Saturday 25 November 2017

Q&A: The Whistleblower and the Guerin Report

Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Q When were Sgt McCabe's allegations first raised?

He first highlighted what he believed were failings in garda operations in Co Cavan in 2008.

Q What were the allegations?

Sgt McCabe claimed there was a failure by senior gardai to properly investigate serious crimes. He also alleged hundreds of official garda records were falsified and deleted to cover up negligence.

The most serious of the crimes was the murder of Sylvia Roche-Kelly, who was killed by Gerry McGrath after he was twice released on bail – once from a Co Cavan garda station.

Sgt McCabe alleged gardai scapegoated him for releasing McGrath after he was arrested for a serious assault on taxi driver Mary Lynch months before Ms Roche-Kelly was murdered. He also claimed he was harassed and bullied by colleagues.

Q What was the outcome of a garda probe into his claims?

Senior gardai found there was no case to answer in any claim.

Q When were claims brought to Mr Shatter's attention?

Sgt McCabe approached former garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly in January 2012.

He gave Mr Connolly a dossier of allegations that he claimed showed serious failings by gardai to investigate crimes.

He asked that Mr Shatter investigate the promotion of a senior officer by Commissioner Martin Callinan. He claimed the officer was central to a number of the crimes he alleged were not fully investigated. Mr Connolly brought the allegations to the attention of Mr Shatter soon after he met with Sgt McCabe.

Q How did Mr Shatter act once he received the allegations?

He passed the allegations to Mr Callinan for review.

Mr Callinan, who had been implicated in the complaint for promoting the officer, said there was no case to answer as he had already investigated the complaints and found no wrongdoing.

Mr Connolly relayed the outcome of the investigation to Sgt McCabe in February 2012.

It was at this meeting that Mr Connolly allegedly told Sgt McCabe Mr Shatter would "go after" him if his allegations were to become public knowledge.

Q How did Sgt McCabe's allegations become public?

After failing in his attempts to highlight his concerns, Sgt McCabe uncovered what he believed to be the wrongful termination of thousands of penalty points. The allegations hit the headlines in December 2012 when Independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace used Dail privilege to name prominent members of society who had penalty points quashed. The politicians cited a secret dossier compiled by an anonymous garda whistleblower, who it would later emerge was Sgt McCabe.

The following month, the 'Sunday Independent' reported that the same whistleblower compiled a report on more serious crimes which were not investigated.

Q When did Sgt McCabe's allegations become political?

A number of investigations were launched. The outcomes led to calls from opposition politicians for Mr Shatter to resign over his handling of the controversy.

A transcript of the alleged conversation between Sgt McCabe and Mr Connolly was then read into the Dail record. Mr Connolly resigned when he would not deny the comments. It then emerged Sgt McCabe approached FF leader Micheal Martin with further allegations of garda misconduct.

Mr Martin gave the dossier to Taoiseach Enda Kenny who ordered an investigation to be carried out into what he called "very serious allegations".

Sean Guerin SC was asked to carry out the review and determine if further action was needed.

Q What was the outcome of Mr Guerin's investigation?

Mr Guerin recommended that a Commission of Inquiry should be established to further investigate Sgt McCabe's claims.

Irish Independent

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