Friday 15 February 2019

State to write 'open letter' to Maurice McCabe in bid to solve damages actions through mediation

Maurice McCabe and wife Lorraine
Maurice McCabe and wife Lorraine

Tim Healy

The State wants to mediate several damages actions brought against it by retired garda sergeant and whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

The High Court heard on Monday that the State is to write "an open letter" to Mr McCabe's solicitors in an effort to see if several actions brought by him against parties can be resolved through mediation.

The mediation offer was mentioned when one set of proceedings brought by Mr McCabe against parties including the Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, Ireland the Attorney General, and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callanan, was mentioned before the court. 

Mr McCabe's lawyers had filed a motion seeking a judgement against the parties over their alleged failure to file a defence to his claim.

Gerard Meehan Bl, for the State defendants, said his clients had not filed a defence as it would not help bring the sides together in a bid to see if a "conciliatory mediation" could take place.

Counsel said the proposed mediation would involve all cases taken against the State by Mr McCabe.

The proposed mediation was being made not just in the interests of all the parties but also "in the public interest," he said.

Counsel said the state will write to Mr McCabe's solicitors Sean Costello & Co to see if mediation was possible. 

Emily Maloney Bl, for Mr McCabe, expressed her client's concerns about any further delays in the cases.

Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds adjourned the case against the State for three weeks.

The Judge said she understood Mr McCabe's concerns about delays, but in the circumstances was prepared to adjourn the matter. 

Separately a number of pretrial motions in actions taken by the retired sergeant, his wife, and their four children, against the HSE and Tusla the Child and Family Agency, were also mentioned before the court.

The McCabes had brought applications seeking judgments against the HSE and the CFA over an alleged failure to file defences to their claims. 

The applicaitons in those cases, where the McCabes seek damages over the false sexual abuse allegations made against him, were struck out with the consent of the parties.

It was also agreed that defendants could have an additional four weeks to file their defences to the claims. 

Previously the state admitted liability in personal injuries claims and a defamation action brought by Mr McCabe.

Last October Mr McCabe retired from An Garda Siochana, following 30 years service, weeks after the publication of the Disclosures Tribunal report in which Mr Justice Peter Charleton described the Cavan-based sergeant as having done the State “considerable service”.

The Tribunal found former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Supt David Taylor had engaged in a smear campaign against Mr McCabe in response to his whistleblowing.

The report found that Mr McCabe was a genuine person who had the interests of the people of Ireland in his mind at all times.

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