Thursday 19 April 2018

Garda official allegedly told colleague they were 'going after' whistleblower, tribunal hears

Maurice McCabe
Maurice McCabe
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 the comment was made to him by Cyril Dunne, the former chief administration officer of the force.

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

Although he took no note of it at the time, he believes 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 the whistleblower was having at Mullingar Garda Station.

In evidence today, he said Mr Dunne’s remark “came out of the blue”.

“The comment I found shocking. It jarred with what was a cottage industry of activity around seeking to improve the working conditions in Mullingar,” he said.

“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 I said: ‘You must be joking’.”

Mr Barrett said he may well have also used an expletive.

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

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