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Saturday 24 February 2018

False McCabe sex abuse allegation ended up in the wrong file 'because information wasn't deleted from a template'

Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine. Photo: Barry Cronin
Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine. Photo: Barry Cronin
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

An error which lead to a false sex abuse allegation being included in a file on garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe was a "failure to delete" error, not a copy and paste error the counsellor at the centre of the controversy has said.

RTÉ PrimeTime last night revealed that it has been clarified that the error which saw a false allegation of abuse of a young girl levelled against Mr McCabe occurred because she used a template and failed to delete some information from a previous report.

She did not notice before sending it on.

Journalist Katie Hannon quoted a source who has seen the wrong report and said that the error should have "jumped off the page".

The incorrect file contained not only the wrong details but also the name of two alleged abusers the programmed reported.

PrimeTime has also raised questions over an account of how the error came to light given by Health Minister Simon Harris to the Dáil this week.

Mr Harris, using information supplied by the HSE, said this week that the girl contacted the counsellor to say the allegation of digital rape was incorrect.

According to a solicitor for the girl at the centre of a 2006 allegation of wrongdoing against Mr McCabe, which was ultimately ruled by the DPP not to be a report of a crime, it was not her who brought the error to light.

A solicitor acting on her behalf said the girl attended one counselling session and did not realise any Tusla referral had been made as a result.

It wasn't until months later when the family was contacted by gardai and asked to attend the station that they learned of the false allegation included in the file.

Her parents saw the file and said immediately it was not their daughter's allegation.

The conflicting accounts, relayed tonight, raise questions about the information brought to the Dáil by Mr Harris and also about when gardai found out about the complaint and the mistakes in the file.

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