Wednesday 18 October 2017

Taoiseach's chat with whistleblower did not include an apology

Garda Maurice McCabe meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was canvassing in Mullingar
Garda Maurice McCabe meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny who was canvassing in Mullingar
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

IT was a chance encounter that cried out for an eavesdropper. So what did the Taoiseach say to the garda whistleblower who caused so much trouble for his Government and cost him his Justice Minister?

Not much, according to friends of Sergeant Maurice McCabe. But certainly not the apology that Enda Kenny had claimed he had no problem in offering the whistleblower.

Sgt McCabe was on duty at a traffic island on Market Square in Mullingar last Monday when the Taoiseach and his entourage passed by. He was canvassing with the Fine Gael local election candidate Gabrielle McFadden.

The sergeant was on hand to move on the traffic during Mr Kenny's visit to the town where he is stationed. As he posed by the Joe Dolan statue, Mr Kenny seemed unaware that the garda whistleblower was just across the street.

But an observant local journalist recognised Sgt McCabe and pounced. Drawing Mr Kenny's attention to Sgt McCabe, Ronan Casey of the Westmeath Topic said: "Are you going to use the opportunity to meet him in person and apologise?"

Mr Kenny demurred but eventually caved to Mr Casey's persistence. He darted over to Sgt McCabe, smiled for the cameras, and asked the reporters to turn off their recorders.

As to what transpired, a friend of Sgt McCabe told them he was stunned when Mr Kenny approached.

Mr Kenny said: "Hello, Sgt McCabe," and asked if he was well.

The sergeant took his hand and graciously thanked Mr Kenny for his help.

Mr Kenny smiled but said nothing of note, according to the sergeant's friend, but just kept on pumping his hand.

"He didn't apologise," said the friend.

Mr Kenny and his entourage moved on and Sgt McCabe returned to work.

Days before his unexpected first face-to-face encounter with the whistleblower, Mr Kenny told the Dail: "I've no problem in apologising to Sgt McCabe for the issues that he raised and for the fact that his raising these matters wasn't dealt with more speedily in the first instance."

Sunday Independent

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