Whisteblowing attempts by Sgt McCabe date back to FF-Green coalition

Picture muddied further by new revelations

The revelations in The Irish Times today that Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe first raised his concerns about alleged Garda corruption years earlier than has been reported and debated up to now, further muddies the water on what was an already complicated picture.

The new information that the whistleblowing began almost six years ago brings the matter to the term in office of Fianna Fáil, the party now taking the current Government to task for its response to whistleblowing efforts. It also reveals that at least some of the matters contained in a dossier given by Sgt Maurice McCabe to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin were investigated at the time by both the Garda and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Confidential recipient
Sgt McCabe was based in the Cavan-Monaghan division in 2008 when in May of that year he took concerns, many of neglect of duty, to the then confidential recipient Brian McCarthy, the former secretary general to the President.

The Irish Times understands from security sources that about 20 allegations were raised when Sgt McCabe went to Mr McCarthy.


They included a wide range of issues, the most serious of which was an allegation that gardaí in the division had not taken seriously a complaint from a female taxi driver who alleged two men had attempted to rape her when she was working her cab in a town in the division.

This case is separate from and unrelated to the case of taxi driver Mary Lynch that has been well documented in recent days. She was attacked by Jerry McGrath who was bailed and went on to try to kidnap a young girl in Co Tipperary only to be caught and bailed again before murdering Sylvia Roche-Kelly in a Limerick hotel in December 2007.

That case is the most serious contained in the dossier held by Mr Martin and now under review by the Government after it was forwarded to it by Mr Martin. Apart from the attempted rape of the other female taxi driver, Sgt McCabe also raised other allegations of neglect of duty when he went to the confidential recipient in May 2008.

These included allegations of gardaí being inebriated in pubs when they should have been at work, and cases of crimes – including stolen vehicles and house break-ins – that, it was alleged, were not investigated.

A central allegation was that when Sgt McCabe and other middle managers tried to address these acts of alleged indiscipline and neglect of duty, they were ignored and were not supported by those holding senior posts in the force at the time.

According to sources, Mr McCarthy took receipt of the allegations and forwarded them to the then garda commissioner Fachtna Murphy. He appointed a senior officer – believed to be an assistant commissioner – to launch a full-scale inquiry.

This involved personnel, including Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Supt Terry McGinn, travelling from Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park, Dublin, to the Cavan-Monaghan division to investigate. Sources believed no evidence warranting criminal prosecution nor internal disciplinary action was found. It is unclear whether then minister for justice Dermot Ahern was briefed on the allegations.

In May 2008, Mr Murphy notified the GSOC that the allegations had been made via the confidential recipient's office. Such notification is required under the Garda Síochána Act.

However, while the GSOC must be informed of any allegations received via the confidential recipient’s office, the rules governing Garda oversight dictate it is the Garda force that must investigate and not the GSOC.

However, the GSOC established a research, or scoping, exercise to try to determine the veracity of the complaints made by Sgt McCabe.

It spoke to a number of people, including the female taxi driver who alleged she was raped. The GSOC felt the case was not investigated properly, and on the basis of their findings they then began a formal investigation.

The GSOC probe, like the Garda investigation, did not find evidence of the level needed to ground prosecution or internal disciplinary action and the matter was closed.

After this, Sgt McCabe was transferred out of the Cavan-Monaghan division into the traffic corps in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times