Friday 6 December 2019

Garda official alleged to have said 'we're going after' McCabe

John Barrett told the tribunal of his ‘shock’ at the comment
John Barrett told the tribunal of his ‘shock’ at the comment
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A senior civilian official at An Garda Síochána is alleged to have told a colleague "We are going after" Maurice McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.

Garda human resources director John Barrett told the Disclosures Tribunal that the comment was made to him by Cyril Dunne, the former chief administration officer of the force.

In evidence to the tribunal yesterday, Mr Barrett said he was shocked by the remark, which was made following a meeting with Mr Dunne and the then Garda commissioner, Nóirín O'Sullivan, about an unrelated matter.

Although he took no note of it at the time, he believed that the meeting took place on May 13, 2015, the day before the commission held its first hearing.

In a statement to the tribunal, Mr Barrett said: "Mr Dunne asked me to remain in his office after the other attendees had left and, with reference to Sgt Maurice McCabe, said, 'We are going after him in the commission'."

Mr Dunne, who no longer works for An Garda Síochána, has denied the allegation and is due to give evidence to the tribunal at a later date.

In the months leading up to that meeting, Mr Barrett had been assigned by Ms O'Sullivan to be the force's principal point of contact with Sgt McCabe as part of an effort to resolve workplace difficulties that the whistleblower was having at Mullingar Garda Station.

In evidence yesterday, he said Mr Dunne's remark "came out of the blue".

He said: "The comment I found shocking. It jarred with what was a cottage industry of activity around seeking to improve the working conditions in Mullingar.

"It was at the tail end of a meeting about another topic entirely in Mr Dunne's office. He said it to me as I was leaving and I turned to him and said 'You must be joking'."

He told tribunal counsel Diarmaid McGuinness that he initially didn't understand the significance of the remark, but its relevance occurred to him several weeks later.

Irish Independent

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