Opposition support McCabe’s call for public inquiry into his case
Garda whistleblower says his family has been attacked by a number of State agencies
Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe is to seek a public inquiry into his case.
The move follows the revelations last week that Tusla wrongly sent files on Mr McCabe containing false sexual abuse allegations to An Garda Síochána and left the file active until recently.
In a statement on Monday, Mr McCabe said he and his family had been systemically attacked by a number of State agencies.
He said his family had been the subject of a long and sustained campaign to destroy its character in the eyes of the public.
In 2008, Mr McCabe alleged that the penalty points system was being abused by some gardaí.
It has been alleged that senior gardaí, including Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, subsequently orchestrated a smear campaign against Mr McCabe in an attempt to discredit him.
She has denied this, but a commission of investigation has now been established to examine the treatment of the Garda whistleblowers in the McCabe case.
Commission of inquiry
On Monday, Mr McCabe said a commission of inquiry would lead to a secret investigation which the family has no input into.
He said: “Now that the truth has emerged of the false and shocking campaign to vilify us and discredit us, there is no reason to have any secret or private inquiry under the [Commissions of Investigation Act, 2004].”
Mr McCabe said he had a number of questions for gardaí and Tusla.
He also asked present and former members of the Government to outline whether they were briefed informally or formally of the nature of the allegations against him.
“These are all matters which can be answered without any public inquiry under statue.
“The answers, if truthfully given now, would not prejudice any later inquiry and could well assist such an inquiry.”
The statement on Monday was released through Mr McCabe’s solicitors.
The McCabe family is also due to sue the State for damages following the allegations.
Opposition leaders expressed support for Sgt McCabe’s call for a public inquiry on Monday night.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said: “Fianna Fáil has long maintained that the response to this issue must have the full support of the McCabe family. Accordingly we fully support their call for a public inquiry to be conducted into this matter.”
Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin said: “In their pursuit of truth and justice, the McCabe family wishes for a public inquiry must be upheld.
“I believe we now need a full public tribunal of inquiry not just for the McCabe family but to restore trust in our public institutions.”
Full statement by Maurice and Lorraine McCabe released February 13th, 2017
We have endured eight years of great suffering, private nightmare, public defamation, and state vilification arising solely out from the determination of Maurice to ensure that the Garda Siochana adheres to decent and appropriate standards of policing in its dealings with the Irish people.
Our personal lives and our family life, and the lives of our five children, have been systematically attacked in a number of ways by agencies of the Irish state and by people working for the state in those agencies.
These events have, one way or another, given rise to a long series of state investigations, ranging from internal Garda investigations (disciplinary and administrative), the Fennelly Commission, the O’Higgins Commission, several GCOC investigations (some of them targeted indirectly at Maurice), and investigations within HSE and Tusla (some of them targeted at both of us and some of them concerning what those agencies have done to us) and the reports of Sean Guerin SC and former Judge larfhlaith O’Neill. All of these have taken place in private.
We have also been the subject of a long and sustained campaign to destroy our characters in the eyes of the public, and public representatives and in the eyes of the media.
Today, we have heard one Minister, Simon Harris, state that we are entitled to “truth and justice”.
We wish to make it clear that we are definitely not agreeable to that entitlement being wholly postponed so that another Commission of Inquiry can conduct a secret investigation behind closed doors and make a report, into which we have no input as of right, in nine or eighteen months’ time.
We are entitled to the truth today- justice can follow in its wake.
The Need For A Public Inquiry
Our experience of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation is too fresh in our minds to allow for a repetition. Although that Commission investigated a number of serious instances of malpractice in the policing function in Bailieboro and upheld Maurice’s complaints in respect of all of them, the public has never been made aware that, throughout the proceedings before that Commission, Maurice, at the hands of the legal team representing the current Commissioner, was cast in the role of culprit and/or defendant, and as a person making those complaints in bad faith and without cause.
When challenged in that respect, that legal team sought and obtained confirmation from the present Commissioner that they did so on her personal instructions.
Because the 2004 Act prohibits under pain of criminal law the publication of the actual evidence tendered to such Commissions, the public has little or no appreciation of what was done, and attempted to be done, to Maurice in the course of its hearings.
For example, against the background of the current Tusla controversy, the entirely false allegation made of sexual abuse in 2006 against Maurice was repeatedly the subject of attempts at introduction in the proceedings for the purpose of discrediting his motives and testimony.
The entire transcript of that Commission (to which we still have access) is also in the possession of the Minister for Justice and Equality and the foregoing comments can easily be verified by inspecting same.
For these reasons, we have consistently submitted that any further inquiry into these matters must be a public inquiry.
Now that the truth has emerged of the false and shocking campaign to vilify us and discredit us, there is no reason to have any secret or private inquiry under the 2004 Act.
The Truth Now:
We are now aware from the Tusla file that when the latest version of the false accusation of sexual abuse, now including an accusation of a rape offence, was made in 2013, the HSE wrote to Supt. Noel Cunningham, who had investigated the false claim in 2006, at Monaghan Garda station on 15th August 2013, seeking a meeting to discuss the matter “prior to making any contact with the alleged perpetrator’’.
We are entitled to know now whether any such meeting or discussion took place. If it did, the falsity of the rape offence allegation would have been immediately apparent to Supt. Cunningham and the claimed “error” would have been discovered immediately. Some record of any such meeting or phone discussion and some record of that discussion, if it occurred, must exist.
We are also aware from the Tusla file that the HSE counsellor who had filed the false accusation of a rape offence the previous August had been “made aware” by a third party of the erroneous claim of a rape offence, and had been contacted in a number of telephone calls by an un-named person who informed her that the Superintendent at.Bailieboro had still not been informed of the error and had been requested to meet and discuss the case with the Garda Commissioner, who was by this time Commissioner O’Sullivan. These calls can only have been made by someone in An Garda Siochana with considerable knowledge of the force’s treatment of the rape offence allegation.
A solicitor has now informed the Sunday Times that his client was contacted by the Gardai in May 2014 in connection with a complaint alleged to have been made by her in 2013. The solicitor claims that it was made clear to the Gardai that no fresh complaint had been made by his client and that the 2013 report to the Gardai was done without her authority or consent.
We now want to have simple answers to the following questions:
Did the requested meeting or phone conversation with Supt. Cunningham as sought by the HSE in August 2013 take place?
• Who was/were the Gardai who made/received phone calls to/from the HSE counsellor concerning the false rape offence allegation?
• Who interviewed the alleged victim in respect of that allegation in May 2014 as claimed by her solicitor?
• Was any of the foregoing Garda activity reported or recorded within An Garda Siochana?
• Was any of the foregoing Garda activity notified formally or informally to senior Gardai at Commissioner level, and if not why not?
• Was any decision made not to inform Maurice of the making of the 2013 allegation, and if so why and by whom?
These are simple factual questions to which we, and the Irish public, and their representatives in Dail Eireann are entitled to simple factual answers now.
These are also questions to which the Minister for Justice (under section 40 of the Garda Siochana Act, 2005), the Minister for Children (under section 69 of the Childcare Act 1991) and the Minister for Health (under section 10 of the Health Act 2004) are entitled to answers from the Commissioner, Tusla and the HSE.
Given that false allegations of sexual abuse made against Maurice were given wide currency by being leaked to the media and that they were discussed in Dail Eireann on 19th June 2014, we are entitled to know and to be informed by members of Dail Eireann acting on our behalf and on behalf of all citizens concerned with the truth of these matters, whether the present or former members of the Government (including the Taoiseach, the persons acting as Minister for Justice and the Minister for Children since 2013, or the Department of Justice) were briefed formally or informally of the making of such allegations at any time by the Garda Siochana, or by the Commissioner for the time being of An Garda Siochana at any time since August 2013.
These are all matter which can be answered without any public inquiry under statute. The answers, if truthfully given now, would not prejudice any later inquiry and could well assist such an inquiry.
We know that the present Commissioner of An Garda Siochana has claimed in public to be supportive of us while seeking ih private to discredit Maurice McCabe before the O’Higgins Commission.
We have witnessed with growing disbelief her denials of involvement in discrediting Maurice. If the foregoing questions are answered truthfully and in public now, the public will be in a position to know who to believe.