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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Whistleblower Maurice McCabe claims he was 'harassed' before PAC hearing

Garda has compiled a list of alleged bullying incidents and sent it on to top brass

PHILIP RYAN

Published 01/06/2014 | 02:30

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Whistleblower Garda Sgt. Maurice McCabe
Whistleblower Garda Sgt. Maurice McCabe

GARDA whistleblower Maurice McCabe claims he was "harassed" by gardai just days before he was due to give evidence to the Public Accounts Committee.

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Sgt McCabe alleges attempts were made to unsettle him as he was preparing to give testimony on his penalty point allegations.

The claim is among 13 allegations of harassment and bullying Sgt McCabe lodged with Garda Headquarters in recent weeks.

He also alleges members of the force questioned his colleagues about his work performance and asked if he was a "hindrance" to their work. He was informed of this by colleagues who were approached by management.

The Sunday Independent understands a number of Sgt McCabe's colleagues are willing to give evidence about the harassment he endured.

Since Sgt McCabe went public with his penalty points allegations he has been subjected to "obscene gestures" and faced accusations that he "destroyed" the force.

On Friday, Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan was forced to clarify a statement she made to the Oireachtas Justice Committee about her staff having daily contact with Sgt McCabe.

She has since corrected her remarks and spoke with Sgt McCabe, who is now believed to be satisfied with the progress being made on his complaints.

The whistleblower compiled a list of instances of harassment he claims to have endured since the start of the year which has been sent to Garda Headquarters.

The Sunday Independent understands this list focuses particularly on the actions of three separate individuals.

Sgt McCabe alleges that, days before his much publicised appearance before the Public Accounts Committee, he was given a directive to attend a medical examination in Garda Headquarters. Rather than attend the appointment as instructed, he checked with the medical officer first and was told no examination was scheduled.

Sources close to Sgt McCabe believe this was a deliberate attempt to unsettle him before he gave private evidence on his claims.

He sought the assistance of the internal garda support service after the incident but it has yet to respond to him, Sgt Mccabe claims.

The whistleblower also claims "obscene gestures" were made at him when he was attending a seminar.

The Sunday Independent understands a number of the complaints made by Sgt McCabe are based on remarks said to other serving members of the force, and not to him directly.

Colleagues who were disturbed by the comments reported back to Sgt McCabe and are now believed to be willing to give evidence if required.

Sgt McCabe was reinstated with full access to the garda PULSE system by Ms O'Sullivan soon after the publication of the Guerin report.

He was prohibited from accessing the vital garda database despite it being essential to his work as a garda sergeant for 18 months.

When he logged back on to the system he had almost 1,600 unread emails in his inbox.

Barrister Sean Guerin's report found huge failings in how investigations were carried out in Bailieborough garda station, where Sgt McCabe was based a number of years ago. The report was also severely critical of how Garda Headquarters and the Department of Justice dealt with Sgt McCabe's complaints.

Sunday Independent

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