Maurice McCabe: in retrospect, I would not have become whistleblower
In RTÉ documentary, Garda whistleblower recalls litany of abuse and allegations against him
Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife, Lorraine, arrive at the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle in May 2018. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said that if he had known at the outset what was facing him he “would never have done it”.
Mr McCabe, who retired from An Garda Síochána last month, said how he suffered abuse on social media, which included pictures of a plastic rat with the caption “Maurice”.
The Disclosures Tribunal found former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan and Supt David Taylor had engaged in a “campaign of calumny” against Sgt McCabe. The tribunal found this was done by the two men to denigrate Sgt McCabe in response to his whistleblowing regarding Garda matters.
In a documentary aired on RTÉ One on Monday night, Mr McCabe recalled how he had raised concerns of misconduct while he was sergeant in Bailieborough Garda station, Co Cavan.
Mr McCabe said when he raised concerns, “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 told of being “afraid” at the time that he was “getting into deep water”. “He was just pushing things too far. It wouldn’t be me, I would have walked away,” she said.
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 officers, had been posted online with his name written underneath.
“They had a plastic rat and it showed them sticking darts into it. And it also showed . . . obscene sexual gestures with the rat, and underneath the photographs was the word ‘Maurice’,” he said. “Then there was a comment ‘cheese eating rat bastard’ underneath.”
Indication of animosity
Mrs McCabe, who described the photographs as “nasty” and “awful”, said they gave them an indication of the animosity her husband faced.
“It just gave us a complete sense of the feeling towards him,” she says. “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’.”
Mr McCabe said when “Ms D” made a complaint of alleged sexual assault in December 2006 against him, which she said occurred in 1998, “it completely changed our family life”.
“I didn’t bath the kids ever again or wash them. I wouldn’t be here if there was visitors with their children. I’d always have something to do or somewhere to go,” he said.
Mr McCabe said he entered St John of God psychiatric hospital in Dublin for a short period after he left Bailieborough Garda station.
“I think it was the pile-up of stuff that I decided I needed help. I went to the doctor and he felt that I should go in somewhere for a while... I expected to be in there (St John of God) for quite a while. I didn’t sleep nearly for the whole night,” he said.
“Up the next morning, I had the family at home, I knew they needed me. I realised no, this is no place for me, I’m not staying here.”
Mr McCabe also referenced former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan’s description in January 2014 of whistleblower actions as “disgusting”.
“I knew I was finished in the guards after that, I did,” he said.
“He was the Garda commissioner, he was saying this, every guard in the country and every senior officer, they heard this ,and that was the way to go, that this man, what he did, it’s disgusting.”