TD challenges new garda chief's Dail evidence on McCabe
Published 31/05/2014 | 02:30
GARDA Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has been urged to clarify how she allegedly made a "major" mistake in evidence she gave to the Dail Justice Committee.
An Independent member of the committee, TD Finian McGrath, said the interim commissioner claimed her officials had almost daily contact with Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
The whistleblower was forced to take stress leave from work on Monday, after lodging 13 bullying and harassment complaints about his treatment in Mullingar garda station in the last month.
Ms O'Sullivan's evidence has been challenged by Mr McGrath, who said he received information indicating that Sgt McCabe was not in regular communication with her staff. He says he finds it "extraordinary" that she was told Sgt McCabe was being looked after when the "opposite was the case."
"It doesn't reflect well on senior management of the gardai at all," he told the Irish Independent. "I have concerns about the senior management that they didn't take the whole issue seriously enough.
"I believe there was gross incompetence and we need a major clarification on exactly how that cock-up was made."
After the hearing, Sgt McCabe's fellow whistleblower – retired garda John Wilson – approached Ms O'Sullivan and asked her to contact the Mullingar-based garda.
It is understood Sgt McCabe also called Ms O'Sullivan's office after her appearance at the committee hearing. "I welcome the fact that the commissioner has contacted Maurice McCabe, but senior management in the Gardai should have contacted him a long, long time ago," said Mr McGrath.
A spokesman confirmed that the commissioner has been in contact with Sgt McCabe, and has assured him of the support of garda management, as well as the fact that any matters raised by him will be fully addressed.
He confirmed the interim commissioner has also requested the sergeant to identify a suitable person to whom he would outline those issues.
She has also provided clarification to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Defence, he added.