Tuesday 20 March 2018

Former Garda Commissioner alleged to have claimed Maurice McCabe sexually abused his own children and nieces, tribunal hears

Sgt Maurice McCabe. Picture: Collins
Sgt Maurice McCabe. Picture: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is alleged to have claimed whistleblower Maurice McCabe sexually abused his own children and nieces, the Disclosures Tribunal has heard.

Sgt McCabe broke down as he told the Disclosures Tribunal about an alleged conversation between Mr Callinan and Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness.

He said Mr McGuinness contacted him and informed him about the meeting he had with the then commissioner in January 2014.

It is thought the meeting occurred the day before Sgt McCabe was due to give evidence in a private session of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee about penalty points abuses.

“He [Mr McGuinness] told me he met the former commissioner Martin Callinan at the Red Cow Inn and he said I wasn’t to be trusted and I sexually abused all my children and my nieces,” Sgt McCabe said.

“He also said he [Mr Callinan] grabbed his arm when he got out of the car and said: ‘Its very serious. Its very serious’.”

Sergeant Maurice McCabe arrives to be questioned at the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle (Niall Carson/PA)
Sergeant Maurice McCabe arrives to be questioned at the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle (Niall Carson/PA)

It is understood Mr Callinan is denying the allegations.

The alleged conversation is said to have occurred just days after Mr Callinan himself appeared at the PAC and described the conduct of Sgt McCabe and another garda whistleblower as “disgusting”.

During tearful evidence, Sgt McCabe also told the tribunal how he made contact with former Garda press officer Superintendent David Taylor in 2016.

They agreed to meet on September 20, 2016 and at this meeting Supt Taylor told him: “Look it, I destroyed you.”

Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor told him Mr Callinan compiled text messages about Sgt McCabe which he instructed the press officer to send to other senior gardaí, journalists and TDs. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of text messages were sent, Supt Taylor is alleged to have told him.

“He started telling me he was the press officer. He said there was an orchestrated campaign to attack me. He said it was in the form of whispering, of phone calls, of texts,” said Sgt McCabe.

“He said he did it on the instructions of Martin Callinan. He said ex-commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was aware of it all.”

Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor told him: “Martin Callinan always wrote the text messages and I was asked to send them on.

“He said he would always send them on to ex-commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and she would reply: ‘Perfect’.”

Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor got upset as he was telling him all this. The superintendent’s wife told him Taylor was in contact with a spiritual person and had to confess for all he had done.

“He [Supt Taylor] started telling me An Garda Síochána was obsessed with me,” said Sgt McCabe.

He said Supt Taylor alleged that if there was a radio item about Sgt McCabe or he was praised in a newspaper article, Mr Callinan would say: “Do him down. He has to be buried.”

Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor told him everything went through him as press officer.

“He said Martin Callinan was the main person. Martin Callinan would encourage Dave Taylor to spread the rumour about me. That I had been investigated for sexual assault, to do me down.”

Sgt McCabe said Supt Taylor told him there was a file on him in Garda Headquarters codenamed Oisín and someone was monitoring him on Pulse.

Both Mr Callinan and Ms O’Sullivan have denied Supt Taylor’s allegations.

Earlier, Sgt McCabe said “the floodgates” opened against him after his conduct was described as “disgusting” by Mr Callinan at the PAC.

The then commissioner said there were two people in a force of over 13,000 “making extraordinary, serious allegations” against fellow officers, but there wasn’t “a whisper anywhere else”.

“On a personal level I think it is quite disgusting,” Mr Callinan said at the hearing.

Asked about his reaction to the remark, Sgt McCabe said: “If I was to do it [the whistleblowing] all over again, I would never have highlighted penalty points.

“It was at that stage I started to get all of the hassle. After that comment the floodgates were opened.”

Sgt McCabe said that while many colleagues were supportive of him, others were not.

“You certainly after isolated and alone,” he said, adding that there were often places where he wasn’t welcome.

“There are an element that would just blank you, not speak to you. The culture is there that it is very hard to speak out.”

Earlier the Tribunal heard how Sgt Maurice McCabe told his superintendent he was forced out of his job as sergeant-in-charge at Bailieborough Garda Station as a result of victimisation and a lack of support.

Sgt McCabe told his then superintendent Michael Clancy in March 2008 he had raised a number of concerns about malpractice at the station, but not all of he issues were dealt with and he had ended up being victimised.

The Disclosures Tribunal heard a transcript of a recorded conversation in which Sgt McCabe claimed he had effectively been constructively dismissed.

In the months preceding the conversation he had made a series of serious complaints to Supt Clancy about the conduct of colleagues at the Garda station.

On March 4 he wrote a letter saying he was vacating his sergeant in charge role and seeking a transfer, due to a lack of management support, standards, accountability and duty to the public at the Garda station.

Giving evidence to the tribunal today, Sgt McCabe said "the straw that broke the camel’s back" was an assault case where the victim was asked to withdraw their statement.

On March 11 that year he discussed his concerns with Supt Clancy and the conversation was recorded.

A transcript was read today by Patrick Marrinan SC, counsel for the tribunal.

During the conversation, Sgt McCabe said: "I mean investigation files were not being done and I brought this to your attention and I suffered as a result. I was completely victimised as a result."

Sgt McCabe went on to say: "I was forced out of my position as a result of my employer and that is constructive dismissal."

He told Supt Clancy it was unfair to expect him to remain at the Garda station when he didn’t have the backing of his superintendent.

The first serious complaint made by Sgt McCabe was on November 15, 2007, when he wrote to Supt Clancy pointing out defects with the investigation of a case known as the Lakeside Manor assault.

He was concerned about neglect of duty and inexperience by the garda involved in the case.

Supt Clancy responded on November 27, agreeing that the investigation was unsatisfactory and a garda was reprimanded.

Then on January 28, 2008, Sgt McCabe wrote to Supt Clancy again, this time with a long list of concerns about standards at Bailieborough Garda Station.

These included members not turning up for duty on time or at all, gardaí not doing foot patrols, investigation files not being done or being done very poorly, incidents not being investigated, gardaí hanging around the station, public officers reading the newspaper and watching television on duty, calls not being attended to, assignments not being performed, warrants not being executed, and incidents not being recorded on Pulse.

He went on to say that cliques were forming and there were constant coffee and tea breaks, the tribunal heard.

The tribunal heard how prior to making these complaints, Sgt McCabe had been having difficulties with a colleague, known as Mr D.

This colleague’s daughter, known as Ms D, had made an allegation in 2006 that Sgt McCabe had sexually assaulted her as a child years earlier.

An investigation was conducted by Inspector Noel Cunningham and the Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to press charges as no crime was described.

Sgt McCabe told the tribunal he was informed by Insp Cunningham in April 2008 that he had been exonerated.

Although Sgt McCabe had a good idea of the full DPP directions, as a result of separate conversations with Insp Cunningham and the local State solicitor, the D family had not been given the full findings.

While they knew in general terms that no charges were being brought, they did not have a copy of the DPP’s letter or a fuller explanation of the directions.

Sgt McCabe said there were two subsequent incidents involving the D family.

On October 15, 2008 his accuser’s mother, Mrs D, showed up at Bailieborough Courthouse.

“She looked over to me and walked over to me,” said Sgt McCabe.

However, she did not get to speak to him as Insp Cunningham, who was also present, intervened and advised her to leave.

Two days later, Ms D hopped out of her car after seeing Sgt McCabe on the street and followed him on foot.

Sgt McCabe said he "didn’t want a confrontation" and walked to the Garda station and went inside.

Questioned by Mr Marrinan, Sgt McCabe said he wasn’t chased and Ms D did not follow him into the station.

Nevertheless, the incident had an impact on him.

"I felt it was awful. I couldn’t understand it," he said.

The incidents were reported and a short time later both Ms D and her mother were cautioned.

Sgt McCabe said he had conversations with Supt Clancy over lunch and coffee about his concerns the D family did not know the full facts.

He said Supt Clancy asked him to make a record of issues in relation to Mr D and his family and he would see what he could do about getting the DPP directions given to them.

Sgt McCabe wrote a letter to Supt Clancy stating: "I am a very dedicated member of An Garda Síochána and each officer I have worked with can vouch for this.

"I am a member with five children and the scurrilous allegation has ruined my life forever.

"I am a completely changed person in that I don’t trust anyone any more.

"I urge the Director of Public Prosecutions to allow the full DPP directions to be conveyed to me and the other party, in particular Mrs D, in this particular case due to the fact that all parties work in close proximity and I would really appreciate it. That is all I am asking."

Sgt McCabe signed off the letter saying all he was seeking was fairness and the dissemination of the outcome of the investigation "to prevent further attacks on me".

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