Saturday 24 February 2018

Father denies part in campaign to discredit whistleblower

Stock photo
Stock photo
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Ms D made a sexual assault complaint against Sgt Maurice McCabe less than a year after her father was moved to new duties on foot of a complaint by the Garda whistleblower.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard her father was subjected to disciplinary proceedings that resulted in his reassignment in January 2005.

Just 11 months later, Ms D made an allegation against her father's colleague, Sgt McCabe.

A then-teenage Ms D alleged she had been molested by Sgt McCabe during a game of hide and seek several years earlier when she was six or seven.

The allegation was denied by Sgt McCabe and the DPP decided not to prosecute following a Garda investigation.

Ms D's father was asked at the Disclosures Tribunal about his relationship with Sgt McCabe subsequent to the disciplinary proceedings and his daughter's allegation.

He said it was his own fault he was reassigned and not the fault of Sgt McCabe.

Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, put it to him he was "on poor terms with Sgt McCabe" from the beginning of 2006 onwards.

"I wouldn't say poor terms. We weren't friends. We had a working relationship," he replied.

Mr McDowell said Ms D's father and two colleagues ended up being reassigned following an incident Sgt McCabe reported.

"I take it that after that you weren't the best of buddies," Mr McDowell said.

"We weren't the best of buddies," Ms D's father replied. "But it wasn't Sgt McCabe's fault that happened. It was my own fault."

Asked by Diarmaid McGuinness, counsel for the tribunal, whether he had been involved in a campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe, Ms D's father replied: "Absolutely not."

When journalists began contacting him in 2014 seeking to speak to his daughter, the garda said he did not ask them how they knew about the allegation she had made.

"I presumed what had happened with [Ms D] which had been reported in 2006 was an open secret in the guards," he said.

"So I presumed journalists would have been aware."

He also said that while he was wary of his daughter speaking to a journalist, he did not stand in her way.

"She needed some closure. She felt her case was never treated with the seriousness it deserved and until it was, she couldn't go on with her life," he said.

Irish Independent

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