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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Whistleblower on sick leave after lodging 13 complaints

Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe
Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe
Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan shakes hands with Garda whistleblower John Wilson outside Leinster House

Daniel McConnell and Philip Ryan

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe has taken sick leave after lodging 13 fresh bullying and harassment complaints in the last month, the Irish Independent has learned.

Senior management within the force are investigating a new series of harassment claims from the officer, acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan confirmed.

However, Ms O'Sullivan has infuriated the whistleblower by yesterday telling the Oireachtas Justice Committee that management are in "daily contact" with him.

She told the committee that she has also called on the interim Garda Confidential Recipient to engage with Sgt McCabe's legal team to investigate the claims of continued harassment.

Speaking at the committee, she said: "We are committed to hearing our members who want to raise matters of concern. They may not always be right, but they must be listened to. We must discuss things in a much more open way."

Sgt McCabe and his family are said to be "disgusted" after hearing Ms O'Sullivan's evidence before the committee.

The family claim they have had no support from the commissioner since he was reinstated on the PULSE system.

"If there has been constant contact there should be logs registered of all the interactions," a source said. "It's complete rubbish – he was forced to take stress leave again."

Sgt McCabe took sick leave from his job on Monday after filing 13 separate bullying and harassment complaints in the last month. It was revealed in the Dail on Tuesday that he told his superiors in Mullingar garda station he needed to take sick leave on Monday after alleging a number of incidents of harassment and bullying.

The most recent complaint involved a colleague telling him he "ruined" the force with his allegations of garda misconduct, according to Independent TD Mick Wallace.

As she was leaving Leinster House, in front of observing media, Ms O'Sullivan crossed the plinth to have a conversation with another whistleblower, retired garda John Wilson.

She spent several minutes speaking to Mr Wilson who raised the treatment of Sgt McCabe with her. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Wilson said that he called on Ms O'Sullivan to "ring McCabe directly" and forget about delegating the matter to other senior managers.

Committee member Senator Martin Conway queried if Ms O'Sullivan was embarrassed by reports that Sgt McCabe was still the subject of harassment. He also asked her did she think that he and fellow whistleblower John Wilson are distinguished.

"We welcome all members of An Garda Siochana who raise issues with us. They are not a problem, they are a catalyst for change," she said.

Irish Independent

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