Sunday 25 February 2018

Garda whistleblower controversy: What you need to know

Sergeant Maurice McCabe Photo: Tom Burke
Sergeant Maurice McCabe Photo: Tom Burke
Former Commissioner Martin Callinan Photo: Tom Burke
Commissioner O’Sullivan has stated that she had no part in any campaign to discredit the so-called garda whistleblowers. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

The garda whistleblower controversy has been dominating headlines again this week. Here's everything you need to know.

Who are the main players?

Sgt Maurice McCabe: The state’s most high profile whistleblower. He is currently on indefinite stress leave.

Superintendent David Taylor: The garda officer whose allegations of a smear campaign by garda management against Sgt McCabe have forced the Government to launch an Independent commission of investigation.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan: The State's most senior garda, who is at the centre of this latest whistleblower controversy.

Ex-Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan: The former commissioner will now be investigated over claims was involved in directing the alleged smear campaign.

Judge Peter Charleton: The Supreme Court justice who has been given nine months to investigate the alleged smear campaign.

Retired Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill: His scoping exercise prompted the Government to set up the commission of investigation.

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald: She has been accused of protecting Commissioner O’Sullivan.

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness: Mr McGuinness claims he met former commissioner Callinan at a secret car park meeting in 2014, during which the latter allegedly claimed Sgt McCabe could not be “trusted”.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin: The former minister’s decision to put on the Dáil record claims that journalists were direct to allegations that Sgt McCabe was linked to sexual crimes has sparked political furore.

What are the allegations?

Garda management orchestrated a smear campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe. Central to this is allegations that former Commissioner Callinan and his successor Nóirín O’Sullivan directed or were aware of the smear campaign itself.

But the allegations go further…

Judge Charleton will investigate whether the smear campaign involved journalists being told of Sgt McCabe’s links to “criminal misconduct”.

Phone calls and text messages between the main -players will be examined too.

A secret carpark meeting between John McGuinness and former commissioner Callinan will also be examined - as will claims that Commissioner O’Sullivan used the national broadcaster RTÉ to put out false information about McCabe.

She has fully refuted all allegations.

What happens now?

That’s anybody’s guess.

On one hand, Judge Charleton’s commission will run its course. He has been given nine months and a budget of €1.2m to do his work.

The commission will have direct powers to compel witnesses.

But politically, Commissioner O’Sullivan is under serious pressure to step aside. So far Fianna Fáil has refused to call on her to do so, if that changes, we could be on course to lose another garda commissioner.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News