Tuesday 19 November 2019

False claim 'not spotted' in letter to Sgt McCabe

Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal Photo: Collins
Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal Photo: Collins

Gerard Cunningham

The Charleton tribunal has completed its first module and will resume on September 18, when it will look at complaints from Garda Keith Harrison.

The tribunal is looking into whether Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe was the target of a smear campaign on the direction of senior Garda management.

The first module set out to investigate the creation, distribution and use by Tusla of a file containing false allegations of sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe that was sent to gardaí in 2013, and whether these false allegations and the file were knowingly used by senior members of gardaí to discredit Sgt McCabe.

It also began investigating what knowledge former commissioner Martin Callinan, current Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, and other senior Garda members had concerning this false allegation and whether they used it to discredit Sgt McCabe.

Read More: Charleton Tribunal completes first module and will resume in September

A senior social worker has said he did not notice that an incorrect allegation against Sgt McCabe, which had previously been corrected, was repeated in a letter sent to the whistleblower in 2015.

Seamus Deeney, a principal social worker in Cavan-Monaghan, said that when he saw a Garda notification form about Sgt McCabe in May 2014, he was aware of the name and of the "whistleblowing saga that was going on".

An administrative error meant an allegation from an unrelated case was incorrectly added to a file on Sgt McCabe, which was placed on a Garda notification form in early May 2014. The DPP had directed no prosecution of Sgt McCabe in 2007 following allegations from Ms D.

Mr Deeney signed off on the Garda notification form and later in the same month, he was informed an error had been made and incorrect allegations were in the form.

Mr Deeney said he did not recall this ever happening before. In June 2014, an amended Garda notification report on Ms D was sent to gardaí.

Mr Deeney read the amended report to assure himself the incorrect information had been removed. However, a sentence saying Sgt McCabe had threatened Ms D's father if she said anything had erroneously remained in the report. "I never picked up on that at the time," Mr Deeney said.

He also said that he did not notice that a draft letter to Sgt McCabe prepared in 2015 repeated the incorrect allegation.

Mr Deeney was asked by tribunal barrister Pat Marrinan SC if he could offer any excuse for what happened. "No. Only the busyness of the office and the pressure to get work done," he said.

Irish Independent

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