Garda handling of McCabe allegations ‘shocking’

It was ‘material in allowing Fr McCabe to evade justice’

Garda handling of McCabe allegations ‘shocking’

Garda handling of McCabe allegations ‘shocking’


The Murphy Report overall assessment of Garda involvement in the McCabe case, detailed in Chapter 20, is unequivocal.

“The connivance by the Gardaí in effectively stifling one complaint and failing to investigate another, and in allowing Fr McCabe to leave the country is shocking. It is noteworthy that the Commission would not have been aware of the Garda activity in question were it not for the information contained in the Church files.”

Most of the criticism centred on Garda handling of an August 1986 abuse incident involving McCabe and a 9-year-old altar boy. They boy told his parents who reported it to gardai, who took a statement from the boy.

McCabe was called into the Garda station and was accompanied by “a friend who was a retired garda sergeant who had served in the district.”

The Murphy report found it “extraordinary that no notes were taken during the course of this interview”,while the Garda file was “missing”.

Most bizarrely, it continued, “that evening Fr McCabe went to the home of Garda Chief Superintendent Joe McGovern. Fr McCabe, then on a trip home from the US, had been staying at a house belonging to the chief superintendent since July.” It said “he [MCCABE)]made certain limited admissions to the chief superintendent who did not convey them to the investigating garda, but who did convey them and the fact of the Garda investigation to his local parish priest, Fr Curley.”

Chief superintendent McGovern told the Commission “he considered Fr McCabe’s behaviour to be a matter for the Church to deal with. This was despite his knowledge that an investigation had just commenced into an allegation of indecent assault,” as the report puts it. He said “the question of disciplining the priest was a matter for Archbishop’s House who were in the main responsible for the priest.”

A copy of the abused boy’s statement given to gardai was forwarded to Church authorities. The Murphy report said that “even though the gardaí knew that Fr McCabe intended to return to the USA, no warrant was sought for his arrest.”

Murphy noted that “between 1988 and 2003 not a single inquiry had been made by the gardaí in relation to this matter”and that “the Archdiocese’s handling of events was facilitated in significant ways by the gardaí”.

“This particular Garda investigation was marred by Church interference which was facilitated by the gardaí and which was material in allowing Fr McCabe to evade justice.”