Monday 22 January 2018

Now TUSLA dragged into Maurice McCabe 'sex crimes' smear controversy

Whistleblower Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke
Whistleblower Maurice McCabe. Photo: Tom Burke

Niall O'Connor, Philip Ryan and John Downing

A FIANNA Fáil TD has queried whether the State’s child and family agency, TUSLA, will become part of the Commission of Investigation into an alleged smear campaign against sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Carlow/Kilkenny deputy John McGuinness made the intervention towards the end of a Dáil debate on the terms of the reference for the judge-led inquiry.

TUSLA is the body responsible for the protection and wellbeing of children.

Earlier during ‘Leaders’ Questions’, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald asked Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald whether “other state agencies” were approached by the gardaí in relation to allegations against Sgt McCabe.

Ms Fitzgerald said to her knowledge there were approaches to the garda oversight body, GSOC. But she was not aware of approaches to any other state agency.

But during a later Dáil debate , which heard calls for the terms of reference for the inquiry to be widened, Mr McGuinness cited the agency TUSLA. He asked whether it would be included in the work of the commission by Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton.

John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke
John McGuinness. Photo: Tom Burke

Ms Fitzgerald replied: “I think that would be entirely up to the commission to decide but I see no reason why if there is a relevant agency, for example the one that you mention, that it wouldn’t be included in the work of the commission.”

Queries to TUSLA and the garda press office have yet to be answered.

The development comes as the Government and the garda force continue to be rocked by the fallout of the allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

Among the terms of reference for the commission of investigation is to determine whether journalists were pointed to whether Superintendent David Taylor was “directed” to draw journalists’ attention to an “allegation of criminal misconduct made against Sgt McCabe”.

In the Dáil yesterday, Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin claimed that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was involved in the leaking allegations that Sgt McCabe was involved in crimes of a “sexual” nature. She has vehemently denied the claims in a statement.

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