Wednesday 13 November 2019

Tusla bosses 'need to wake up and do a day of work', says judge

Stock photo
Stock photo
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Disclosures Tribunal has strongly criticised Tusla, the child and family agency, over its handling of an incorrect sex allegation against Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe.

The tribunal heard how following a series of errors an incorrect allegation of rape ended up on a Tusla file and was notified to gardaí in 2013.

Following the publication yesterday of the tribunal's third interim report, the agency reiterated an apology it had previously issued to Sgt McCabe and his family.

In the report, Mr Justice Peter Charleton was scathing not just of the agency's handling of an unfounded sexual allegation against Sgt McCabe, which had already been investigated years earlier, but also of the response of officials when they gave evidence.

He said senior officials had offered withering criticisms of structures, personnel and conduct within the organisation.

Tusla had changed several procedures, as had Rian, the counselling service where a sexual assault allegation was incorrectly inflated to a rape allegation by a template error.

"It is not for the tribunal to advise on administrative matters; beyond saying that it is clear that management need to wake up and actually do a day of work," said Mr Justice Charleton.

"Whatever changes need to be made can be identified from this report and through the exercise of common sense."

The judge said the tribunal found that the Tusla file had been "filleted so that the full extent of the inefficiencies in Cavan/Monaghan Tusla would not be made known to the Sexual Abuse Regional Team based in Dublin who had been transferred the file in 2016".

He said the false report "had an afterlife within Tusla".

"This was not due to any action by gardaí, but was because of the astounding inefficiency of that organisation and the inertia of its management in Cavan/Monaghan," he said.

An inaccurate report of a rape offence ended up in Garda Headquarters and that was not corrected, the judge said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News