Wednesday 22 May 2019

McCabe is praised for 'considerable service' to the State

Lauded: Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Lauded: Sergeant Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe received considerable praise from Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton in the latest report of the Disclosures Tribunal.

The judge said Sergeant McCabe, who highlighted abuses of the penalty points system and poor policing practices in the Cavan-Monaghan Garda district, was "a genuine person who at all times has had the interests of the people of Ireland uppermost in his mind".

After examining allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, the judge said he was a man who "exemplified hard work in his own calling", but was "repulsively denigrated for being no more than a good citizen and police officer".

He had been the subject of "a frontal attack" on his reputation from then Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, who believed the whistleblower was undermining standards of duty and loyalty to which Mr Callinan had devoted his career. But the judge said Sgt McCabe had "done the State considerable service" in bringing matters within the force to the attention of the wider public.

"Notwithstanding everything that happened to him, he remains an officer of exemplary character and has shown himself in giving evidence to the tribunal as being a person of admirable fortitude," the judge said.

Mr Justice Charleton said some people who come to public notice are anxious to push their career, some are intent on mischief, and some are genuine. In Sgt McCabe's case, his reason for coming forward was to maintain standards, the judge said.

"His focus was on the need of a police force to respond efficiently to victims and on the duty of everyone working in the public service to question themselves as to what, in any day's work, they had done for the taxpayer on that day. This is laudable. It is also no more than is expected of any public servant," the judge said.

Last night, Sgt McCabe said the outcome of the report means that he can finally move on with his life. Speaking on RTÉ's 'Prime Time', Mr McCabe said he accepted the findings in their entirety.

"It has been a very long day - 12 years nearly - and we're delighted with the outcome," he said. "Myself, Lorraine and the kids - we haven't read it all yet - but we're so thrilled it's out because it means it's finished for us now. All is over and I can get back to my normal job."

During the tribunal, it was pointed out that Sgt McCabe had not been right on everything and had withdrawn some allegations and been found to be incorrect on some others at the O'Higgins Commission. This was a commission which examined concerns raised by Sgt McCabe about policing matters in Cavan-Monaghan.

However, Mr Justice Charleton said it had to be remembered that Sgt McCabe was "an ordinary human being who can make mistakes and who at times is prone to grasp the wrong end of an issue".

"As Mr Justice O'Higgins put it, he is prone to exaggeration at times. His evidence, like that of any other witness, cannot just be accepted at face value but requires to be tested."

The judge said it was tested, and in the most important respect, as regards disagreements between Sgt McCabe's testimony and that of Superintendent Dave Taylor, there was "a clear preference" for Sgt McCabe's evidence.

Irish Independent

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