Saturday 24 September 2016

Inquiry finds no evidence of wrongdoing by Callinan

Paul Williams

Published 10/05/2016 | 02:30

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Sergeant Maurice McCabe: ‘A man of integrity and courage’. Photo: Tom Burke

A judge-led independent inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing by garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe found "not a scintilla of evidence" to support his claims of corruption against former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

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The Commission of Investigation chaired by Mr Justice Kevin O'Higgins said Sgt McCabe's accusation was "unfounded and deeply hurtful" to Mr Callinan, who was forced to retire in 2014.

The commission's as-yet-unpublished report, some of which has been seen by the Irish Independent, also clears former justice minister Alan Shatter who, it said, had taken Sgt McCabe's complaints "very seriously".

Mr Shatter was forced to resign after he was accused in the Guerin Report of not heeding the whistleblower.

However, the O'Higgins Commission found that the former minister had very substantial personal concerns about the allegation and his subsequent actions were "entirely reasonable and appropriate".

The comprehensive report into the claims surrounding the standard of criminal investigations carried out in the Bailieboro Garda district in Co Cavan in 2007 and 2008 found no evidence to substantiate claims of any corruption by gardaí serving there.

Sgt McCabe was commended as a man of integrity, a "dedicated and committed member" of An Garda Siochána who had acted out of "genuine and legitimate concerns" and had shown "courage" in performing a public service at considerable cost.

The report states that the whistleblower was never less than truthful, although he was prone to exaggeration on occasion, and concluded that he was due the gratitude of the public and the Garda organisation.

The commission upheld some of Sgt McCabe's complaints concerning serious flaws and failings in eight specific criminal investigations, including the case of Jerry McGrath, who murdered Sylvia Roche Kelly in Limerick in 2007.

The investigation identified serious deficiencies in the management of the Garda district, where inexperienced and probationer officers were left to investigate crimes without adequate supervision.

The victims of crime had not been "well served" by the force or the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and much of the failings was down at "a human level and caused by poorly supervised individuals".

However, the reports says that some of his allegations were found to be "overstated", "exaggerated", "unfounded" and "withdrawn".

The commission also rejected allegations and complaints against a number of other senior officers. The report dismissed a total of 19 individual complaints against Chief Superintendent Michael Clancy, who had been the superintendent in charge of Bailieboro at the time of the allegations.

Irish Independent

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