Wednesday 16 January 2019

The O'Higgins Report: Sergeant Maurice McCabe, his allegations and how they were handled

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe (Picture: Tom Burke)
Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe (Picture: Tom Burke)

The report found the whistleblower was a dedicated and committed garda, who raised legitimate concerns about procedures and practices at Bailieboro Garda Station.

It found he was never less than truthful in his evidence and a man of integrity, but was prone to exaggeration at times. While some of his complaints were upheld others were proven to be overstated or exaggerated and some were unfounded.

The report contradicted the findings of barrister Sean Guerin, who found Mr Shatter had not heeded Sgt McCabe's complaints. It found Mr Shatter had dealt with his complaints appropriately.

How Sergeant McCabe's allegations stacked up...

True: Failings in investigations

The report found serious flaws and failures in criminal investigations in the Cavan-Monaghan division in 2007 and 2008.

Unclear: PULSE corruption claims

Sgt McCabe complained alterations to records on the garda PULSE computer showed officers had "corruptly" failed to pursue prosecutions in cases where evidence was available.

The report did not make a finding of corruption, but said it appeared PULSE files were updated, sometimes years later, in an attempt to excuse the failure to prosecute.

False: Martin Callinan corruption claim

The report cleared the former Garda Commissioner of an allegation of corruption made by Sgt McCabe regarding the alleged placement of a senior officer on a promotion list. The allegation had no foundation.

False: Corruption claims against other garda officers

Complaints of corruption made by Sgt McCabe against Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney and Superintendent Michael Clancy were all found to be hurtful and unfounded.

False: Claims of corruption in investigations The report found no evidence of garda criminality or corruption, but found junior gardaí were allowed investigate cases without sufficient supervision from more senior officers.

Key recommendations

The report recommended victim impact statements be made standard procedure in courts. It found that superintendents should monitor the supervision by sergeants of less experienced gardaí.

A written framework of procedures should be provided for sergeants in charge of stations and a new performance management system shouldbe implemented by An Garda Síochána immediately.

It also recommended that all ranks of the force should be diligent in taking proper notes and that this should be monitored.

Irish Independent

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