Taoiseach praises whistleblower McCabe for helping to reform Garda

Policing Authority notes Charleton’s comments on appointment of senior gardaí

Sgt Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Sgt Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, reacting to publication of the Disclosures Tribunal report, has praised Sgt Maurice McCabe as a distinguished police officer and thanked him for helping to reform the Garda Síochána.

Mr Varadkar said when he first met Sgt McCabe, who raised serious allegations about Garda misconduct, he had described him as distinguished police officer.

“I believe that’s what he is. I believe the Disclosures Tribunal affirms that.”

In his report on Thursday, the tribunal chair Mr Justice Peter Charleton ruled that former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan acted “cheek by jowl” with his press officer Supt David Taylor in running a campaign of “calumny” against Sgt McCabe to discredit his allegations of Garda corruption.

The Taoiseach said he was “delighted” for Sgt McCabe, his wife Lorraine and all his supporters, “that after many years of torture for him in many ways he’s now been entirely vindicated by the highest entity in the land [the tribunal]”.

“On behalf of the country I want to thank him for his bravery and thank him for helping us to reform and improve the gardaí and that is very much under way.”

The Policing Authority, which has oversight of the Garda, also welcomed the publication of the report and particularly noted Mr Justice Charleton’s criticism of how senior officers are appointed.

‘Utter mystery’

In his report, the judge said “it is an utter mystery” how Mr Callinan could have decided to choose Supt Taylor as his press officer.

Both Supt Taylor and Mr Callinan gave explanations to the tribunal on why Supt Taylor was appointed to the senior position in the press office, Mr Justice Charleton noted.

The tribunal was told Supt Taylor was “talented, experienced, articulate and so on,” the judge wrote. “He is not. All of this is just plain untrue.”

The Policing Authority said on Friday that, as the body tasked with the appointment of senior gardaí since 2017, it will consider the judge’s comments very carefully.

“The importance of proper management, supervision and performance management at all levels of the organisation has been emphasised and included by the authority in the Policing Plan for 2018,” it said in a statement.

It noted that the judge highlighted some instances of “excellent police work” and the “commitment of thousands of women and men in the Garda Síochána”. This is also the experience of the Policing Authority, it said.

Mr Justice Charleton’s findings and recommendations will be considered by the authority and discussed with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris at its next meeting with him on October 24th.