Tuesday 20 February 2018

McCabe family suing for damages over false sexual abuse allegation

Garda Whistleblower Sgt. Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine photographed at their home in Mount Nugent on the Cavan/Meath border
Garda Whistleblower Sgt. Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine photographed at their home in Mount Nugent on the Cavan/Meath border
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Maurice McCabe and his family have issued proceedings against the HSE and Tusla seeking damages over the creation of a file containing false sexual abuse allegations against the garda whistleblower.

Sgt McCabe, his wife Lorraine, and their four children initiated proceedings earlier this week for malicious falsehood, breach of privacy and breach of constitutional rights, Independent.ie has learned.

Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe
Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe

Reliefs are also being sought to compel the HSE and Tusla provide information and documents to the family.

It is understood that certain injunctions may also be sought as part of the proceedings.

The High Court proceedings were initiated on Wednesday.

However, statements of claim have yet to be served on the HSE and Tusla.

A counsellor who filed false accusations of sexual abuse against Sgt McCabe was working for the HSE’s National Counselling Service when the claims were made in August 2013.

The following May Tusla was told the accusation was the result of a clerical error.

However, the untrue sexual abuse claim remained on a Tusla file until at least January 2016 when a member of its staff, unaware there was no substance to it, contacted Sgt McCabe.

The Tusla file, which included details of Sgt McCabe, his wife and his children, was also shared with gardaí.

Both Tusla and the HSE have issued apologies to the McCabes.

However, the McCabes rejected the HSE apology.

They said the HSE statement in which the apology was issued was wrong and that information in it did not coincide with information released to the McCabes by Tusla under the Freedom of Information Act.

The HSE statement said that once the alleged error was discovered all proper procedures were taken by the HSE.

However, the McCabes said their FOI file showed the opposite.

The lawsuit was filed just two days after the Disclosure Tribunal, which will investigate claims of an alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, opened at Dublin Castle.

The tribunal is currently seeking submissions from anyone with information about matters covered by its terms of reference.

Parties have until March 13 to make submissions and hand over any evidence they have to the tribunal, which is headed by Mr Justice Peter Charleton.

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