Tuesday 21 May 2019

'I wanted to vent' - Ms D tells of fury at portrayal of Maurice McCabe as 'a hero'

Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Photo: Collins
Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Photo: Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE young woman who complained she was sexually assaulted as a child by Sgt Maurice McCabe said she told her story to a journalist as she was “furious” the whistleblower was being portrayed as “a hero” in the media.

The woman, known as Ms D, told the Disclosures Tribunal how she became upset and had to walk out of a college lecture where Sgt McCabe “and what an honourable man he was” was being discussed.

“I wanted to vent. I wanted someone to listen to me,” she said of her decision to contact Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams.

“I simply wanted people to understand there was a different side to this man and he was not the saint he was being portrayed to be,” Ms D said.

During sometimes emotional testimony, a tearful Ms D said her father, a garda colleague of Sgt McCabe, had suggested she may wish to speak to Mr Williams.

The tribunal heard Mr Williams’ name was initially suggested to Ms D’s father by his friend and colleague, Det Supt John O’Reilly.

Paul Williams. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Paul Williams. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Two articles appeared in the Irish Independent, in which neither Ms D nor Sgt McCabe were identified, stating a young woman was unhappy with how a complaint she had made against an unnamed garda had been investigated.

The tribunal has previously heard how, as a teenager, Ms D complained to gardaí in 2006 that she had been molested by Sgt McCabe when she was aged six or seven during a game of hide and seek in his home.

The complaint was investigated but no prosecution was directed by the DPP.

Ms D subsequently developed coping issues and went to the HSE’s Rian counselling service for support in 2013.

During two sessions with counsellor Laura Brophy she mentioned her allegations against Sgt McCabe.

Ms Brophy subsequently erroneously sent a notification to HSE social services containing a totally inaccurate allegation of digital rape.

A series of further errors led to this incorrect allegation being referred to Bailieborough Garda Station in Co Cavan.

Under questioning from tribunal counsel Kathleen Leader, Ms D said the allegation she had told Ms Brophy about was the same one she had made to gardaí in 2006.

She said she recalled Ms Brophy saying something to the effect she may have to refer the allegation onwards.

Ms D said this immediately “got my back up”.

“I was there to deal with current emotions. I did not want anything referred,” she said.

Although Ms Brophy said she may have to refer the allegation, Ms D said she wasn’t made aware that this had happened.

During 2014 when Sgt McCabe was becoming a prominent figure, a number of journalists called to Ms D’s parents’ house seeking an interview.

Ms D said she hadn’t heard of two of the journalists, Debbie McCann and Eavan Murray.

She said she decided she wanted to tell her story, but wished to do so with a journalist she felt she could trust.

Ms D said she knew of Paul Williams from his books and because she had read some of his articles as a part of a course she was doing in college.

She asked her father to make contact with Mr Williams and an interview was arranged.

“Nobody prompted me to speak to any reporter. I wanted to speak to him myself,” she said.

Asked about her motivation for doing the interview, she said: “Obviously I had a personal grievance with Maurice McCabe.”

She continued: “He was being described as a hero. It resurrected feelings for me.”

She met with Mr Williams on March 8, 2014 and two articles appeared on April 12 and April 15.

“I told Paul Williams I was unhappy with the way my case was investigated,” she said.

She said the journalist advised her that she may wish to consider making a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) if she was unhappy with the investigation.

Ms D made a statement to GSOC on July 3, 2014.

She told the tribunal Mr Williams arranged for her to meet Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin, who had received a dossier from Sgt McCabe about alleged failings in various garda investigations.

Mr Martin had raised the dossier on the floor of the Dáil.

“I felt my case was not being investigated properly and was more serious than those being brought to the attention of the Dáil.

Ms D said she also wrote to barrister Sean Guerin, who did an examination of the cases detailed in the dossier.

“Again, I could not understand why my case was not included in this investigation,” she said.

Ms D said no one had prompted her to contact Mr Martin or Mr Guerin.

“Paul did not put me up to going to anyone. He suggested these were things that might help in getting my case investigated,” she said.

Ms D said Mr Williams helped her to meet Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter in June 2014, after he had stepped down as justice minister.

She said Mr Williams told her Mr Shatter had contacted him and wanted to have Ms D’s case included in the Guerin report.

Ms D said she went to meet Mr Shatter “because Michéal Martin had done nothing for me”.

Mr Shatter subsequently raised the case in the Dáil.

The tribunal continues.

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