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Friday 19 September 2014

Whistleblower McCabe still harassed, claims Wallace

Published 28/05/2014 | 02:30

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Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe. Picture: Tom Burke
Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe. Picture: Tom Burke

THE garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe is continuing to suffer harassment from fellow members of the force, according to Independent TD Mick Wallace.

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The Wexford deputy last night claimed that Sgt McCabe had been told by colleagues that he had "destroyed the force".

"He is suffering harassment and abuse," Mr Wallace said.

"He has been told by senior officers that he destroyed the force. He has reported the abuse through the proper channels. And there is no change.

"It is hard to believe that a man who has been so selfless and relentless in the pursuit of justice could still be treated like this, given all we now know."

Mr Wallace was speaking during a debate on his proposed bill, which aims to strengthen the Garda Ombudsman.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she would raise the claims about Sgt McCabe with the acting Garda Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan.

In relation to the bill, Ms Fitzgerald said it was accepted in principle by the Government.

Separately, the secretary general of the Department of Justice has indicated that he may refuse to answer questions on the departure of the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Brian Purcell will finally appear in front of the Oireachtas Justice Committee today – two weeks after he was first invited.

TDs say they want to quiz Mr Purcell over a number of issues, including Mr Callinan's departure and the impact of the recent garda scandals on morale within the force.

"There are several different areas that Mr Purcell, as secretary general, needs to address, including Mr Callinan's departure," according to Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.

But in a letter last night, the under-pressure Mr Purcell appeared to snub the committee's demands.

He said that he could only address matters relating to the Guerin Report, specifically his department's failure to deal with allegations raised by Maurice McCabe.

Mr Purcell argued that by answering questions on matters aside from the Guerin report, he could "prejudice" the upcoming Commission of Investigation led by retired judge Nial Fennelly.

The commission was set up to examine the recording of phone calls in and out of garda stations. Mr Purcell is due to appear as a witness.

However, he will come under pressure from committee members to answer questions on Mr Callinan's departure.

Witness

Mr Purcell was sent to Mr Callinan's house by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, where he is understood to have "made it clear" to Mr Callinan that he no longer had the Government's support. Mr Callinan resigned the following day.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Justice Committee member Mr Farrell said any attempt by Mr Purcell not to answer questions on the matter would have a "corrosive effect" on the workings of the committee.

"I would not view it as acceptable for the secretary general of a department to stonewall a committee," he said.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the position of the next Garda Commissioner will be advertised in the coming weeks.

Ms O'Sullivan will also be appearing in front of the Justice Commitee today.

Irish Independent

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