent to Sgt McCabe, Mr Lowry was sent an email containing a draft copy of the letter.

However, he never opened the draft letter, which was an attachment to the email. Mr Lowry knew that the digital rape allegation was false, and knew Sgt McCabe was a figure of national prominence who was engaged in a dispute with senior Garda management.

Asked by Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, about the reaction of social worker team leader Kay McLoughlin, when she received Mr Costello’s reply to her letter to Sgt McCabe, Mr Lowry said she was “very anxious and concerned that she had made such a significant error.”

The chairman, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, then interrupted to ask if the witness wanted to stick with his comment that "she had made a significant error".

Mr Lowry said he did. When asked about his reaction to discovering that another huge mistake had been made in relation to the McCabe file, Mr Lowry said in his business there are many difficult situations to be dealt with. “This was another one of them.” The tribunal continues.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent