Sunday 15 September 2019

Garda whistleblower McCabe retires in 'best interests' of family

Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Sgt Maurice McCabe. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan resigned in the course of Sgt McCabe’s long-running battle. Picture: Tom Burke

Philip Ryan and Conor Feehan

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe retired at midnight, saying the decision was "in the best interests" of his family.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Fintan Fanning came to the McCabe's family home on Tuesday night to complete the retirement process with the country's most well-known whistleblower.

Sgt McCabe praised recently appointed Garda Commissioner Drew Harris who came to his family home and spoke with the McCabes for more than an hour-and-a-half.

But he said that now is the right time to step down.

After 30 years of serving as a garda, Sgt McCabe plans to spend time with his family as he prepares for life outside the force.

"For the last few years I've been snowed under with paperwork from the tribunals and other investigations. I'm going to take a month or two off now and spend it with the family," he said. "I am happy with the findings of the Charleton Tribunal but I think it is in the best interest of my family to retire from policing," he added.

Since the publication of Justice Peter Charleton's report, Sgt McCabe has met personally with Commissioner Harris and the two discussed the future of policing in this country.

"We had a fantastic meeting with the commissioner. He came to the house for an hour-and-a-half. He outlined his plans for policing and I believe he wants to change the Garda for the better." His long-running battle to expose allegations of negligence in the force led to the resignation of two Garda commissioners, Martin Callinan and Nóirín O'Sullivan, and two justice ministers, Alan Shatter and Frances Fitzgerald.

He endured years of public inquiries which all found he was a diligent member of An Garda Síochána who was seeking to raise matters of genuine concern.

The Charleton Tribunal found Mr Callinan, along with Garda press officer David Taylor, orchestrated a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe in order to damage his reputation while he was raising concerns about malpractice.

He joined the Garda in 1985 and had more than 30 years of service. He had been on leave from the service since May 2016.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan praised Sgt McCabe's "persistence, courage and great sense of duty" when he was taking on the upper ranks of the force. He said Sgt McCabe's legacy will be that his actions "will accelerate" change in An Garda Síochána.

Minister Eoghan Murphy credited the whistleblower with helping to reform An Garda Síochána and questioning those in power so as "to shine a light into an area of Irish life that needed a light shone upon it".

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O'Callaghan said he wanted to thank Sergeant McCabe "for all his years of service to the Garda and wishing him many happy years in retirement".

Irish Independent

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