Friday 15 December 2017

Senior garda could have cleared up confusion over McCabe report but didn't reply to HSE

HSE social work team leader Keara McGlone leaving Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
HSE social work team leader Keara McGlone leaving Dublin Castle yesterday. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A garda superintendent never responded to a request from a HSE manager for a meeting to discuss an allegation of abuse against whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, the Disclosures Tribunal has heard.

HSE social work team leader Keara McGlone said had the officer, Supt Noel Cunningham, responded to her, the allegation would not have ended up being referred to gardaí.

Ms McGlone gave evidence that she wrote to the superintendent on August 15, 2013, asking for a meeting.

This was after a counsellor with the HSE's Rian counselling service, Laura Brophy, had contacted Ms McGlone's colleague Briege Tinnelly and verbally told her that an allegation had been made against Sgt McCabe by a woman known as Ms D.

Ms D alleged she had been "dry humped" by Sgt McCabe as a child during a game of hide and seek.

Ms McGlone said the HSE was aware an allegation from Ms D had been investigated six years previously and that there was no prosecution.

Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal. Photo: Collins
Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the Disclosures Tribunal. Photo: Collins

However, it was her view that there still needed to be a meeting with Sgt McCabe to assess if he posed a risk to any children.

"From my point of view there was an assessment still outstanding," she said.

But she wanted to confer with gardaí before taking action.

Under questioning from Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, Ms McGlone said she never heard back from Supt Cunningham, who had investigated the original complaint.

She said she did not take any further steps to chase it up with him as she was dealing with 230 other child abuse cases awaiting allocation.

Michéal P O'Higgins, counsel for the Garda Commissioner, told the tribunal Supt Cunningham had acknowledged he failed to respond to Ms McGlone's letter due to being on leave and a family bereavement.

Ms McGlone said a file on Sgt McCabe was opened following the verbal report by Ms Brophy. She left a note in it saying there was a "duty to notify gardaí".

The tribunal heard that in addition to Ms Brophy's verbal report, she also sent a written report, containing a major error. Ms McGlone said she never saw the written report, which contained a much more serious allegation than the one which had been made by Ms D.

It included an allegation, apparently copied in error from a report relating to another woman, Ms Y, who alleged she had been the victim of digital penetration, both vaginal and anal.

The tribunal heard that on April 30 the following year a duty social worker, Laura Connolly, examined the file and initiated a garda notification, based on the details contained in the incorrect report.

She testified that she overlooked the fact two different names, those of Ms D and Ms Y, appeared in the same HSE file.

Irish Independent

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