Sunday 4 December 2016

'Whistleblower' McCabe was victim of 'campaign to undermine him'

Angry Dáil demands for Garda Commissioner to explain

Published 17/05/2016 | 16:40

Maurice McCabe
Maurice McCabe

GARDA whistlebower Sergeant Maurice McCabe was a victim of a campaign to undermine him – which made its way into Commission of Inquiry into his allegations, the Dáil has been told.

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Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Sgt McCabe “felt he was the person on trial” during “adversarial exchanges” at the Commission of Inquiry chaired by Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins.

Mr Martin cited reports last Friday that lawyers acting for Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan at the Inquiry had alleged Sgt McCabe had “acted with malice.”

“It’s a very serious matter. It cuts to the heart of how whistleblowers are treated,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Both Mr Martin and Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, challenged Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, to speak to Commissioner O’Sullivan and have her specifically deal with this issue.

The Justice Minister said Commissioner O’Sullivan had fully dealt with this issue, in accordance with the Commission of Investigations Act, in her statement on Monday night.

“I’m legally constrained in what I can say,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

The Minister said the Commissioner had praised Sgt McCabe and his role in establishing the truth of what had happened. The priority now was to implement the O’Higgins report, as fully accepted by the Commissioner, and ensure that crime victims were never again badly treated.

The Minister said there had been “unfair and selective leaking” in recent days.  She said there were 97 witnesses and she had to uphold all their rights and also be careful not to create dangerous precedents about lawyer-client privilege.

Ms Fitzgerald said there will be a full Dáil debate on the O’Higgins report. She also praised one of the crime victims, Mary Lynch, and said that after a phone chat, she hoped they could meet next week.

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