Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe
Sergeant Maurice McCabe has been attempting to seek accountability in An Garda Síochána for more than 10 years.
His battle has spanned the tenure of four Garda Commissioners, six Ministers for Justice and five Ministers for Health.
Below is a comprehensive timeline of events – covering 2006 to the present day – charting how one man restored his good name, changed a police force forever and brought a government to the brink of collapse.
We will correct any errors.
January 2006: Sgt Maurice McCabe makes a complaint in relation to an incident where a garda had consumed alcohol before attending the scene of a suicide. This resulted in a sanction being imposed on that colleague.
Noel Conroy is Garda Commissioner at this time. He holds the position from July 2003 until he retires in November 2007.
Michael McDowell, of the Progressive Democrats, is the Minister for Justice at this time; while Mary Harney, also of the Progressive Democrats, is the Minister for Health.
December 2006: The colleague, about whom Sgt McCabe made the complaint, makes a complaint about Sgt McCabe on behalf of the colleague’s daughter. The daughter subsequently makes a statement in which she alleges that, about ten years previously, when she was around six years old, she had been playing hide and seek with Maurice McCabe and his two eldest children at their home. She said when Sgt McCabe found her, he tickled her and pressed up against her in an inappropriate manner.
Supt Noel Cunningham, as the person in charge of the Cavan/Monaghan division, investigates this complaint.
Early 2007: After the allegation is investigated, a file is sent to the DPP with the recommendation that there is no grounds for a prosecution. The DPP directs that no prosecution should be taken – with the observation that it is doubtful the allegations should constitute a crime at all.
April 30, 2007: Taxi driver Mary Lynch is violently assaulted by Jerry McGrath in Virginia, Co. Cavan. McGrath had his zip undone as he bit her, viciously kicked her and pulled out lumps of her hair. He left her with a black eye, bruising down her side and bruises on her neck, as he held his hands around her neck during the assault. McGrath was released on station bail of €300 the next day, before Mary Lynch gave a statement. McGrath was never questioned about details of her statement. He was charged with assault with no conditions attached to his bail.
June 14, 2007: Brian Lenihan Jnr, of Fianna Fáil, is the new Minister for Justice.
July 9, 2007: A car registered to Deputy Commissioner Martin Callinan – who was appointed to the position in January 2007 – is caught speeding on camera. His Renault Megane was caught going at a speed of 83kph in a 60kph zone. The penalty points in relation to this incident were subsequently quashed.
September 11, 2007: A man made a complaint at Bailieboro Garda station in Co Cavan that his son had been sexually abused by Fr Michael Molloy, of Kill in Cootehill, Co Cavan.
The victim told gardai that one incident of serious sexual assault involving Fr Molloy occurred in March or April 2007, following evening mass, after he had installed or updated antivirus software on a computer in the parochial house, occupied at that time by Fr Molloy. He described the computer, its operating system, and the software he installed to the gardai.
September 14, 2007: Following the complaint, and after obtaining warrants, gardai searched two properties associated with Fr Molloy. They took a number of items, including a personal computer, and brought them to Bailieboro Garda station, where Sgt Maurice McCabe was on duty that day. The items taken from Fr Molloy’s house were placed in the station’s property room. On the same day, Fr Molloy was arrested and interviewed at Bailieboro Garda station.
In a statement given by Garda Pearse O’Shannon, he stated that he found that the name of the software on the seized computer matched that given by the victim.
It subsequently turned out that the warrants, under which the computer and other items were seized, were defective.
October 2007: A file on Mary Lynch’s assault is finally sent to the DPP with a recommendation that the case be dealt with in the district court. Micheal Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, has reported that “the file came back within three weeks, upgrading the charge to Section 3, “assault causing harm” and a robbery charge. The DPP instructed that it should be dealt with by the district court only if a guilty plea was entered on both charges. Otherwise, it should go to trial in the Circuit Court.”
October 9, 2007: McGrath tried to abduct a five-year-old girl from a house which he had broken into, in Dundrum, Co Tipperary. The girl’s father managed to overpower McGrath and hold him until the gardaí arrived. McGrath was charged with assault causing harm, burglary and false imprisonment. He was held in Limerick Prison.
October 18, 2007: McGrath’s Cavan assault case involving Mary Lynch was due for a routine review of bail in Virginia District Court. McGrath’s solicitor was told McGrath didn’t need to attend the two-minute routine hearing. No objection was made at Virginia District Court to renew McGrath’s bail on the Cavan assault charge – even though it was known that McGrath was in custody for assault causing harm, burglary and false imprisonment.
October 30, 2007: An application for bail by McGrath was made in Clonmel Circuit Court on the Tipperary false imprisonment charge. Detective Sergeant John Long objected but the court was not told about the Cavan assault and McGrath was granted bail. Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, has reported: “In a subsequent investigation, Sgt Long said that prior to the bail application, he had checked McGrath’s background on the garda Pulse system. (This would be second nature to any garda investigating a violent incident). On seeing an entry about Cavan, he rang an “unidentified garda” in a “Cavan station” — also unidentified — and was told that the case involved a minor assault over a taxi fare.”
November 2007: Fachtna Murphy is appointed Garda Commissioner.
December 7, 2007: McGrath murders Silvia Roche Kelly in the Clarion Hotel in Limerick.
2008: Sgt Maurice McCabe meets two gardai in Mullingar and tapes their conversation. In 2016, in the Dáil, Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace names the two guards as Supt Noel Cunningham and Sgt Yvonne Martin.
January 5, 2008: Mary Lynch, who at this point was eventually told her case would be heard in Virginia District Court on January 7, received a phone call, telling her there was no need for her to show up at the case hearing as it would be held over.
January 7, 2008: Mary Lynch received a call from an inspector saying McGrath received a nine-month sentence for the assault on her. The Irish Examiner reported Ms Lynch saying: “I told him that I was told the case was not going ahead and he said he knew nothing about that. I told him I was informed I would be given the opportunity to make a victim impact statement to the court. He said he did not know anything about that and he was only handed the case file that morning and told to go into the court. He also told me that if I wanted to see Jerry McGrath he was still in Virginia garda station. I said I do not want to see Jerry McGrath in a garda station, I wanted to see him in court.”
April 28, 2008: Sgt Maurice McCabe makes a formal complaint to the human resource management section of An Garda Síochána of “harassment, bullying, discrimination and victimisation” against Superintendent Michael Clancy under the bullying and harassment policy.
May 7, 2008: Dermot Ahern is the new Minister for Justice.
May 2008: Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy orders an internal inquiry to be led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne into allegations made by Sgt McCabe.
This follows Sgt McCabe giving details of cases he believes were not investigated properly at Bailieboro, including false imprisonment and physical and sexual assaults, to the then Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy. Mr McCarthy subsequently notifies Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy.
May 13, 2008: Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne appoints Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn, stationed at Letterkenny garda station in Donegal, to conduct an investigation into Sgt McCabe’s complaints.
June 2008: Sgt Maurice McCabe transfers out of Bailieboro Garda Station in Co Cavan to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
September 15, 2008: There is a 28-day time limit for the investigation of complaints within An Garda Siochana, under the bullying and harassment policy. The time limit can be extended but only with the consent of all parties. In relation to Sgt McCabe’s complaint against Supt Clancy, time was extended on two occasions. On September 15, 2008, Supt Clancy indicated he did not give his consent to a third extension of time for the investigation. The effect of this was that the complaint was out of time and was therefore discontinued under that particular policy.
October 14, 2008: Brian McCarthy, the Garda Confidential Recipient, writes to Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy and encloses a confidential report in relation to practices at Bailieboro garda station – made by Sgt Maurice McCabe.
October 15, 2008: As part of the investigation into Sgt McCabe’s complaint to An Garda Siochana’s human resource management, Sgt McCabe met with Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn and Superintendent Eugene McGovern at the offices of his solicitors. Sgt McCabe makes a further statement in which he makes a complaint against Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney who, at that time, is responsible for the Cavan/Monaghan division of the gardaí.
October 28, 2008: Garda Commissioner Murphy sends the report created by Sgt McCabe for the confidential recipient to Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, for “urgent investigation and report”. Sgt McCabe is not happy with the appointment of Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne to examine his complaints because of Mr Byrne’s previous connection with the northern region.
October 28, 2008: A case conference is held at the human resource management section of An Garda Síochána about the complaints which had been made by Sgt McCabe. Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn and Chief Superintendent John Grogan attend.
October 29, 2008: Assistant Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan is appointed to the human resource management section of An Garda Síochána, while Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne is transferred from the northern region to national support services.
November 6, 2008: Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne is appointed to oversee the completion of Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn’s investigation. Assistant Commissioner Byrne is now in charge of two investigations: the complaint made to human resource management and the report made to the confidential recipient.
November 7, 2008: Sgt McCabe’s solicitors are informed by Assistant Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan that, “Assistant Commissioner National Support Services [Derek Byrne] will oversee the completion of Chief Superintendent McGinn’s investigation.”
November 8, 2008: Assistant Commissioner O’Sullivan writes to the Assistant Commissioner of Northern Region, Michael Feehan, asking for a report on Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn’s investigation into Sgt McCabe’s complaints by November 14, 2008.
December 2, 2008: The DPP directs that Fr Molloy be prosecuted on multiple counts of defilement of a child, a count of sexual assault, a count of production of child pornography and a separate count of possession of child pornography. The directing officer acknowledges that the issue with the defective search warrants “could put at risk significant evidence”, but directed a prosecution in light of the other available evidence. He made no reference to the computer.
December 19, 2008: Fr Molloy is charged with a number of offences.
Before Fr Molloy is charged, a file prepared for the DPP is compiled by Superintendent Noel Cunningham, with preparatory work carried out by Garda Andrew Scannell. The computer that was seized during the search on September 14, 2007, is never mentioned in the DPP file – even though it was referred to in the statements of the victim and Garda Pearse O’Shannon.
The computer is also never forensically examined.
The covering report from Superintendent Cunningham to the state solicitor, to be sent to the DPP, recommended disposal of the case at the District Court in the event of a guilty plea.
A subsequent commission of investigation into this case by Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins found:
“This recommendation is surprising and difficult to comprehend given the gravity of the offences and the strength of the evidence.”
Explaining his action to Mr Justice O’Higgins, Supt Cunningham said he was worried about the victim’s condition saying “his condition deteriorated hugely during the course of the investigation”.
He told Mr Justice O’Higgins that the trial could collapse and, in light of that, “half a loaf is better than no bread”.
Ultimately, the O’Higgins commission of investigation found the investigation into Fr Molloy to be have “major flaws”. Mr Justice O’Higgins listed the following as reason for this conclusion - the search warrants were defective; there was a failure to have the computer forensically examined; the computer was lost; an explanation for the recommendation of summary disposal on a guilty plea was not given to DPP.
March 12, 2009: A story appears on the front page of the Anglo Celt newspaper in which Chief Supt of Cavan/Monaghan Colm Rooney describes complaints about investigations at Bailieboro as “absolute rubbish and that he had bee briefed on a number of issues and there was no criminality involved”. The report in the Anglo Celt was of a meeting in which Chief Supt Rooney spoke to councillors and answered questions.
March 23, 2009: Sgt Maurice McCabe emails the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern, in which he refers to a complaint he had made “in relation to malpractice and corruption in Bailieboro Garda District, Cavan…”. He said the matters were being investigated and that a preliminary report had been forwarded to garda headquarters by the investigation team, which, he said, had uncovered bad practices and bad procedures.
Sgt McCabe complained about the comments made in the Anglo Celt report and said he considered it was “appalling” that the chief supt would speak in that way while the Byrne/McGinn investigation was ongoing. In the email, Sergeant McCabe requested “an independent person to oversee the investigation because the whole investigation has been tainted and undermined by his comments”.
May 11, 2009: The Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern’s private secretary replies to Sgt McCabe’s email and states the conduct of the investigation is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and that the minister “has no role in directing him in such operational matters”.
July 22, 2009: Fr Molloy pleads guilty to one count of defilement of a child under the age of 15, one count of defilement of a child under the age of 17, and one count of possession of child pornography.
August 25, 2009: The Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy writes to the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, informing him that he had “received an allegation of victimisation and harassment from the confidential reporter in this case which is stated to have arisen from the making of a report by him.” Garda Commissioner Facthna Murphy forwarded this matter to Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne for his “appropriate attention.”
November 5, 2009: A car registered to the editor of the Irish Independent Stephen Rae is caught speeding in Belfield, Dublin. His penalty points are subsequently quashed.
November 23, 2009: Fr Molloy is sentenced to five years imprisonment on the count of defilement of a child under 15; three years on the count of defilement of a child under 17; and three years on the count of possession of child pornography, all sentences to run concurrently.
November 26, 2009: The Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy writes to the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy informing him of a further complaint, “concerning the existence of a social networking website which seeks to ridicule and criticise the confidential reporter for getting in touch with my office.” Sgt McCabe considered that the material on the website was directed at him. The website showed a large artificial rat called “Maurice”.
December 2, 2009: Sgt McCabe sent photographs from the website to the Garda Confidential Recipient Brian McCarthy which were then forwarded to the Garda Commissioner. This complaint was also referred to Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne for investigation. A file was sent to the DPP and, on the basis of the available evidence, no prosecution was directed.
September 21, 2010: Bishop of Kilmore Leo O’Reilly writes to Cootehill Garda station requesting the computer be located and returned to him as a matter of urgency. He said there was valuable parish records on it. The computer is missing (and never subsequently found).
After receiving this letter, Supt John G O’Brien made asked the following four gardai about the computer: Garda Pearse O’Shannon, Garda Sinead Killian, Sgt Gavigan and Sgt Maurice McCabe – all of whom furnished reports.
October 11, 2010: Sgt McCabe meet with Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn at the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan. It’s understood one of the purposes of the meeting was to inform Sgt McCabe of the available results of the Byrne/McGinn investigation into Sgt McCabe’s complaints.
However, Sgt McCabe has claimed Assistant Commissioner Byrne assaulted and falsely imprisoned Sgt McCabe in the Hillgrove Hotel in Co Monaghan, after Sgt McCabe revealed he had removed hundreds of files from PULSE which showed gardaí had falsely claimed that certain people were involved in criminality.
Sgt McCabe produced the files in front of Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne at the hotel when they – and two other officers – met Sgt McCabe.
Sgt McCabe claimed Assistant Commissioner Byrne would not let Sgt McCabe leave the hotel with the files. Assistant Commissioner Byrne took the files from Sgt McCabe.
Sgt McCabe lodged a report with the Garda Confidential Recipient about this meeting, while Nacie Rice, the deputy Garda Commissioner, is appointed to investigate the claims of false imprisonment and assault at the Hillgrove Hotel; and to review the Byrne/McGinn investigation.
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) are also notified of the allegations.
October 12, 2010: Garda O’Shannon reported to Supt O’Brien that he handed over all the exhibits to the exhibits officer Garda Killian on September 14, 2007. He said he understood that the computer would be forensically examined at the fraud office in the Garda station in Harcourt Square, Dublin.
October 24, 2010: Garda Killian reported to Supt O’Brien that she had handed the computer hard drive to Sgt McCabe on September 14, 2007. Garda Killian’s evidence would later be found to be inconsistent.
November 3, 2010: Sgt McCabe is informed, by letter, of Deputy Commissioner Rice’s appointment to look at the allegations concerning the Hillgrove Hotel and the Byrne/McGinn investigation.
November 14, 2010: It’s reported how the internal garda investigation into allegations of malpractice in the Cavan/Monaghan division, led by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, upheld some of the complaints but found no evidence of corruption.
November 15, 2010: Sgt McCabe’s solicitor writes to the private secretary to the Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, setting out Sgt McCabe’s concerns with the Byrne investigation. The letter stated:
One of the issues which he had previously raised was that Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne was Assistant Commissioner in respect of the area under investigation. His concern was that there was a long delay in the investigation and when he finally received the “Summary of the Findings” that these did not deal with the matters raised. For example it did not set out the evidence which had been gathered, the identity of and provision of statements obtained, how they were viewed and what reliance was placed on those statements and then ultimately the findings and recommendations.
November 22, 2010: Sgt Gavigan reported to Supt O’Brien that he had not received a statement of evidence or any exhibits from Garda Killian and said neither were in the book of evidence. He said he had no record of Garda Killian handing any exhibits to Sgt McCabe.
November 26, 2010: Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice meets with Sergeant McCabe.
December 2010: Deputy Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is appointed Garda Commissioner.
January 9, 2011: Sgt McCabe reported to Supt O’Brien that he could not assist in the matter as he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the computer and noted that Garda Killian’s notebook entry recorded that it had been placed in the property room. He said that he presumed that the computer would have required forensic examination and suggested that the “Jobs Book” for the investigation “should shed some light on the matter”.
January 20, 2011: Mary Coughlan, of Fianna Fáil, becomes the new Minister for Health, while Brendan Smith, of Fianna Fáil, becomes the new Minister for Justice.
March 8, 2011: Deputy Commissioner Rice reports to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan on his review of Assistant Commissioner Byrne’s investigation into Sgt McCabe’s complaints. The report sets out the findings of the Byrne/McGinn investigation. The Rice report makes no criticisms of, and found no fault with, the Byrne/McGinn investigation.
March 9, 2011: Dr James Reilly, of Fine Gael, becomes the new Minister for Health, while Alan Shatter, of Fine Gael, becomes the new Minister for Justice.
April 6, 2011: Lorraine McCabe, the wife of Sergeant McCabe, emails the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. In the email, she refers to the reports her husband had made about the conduct of gardaí in Co Cavan and complained that “all matters were covered up”.
April 7, 2011: Deputy Commissioner Rice writes to Sgt McCabe’s solicitors informing him that a review of Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne’s investigation had been carried out and that
“the Commissioner [Martin Callinan] has read and agreed with my findings that the investigation carried out by Assistant Commissioner Byrne and Chief Superintendent McGinn was professional, impartial and with propriety.”
April 14, 2011: The private secretary to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter replies by letter, giving details of how someone can make a complaint to GSOC, the contact details of GSOC, and the time limits for such complaints.
May 5, 2011: Mrs McCabe emails the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter again, referring to reminders she had sent on April 13 and 25.
May 6, 2011: The minister’s private secretary responds, stating that the matter would be brought to Mr Shatter’s attention. The matter was referred to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and members of An Garda Síochána were appointed to speak to Sgt Maurice McCabe and his wife, Lorraine.
June 16, 2011: Sgt McCabe’s solicitors writes to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter requesting the establishment of a commission of investigation. Sgt McCabe’s letter encloses Deputy Commissioner Rice’s letter of April 7, 2011.
September 2011: Supt Clancy’s name appears on a promotion list for An Garda Siochana.
January [day unknown] 2012: Sgt McCabe meets with the Garda Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly, and they discuss a dossier of 12 complaints alleging Garda malpractice and incompetence regarding serious cases of criminality.
The dossier included allegations of malpractice and incompetence in relation to the case of Mary Lynch – the taxi driver who was assaulted by Jerry McGrath and who went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly.
After meeting with Mr Connolly, Sgt McCabe makes a complaint against the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne. It relates to the alleged role of Mr Callinan in the placing of Superintendent Clancy on a promotion list for the rank of Chief Superintendent.
January 23, 2012: Mr Connolly writes to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, and his letter includes the dossier of complaints made by Sgt McCabe. Once a complaint is made about a Garda Commissioner, the Garda Confidential Recipient must notify the Minister for Justice of the same.
January 24, 2012: The Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell forwards the confidential report to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and asked him for his comments.
January 27, 2012: Garda Commissioner replied to Mr Purcell by letter. From the letter:
Dear Secretary General,
I am in receipt of your letter of 24 January 2012, with attachments, wherein you seek my comments, as a matter of urgency, on the subject matter. While I do not know the identity of the confidential reporter, there are, however, remarkable similarities with a previous complaint made under the same scheme which were extensively investigated by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn.
The substance of these complaints refers, in the main, to the management of Bailieboro and Monaghan Garda Stations and the file was subsequently forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed no prosecutions in the matter.
Hereunder is a log of the complaints made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe who, as will be seen, exposed his position as the confidential report.
On 2nd May, 2008, a written complaint in the form of a statement dated 28th April, 2008, was received at the office of Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management, Garda Headquarters from Sergeant Maurice McCabe,… then attached to Bailieboro Garda Station, (now attached to Mullingar Garda Station).
In his complaint, Sergeant McCabe alleged that he had been victimised in his role as Sergeant in Charge at Bailieboro and highlighted alleged neglect of duties by Gardaí at Bailieboro, failure by Garda members to investigate complaints, poor work practices and lack of supervision within the Bailieboro Garda District.
In particular, his complaint centred around the alleged failure of Superintendent Michael Clancy, Bailieboro, (now Monaghan), to act on concerns that he had brought to his attention. Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management referred the complaint to Assistant Commissioner, Northern Region for investigation on 9th May, 2008, stating that: ‘While Sergeant McCabe has made his complaint under the Bullying and Harassment Policy, I believe his allegations are so wide ranging that an investigation under the said policy would be too narrow and inappropriate. Accordingly, please nominate a Chief Superintendent other than the local Divisional Officer to carry out an investigation into all of the allegations made’.
Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn, Donegal Division was appointed to investigate the allegations by Assistant Commissioner, Northern Region, on the 13th May, 2008. On the 15th October 2008, a report was received from the Garda Síochána Confidential Recipient, dated 14th October 2008. In brief, in accordance with the procedures set down in the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice), Regulations 2007 S.I. 168 of 2007, the report deals with a number of practices at Bailieboro Garda Station over a number of years commencing in 2004.
The report contains allegations which relate primarily to an alleged unwillingness on the part of Senior Gardaí in the station to follow up on a number of serious incidents of which they were allegedly aware, the incidents having been brought to their attention.
Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne was appointed by the Commissioner to investigate these matters and report in course on the outcome of his investigations. Subsequently, a further report was received from the Garda Síochána Confidential Recipient, dated 25th, August, 2009. In brief, in accordance with the procedures set down in the Garda Síochána (Confidential Reporting of Corruption or Malpractice), Regulations 2007 S.I. 168 of 2007, the report deals with an allegation of victimisation and harassment made by the Confidential Reporter, which is stated to have arisen from the making of the report to him, i.e. the Confidential Reporter.
…The Assistant Commissioner’s extensive investigation, and supporting documentation, was presented in a 10 (ten) volume file. Assistant Commissioner Byrne forwarded all the investigated complaints, in modular format, to the Director of Public Prosecutions who having considered the material directed no prosecution on the basis that no criminality was disclosed against any member.
From an examination of the letter of the 23rd January 2012 to the Confidential Recipient, titled “Wrong Doing and Malpractice in the Cavan/Monaghan Division”, I have extracted twelve individual complaints. I can report that eleven of the complaints have already been thoroughly examined in the above mentioned investigation by Assistant Commissioner Byrne and Chief Superintendent McGinn. I am satisfied that no adverse findings, or no evidence of corruption or malpractice, were discovered on the part of Superintendent Michael Clancy.
The twelfth case outlined in the letter refers to a case of “child pornography and rape of a minor in September 2007 where the offender was a priest in the District”. This investigation commenced in Bailieboro in September 2007 and centred on offensive and inappropriate behaviour with a fourteen year old boy. It is apparent the investigation was efficiently and speedily carried out and resulted (November 2009) in the Priest being sentenced to five year concurrent sentences at Cavan District Court.
… On 09/11/2011 a tabulated report was received from Chief Superintendent Cavan/Monaghan detailing the outcome of the 624 incidents referred to him for clarification. The majority of the incidents related to Road Traffic and minor Public Order offences and reflect no impropriety by Superintendent Michael Clancy.
The remaining 529 documents proved problematic in trying to identify issues or defects in procedures and as such it was deemed essential to obtain clarification from Sergeant McCabe as to matters he was complaining of. Many of the incidents referred to searches, nomination of suspect etc.
To date the Sergeant has declined to assist the investigation of these printouts (529) despite a number of items of correspondences from the Deputy Commissioner to Sergeant McCabe and his legal representatives.
On the face of it the investigation officers, who are experienced investigators, cannot find any obvious issue for Superintendent Clancy. It should be noted that the Confidential Recipient at that time requested sight of the PULSE printouts taken into possession by Assistant Commissioner Byrne and an inspection of the documents was facilitated at the Office of Deputy Commissioner Rice.
Separately, the Deputy Commissioner was directed by the Commissioner to review the investigation of Assistant Commissioner Byrne and Chief Superintendent McGinn. Assisted by Chief Superintendent Sheridan, he reviewed all the modules of the investigation and conclude they were carried out professionally, impartially and with propriety.
What is notable is the fact that during the period the subject of the investigation seven Superintendents served as District Officer of Bailieboro District and while Superintendent Clancy Served in the District for a period of approx seven months there is a specific focus on his tenure in office as distinct from the other six officers.
The Assistant Commissioner found that the complaints made by Sergeant McCabe were not substantiated in any way and no adverse findings are made against Superintendent Clancy who had answered all allegations levelled against him by Sergeant McCabe.
…In summary, having caused enquiries with both Deputy Commissioner Rice and Assistant Commissioner Byrne in the context of the above and the investigations carried out and compared them to the matters highlighted to the Confidential Recipient report now, I am satisfied that the substantial content of the complaints have in fact already been fully explored in Assistant Commissioner Byrne’s extensive investigation under the confidential reporting structures.
This report has been reviewed by Deputy Commissioner Rice who has satisfied himself that Assistant Commissioner Byrne’s investigation was conducted in a proper manner.
… Having regard to the outcome of the previous investigations and the review conducted by Deputy Commissioner Rice, I am of the view that no evidence was found of any wrongdoing (corruption or malpractice) on the part of Superintendent Clancy or Assistant Commissioner Byrne in discharging their duties in the context of the matters complained about to the Confidential Recipient.
February 3, 2012: A letter is sent from the Minister of Justice Alan Shatter to the confidential recipient Oliver Connolly, which concluded “there is no evidence to support any further action by me in relation to the allegation made in the confidential report against the Garda Commissioner”.
February 3, 2012: A report by Detective Superintendent Tom Maguire states that, on foot of an investigation into the missing computer by Supt O’Brien, he was of the opinion that Sgt McCabe was in breach of discipline over the missing computer. This opinion is formed before he is appointed to investigate Sgt McCabe.
February 9, 2012: Mr Connolly meets Sgt McCabe, who tapes their conversation. They discuss Sgt McCabe’s 12 complaints, including his previous complaint Sgt McCabe made against Garda Commissioner Callinan in relation to his intentions to promote a senior officer. Mr Connolly tells Sgt McCabe that no further action will be taken on his complaints.
Mr Connolly also warns Sgt McCabe: ‘I’ll tell you something Maurice – and this is just personal advice to you – if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.’
Mr Connolly advises Sgt McCabe to avoid going to the media and to go through the courts system. Mr Connolly assures Sgt McCabe that Minister Shatter looked into Sgt McCabe’s complaints in detail.
February 10, 2012: Disciplinary proceedings against Sgt McCabe, over the missing computer, begin.
March [day unknown] 2012: Garda John Wilson and Sgt McCabe make a complaint to the Garda Confidential Recipient, Oliver Connolly, about the quashing of penalty points. Mr Connolly gives this complaint to the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
April 11, 2012: Det Supt Maguire receives a letter from Sgt McCabe in which Sgt McCabe seeks 12 categories of documents – some of which are disclosed by early January 2013.
May [day unknown] 2012: Sgt McCabe sends Mr Connolly more information about the quashing of penalty points.
July [day unknown] 2012: Sgt McCabe gives Taoiseach Enda Kenny information of alleged misconduct concerning penalty points and offers to meet Mr Shatter, with his legal team – which includes former Attorney General and former Minister for Justice Michael McDowell – to provide him with files and information.
Enda Kenny replies to Sgt McCabe and tells him Mr Shatter will deal with his request.
July 2012: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan promotes Superintendent Dave Taylor to the position of head of the Garda Press Office.
August [day unknown] 2012: Sgt McCabe writes to Mr Kenny again, in relation to the penalty points.
September [day unknown] 2012: Sgt McCabe writes to Mr Kenny again.
December 4, 2012: Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil:
“The reporting by two garda of terminations of fixed charge penalties on a massive scale has been ignored by the Government since last January, and we are being blocked from discussing that in this Chamber. A public inquiry is now needed. Honest garda are being undermined. Those garda need protection. They went to the Garda confidential recipient for whistleblowers but did not get any satisfaction or protection. Instead, they got a warning when one of them said to one of the garda:
“I’ll tell you something. If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.”
That is a disgrace.”
December 11, 2012: People Before Profit TD Joan Collins speaks about the quashing of penalty points in the Dail. She says:
“From the information we have seen, it seems there has been malpractice and systematic abuse of the system.This is not a question of a few celebrities such as Ronan O’Gara, Paul Williams or Mary Devins, whom I mentioned last week, or other judges or multiple gardai.”
December 17, 2012: A letter is sent to Sgt McCabe, from the assistant secretary at the Department of Justice, which is also forwarded to Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar.
The letter is, in the main, in response to an email Sgt McCabe sent on December 12, 2012 in relation to the quashing of penalty points.
However, it also refers to the dossier of serious complaints that Sgt McCabe made to the confidential recipient in January.
“While your email mainly relates to the current allegations regarding the cancellation of fixed charge notices, you also refer back to a response by the Minister in February to the Garda confidential recipient in relation to an investigation by the Garda Commissioner of other allegations.”
“As you know, of the 12 individual allegations made in the report to the confidential recipient, the Commissioner advised that 11 had already been thoroughly investigated by an Assistant Commissioner and a Chief Superintendent, that this investigation had been reviewed by a Deputy Commissioner (because of a related complaint made against the Assistant Commissioner), and that no evidence of corruption or malpractice had been discovered. You will also recall that the Commissioner, as regards the other case, was of the view that the investigation complained of was in fact efficiently and speedily carried out.”
April 19, 2013: After about a week of having the story, and being contacted by TV3 in relation to the same, the Irish Independent publishes journalist Gemma O’Doherty’s story that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had penalty points quashed.
More than a week previous, after she visited the home of Mr Callinan and confirmed that the address she had was that of Mr Callinan, Ms O’Doherty is given a “dressing-down” by her bosses at Independent News and Media, including Ian Mallon, Michael Denieffe and editor Stephen Rae – who told Ms O’Doherty that her behaviour was that of a “rogue reporter”.
Some weeks later she loses her position as Travel Editor, and then, another few weeks later, she’s informed by managing director Declan Carlisle that she is being made redundant. She is told that if she doesn’t take it voluntarily, she will receive notice of compulsory redundancy. She doesn’t accept it voluntarily and therefore immediately receives compulsory redundancy.
Ms O’Doherty later sues INM and Mr Rae.
April 21, 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Enda Kenny to relay his concerns over not being interviewed for the internal Garda inquiry into the quashing of penalty points. He says he had:
“…serious concerns regarding not being contacted or interviewed regarding my allegations. It would appear that the (O’Mahoney) investigation is complete and if this is the case it’s a shocking development. One would imagine that I would be one of the first to be interviewed.”
April 27, 2013: Irish Independent journalist Paul Williams speaks at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, after which he receives a standing ovation. The Sunday Times reports:
Standing ovations are a common feature of party conferences, but usually reserved for the leader. Yesterday delegates at the Fianna Fail ard fheis got to their feet to applaud Paul Williams, a crime journalist, when he denounced two independent TDs for criticising gardai.
To sustained applause, Williams said Luke “Ming” Flanagan was “a man who I believe has undermined democracy”, adding that “people like him and Mick Wallace [another independent TD] undermine democracy”.
The Irish Independent journalist described the Roscommon- South Leitrim deputy as “a dope-addled muppet” who “got up on the night that Adrian Donohoe was lying in his coffin . . . and said that every ‘guard’ in the country was corrupt”.
Flanagan has apologised for criticising the garda force on the night before the funeral of Donohoe, the detective garda shot dead last January.
To the delight of Fianna Fail delegates, Williams said he would encourage gardai to distribute pictures of Flanagan in order to tell children “this is how you will turn out if you smoke cannabis”.
Last night Flanagan dismissed the remarks, saying he regarded them as a compliment.
May 5, 2013: Philip Ryan, in the Sunday Independent reports that the original allegations made by Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson include details that some motorists, who were involved in fatal accidents, had penalty points quashed both before and after fatal accidents.
May 15, 2013: A report by assistant commissioner John O’Mahoney into the quashing of penalty points by gardaí is published and finds that there is no widespread quashing of penalty points.
May 27, 2013: Sgt McCabe emails Enda Kenny about the penalty points controversy, in which he refers to what Mr Connolly warned him, writing:
“Mr Shatter is in the public spotlight at the moment, and unlike him, I do not intend to play the man and not the ball. It is suffice to say that my figures are correct, my allegations are correct, and despite receiving information that Mr Shatter would ‘go after me’ if I brought the matter further, I am standing firm.”
June 21, 2013: Sgt McCabe’s formal disciplinary interview, over the missing computer, takes place. In his defence, Sgt McCabe said he had nothing to do with the investigation of Fr Molloy and that he never had the computer in his possession.
July 24, 2013: Det Supt Maguire tells Sgt McCabe he was, in fact, not in breach of discipline. A central reason for the decision was, according to Det Spt Maguire, “the obvious inconsistency in the evidence of Garda Killian, the only evidence against Sergeant McCabe”.
August 6, 2013: The disciplinary investigation against Sgt McCabe ends with a report which concluded “finding Sergeant McCabe be in breach of discipline in this case would be unsafe”.
The O’Higgins Commission of Investigation into the matter later finds:
“It is difficult to understand why Sergeant McCabe was the only person subjected to disciplinary proceedings for the loss of the computer, as Garda Killian was the exhibits officer in the case. The decision to subject him to a disciplinary investigation was based on a paper review in which there was a clear conflict of fact. It was the first time in his long career that he faced such proceedings. He was, quite rightly, exonerated.”
“…There is no doubt that to be subjected to such a process was very stressful particularly having regard to Sergeant McCabe’s long years of good service and the overall context of his complaints. The stress was exacerbated by delays and difficulties in the disclosure of relevant documents and information as set out above. Moreover, the commission has been told that disciplinary proceedings are measures of last resort. This makes the use of such proceedings against Sergeant McCabe all the more difficult to understand.“
August, 2013: A HSE counsellor notifies Tusla that a client she is counselling has disclosed that she has experienced one incident of sexual abuse during childhood by Sgt McCabe. This client is supposedly the same girl who made the statement in 2006. But details of the alleged abuse have changed. According to the HSE counsellor’s report, it is said to have involved digital penetration – vaginal and anal. Within days of being told about the allegation, a social worker contacts the original investigating garda to request a meeting about the case. It’s not known if the meeting took place.
October 1, 2013: The Comptroller and Auditor General, which was given information by Sgt McCabe, issues a report which finds one in five motorists avoided penalty points because their cases are not pursued. For 2011 and 2012 – the C&AG found approximately 2,900 cases were terminated for around 700 vehicles, with three or more cases terminated each.
In light of the C&AG report, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, responds to questions, in the Dáil, from Sinn Fein TD Padraig MacLochlainn and Socialist TD Joe Higgins.
During his response he refers to Sgt Maurice McCabe and Garda John Wilson when he accuses them of not cooperating with the garda investigation, carried out by Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Mahoney, into the penalty points controversy, saying:
“Perhaps most significantly, the member of the Garda Síochána who made the allegations rejects the findings of the O’Mahoney report and continues to claim there has been widespread corruption and criminality on the part of senior members of the force.”
“These are exceptionally serious allegations, for which the O’Mahoney report found no basis in fact. My Department has written to the member concerned urging him to come forward with any evidence he may have to justify these allegations. It is open to this person, if he so chooses, to make an appropriate presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality. He has not thus far opted to avail of that opportunity.”
“In so far as individuals, who raised issues, are alleging that the Garda reports published are untrue, let them bring forward the chapter and verse and proof of that.”
“I’m open to being convinced, but they haven’t done so. Indeed, having engaged with members of this House, and published material, they didn’t cooperate with the Garda investigations that took place. Now I don’t know why that is. And there’s no question, deputy, of anyone being victimised.”
Late October [day unknown], 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Minister Shatter asking him to explain who told him that Sgt McCabe was “offered the opportunity… to submit any evidence or other relevant information…. but did not do so”, before adding that he was “never afforded a right of reply or a right of response” after he complained about alleged quashing of points by certain gardaí.
Sgt McCabe asks the Justice Department to supply him with any documents that supported the claim that he had not co-operated.
November 21, 2013: It’s reported that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has written to the Public Accounts Committee asking for the return of a ‘box of evidence’ that Sgt Maurice McCabe gave to the chair of the committee, John McGuinness.
It’s believed to contain previously undisclosed information about the alleged quashing of points and subsequent loss of revenue to the State.
December 3, 2013: Sgt McCabe writes to Minister Shatter again to say he’s:
“…very concerned that someone has told Minister Shatter information about me of a very serious nature and I am being refused the right to know the identity of the person or persons who advised him. I want to know now who advised Minister Shatter of this and when. If you refuse to give me this information I would like to know the reason why you are refusing me? I have the right to know who passed this information to Minister Shatter and when.”
December 4, 2013: A Justice Department senior official emails Sgt McCabe saying Sgt McCabe was offered the chance to provide more evidence to the head of the internal penalty points inquiry, Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney, saying “our understanding on this comes from the Garda Commissioner [Martin Callinan]”.
January, 23, 2014: Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, accompanied by the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, appears before the Public Accounts Committee, during which Mr Callinan makes the infamous ‘disgusting’ comment about Garda whistleblowers Sgt McCabe and Garda Wilson.
In addition, Garda Commissioner Callinan tells the committee:
“If I am asked in general terms whether it is appropriate for a member of An Garda Síochána to use this committee as a platform for exercising whatever it is he or she wishes to exercise and make unsubstantiated allegations or provide sensitive personal data to a third party – such as this committee – then I will have to seriously consider my position and their position.”
“I have already indicated to the Chairman that I have very serious concerns about the information, the data, that has been passed on to the committee. I am not aware of what is contained in that data but I can only presume it from the response of the committee.”
“I have no issue with the committee taking legal advice and deciding how best to do its business but it is the case that I have also taken advice and I am told that, as we speak, I am in breach of the Data Protection Act and that it is possible that the person who supplied that information is in breach of the Data Protection Act. This is clearly a matter on which I will need to take action. I will reserve my position with regard to how I will deal with that.”
“If I am asked in a general sense whether I would be in favour of a member of the Garda Síochána coming in here and using this forum, this committee, to expose material in the fashion in which it has been exposed or to make allegations that have not been substantiated, I think that is fundamentally wrong.”
“Wrongdoing by any member of An Garda Síochána will not be tolerated by me or by any member of my officer corps. The committee can take that as a given. There is a difference between reporting wrongdoing and consistently putting about large volumes of material. These are the parameters I must consider.”
“When I became aware of it, I issued a very clear direction to the two members involved. We had a discussion with Deputy McDonald on the last occasion I was before the committee as to when I became aware of the identities of these people and what they were saying. I have carefully checked my records since then.”
“In December, following on from the information that the retired member of the force and a serving member, a sergeant, were working together to provide information and material for an elected representative, I took advice and I was advised that this was wrong.”
“In light of that advice, I set about putting in place a direction to both of these individuals that if they had any problem at all or any complaint to make, the first thing they should do is to revert either to the assistant commissioner who deals with very serious allegations or any other member of the Garda Síochána.”
“As I recall, I used the words “without prejudice to the confidential reporting mechanism,” because I fully recognise and support the confidential reporting system in An Garda Síochána and elsewhere. Everybody, not just in An Garda Síochána, is entitled to be in a position to confidentially report matters of wrongdoing that come to their attention.”
“At the same time, these individuals have a responsibility as well, and the making of allegations that cannot be substantiated on a regular basis is a particular difficulty that I may have to deal with.”
Seated behind Commissioner Callinan and Deputy Commissioner O’Sullivan, during the meeting, is head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.
January 24, 2014: Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness, then chair of the Public Accounts Committee, claims he is privately contacted by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and met him in a car park of Bewley’s Hotel on the Naas Road.
During their conversation, it’s alleged Mr Callinan told Mr McGuinness that Sgt McCabe could not be trusted. It has been alleged this was an attempt by the Garda Commissioner to convince the Public Accounts Committee not to hear evidence from Sgt McCabe.
It’s later reported, by Philip Ryan in The Sunday Independent, that Mr McGuinness claims Mr Callinan made false child abuse allegations – about Sgt McCabe – to Mr McGuinness.
January 24, 2014: It’s reported that Commissioner Callinan consults the Attorney General’s office about preventing Sgt McCabe from going before PAC.
January 30, 2014: Sgt McCabe appears before the Public Accounts Committee, in private, to discuss the penalty points issue. It is reported on the day that Sgt McCabe said he was told there was no guarantee his job would be there by the time he is finished the PAC meeting.
The Irish Daily Mirror reports a ‘source’ saying: “He said he was told he will face disciplinary action if he gives evidence.”
Sgt McCabe later requests a transcript of the PAC meeting.
February 5, 2014: Independent TD Mick Wallace reads into the Dáil record a section of a transcript of a conversation between Sgt McCabe and the Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly, from February 9, 2012.
Mr Wallace says: ‘It includes the following:
“I’ll tell you something, Maurice, and this is just personal advice to you. If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.’
This is the second time Mick Wallace reads this into Dáil record. He first read it out on December 4, 2012.
February 11, 2014: Fianna Fáil leader Mícheal Martin, during Leader’s Questions, repeats some of what Mr Wallace read into the Dáil a week previous and some more – from the taped conversation between Sgt McCabe and Oliver Connolly on February 9, 2012.
February 12, 2014: Enda Kenny announces that he has asked the Department of Justice to furnish him with a report into the alleged comments about Shatter going after Sgt McCabe.
February 18, 2014: Broadsheet posts the full transcript of the conversation between Oliver Connolly and Sgt Maurice McCabe.
February 19, 2014: Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly is sacked.
February 19, 2014: Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin says he has documents, obtained from Sgt McCabe, suggesting that gardaí failed to act on allegations of abduction, assault, murder and other serious crimes. He says he’s passed them on to the Department of the Taoiseach for full investigation.
February 21, 2014: Broadsheet publishes a letter dated December 17, 2012, which was sent from the assistant secretary at the Department of Justice, and which was forwarded to Enda Kenny and Leo Varadkar’s departments.
As mentioned above, the letter is, in the main, in response to an email Sgt McCabe sent on December 12, 2012 in relation to the quashing of penalty points. But it also refers to the dossier of serious complaints that Sgt McCabe made to the confidential recipient in January and which has been passed on to the Taoiseach, via Fianna Fáil’s Mícheal Martin.
February 23, 2014: Philip Ryan, in the Sunday Independent, reports that attempts were made by Garda colleagues to blame Sgt McCabe for releasing Jerry McGrath from custody before McGrath went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly.
February 24, 2014: The Irish Independent reports that email correspondence shows that Mr Shatter’s claim that Sgt McCabe didn’t cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s inquiry into the penalty point allegations was based on a briefing from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
February 24, 2014: Broadsheet publishes a letter sent by Sgt Maurice McCabe to Jon Leeman, of GSOC, on October 27, 2011, after GSOC decided to discontinue its investigation into complaints made by Mary Lynch and to refer the case back to the Garda Commissioner.
February 25, 2014: Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces that he has appointed criminal lawyer Seán Guerin SC to investigate the allegations raised by Sgt Maurice McCabe in the dossier given to him by Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin. Mr Kenny tells the Dáil:
“The Government today made three decisions. First, we approved an amendment to the Protected Disclosures Bill 2013, currently before the House, which will enable serving gardaí to bring complaints directly to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.”
“Second, we decided that pending the enactment of this legislation, an interim confidential recipient will be appointed to receive complaints from serving gardaí. The Minister for Justice and Equality was mandated to proceed with the required consultation with those who have to be consulted so that an appointment can proceed quickly.
“Third, we decided to appoint Mr. Seán Guerin SC, an experienced and respected criminal lawyer to conduct an assessment of the various issues and allegations that have been raised by Sergeant Maurice McCabe since 2008.
Mr Kenny also tells the Dáil that 11 of 12 allegations have already been investigated, saying:
“Twelve distinct allegations were made in respect of a superintendent. The Secretary General sought a report, which was received four days later. A reply was received by the end of January of last year. In that reply, which was quite extensive, the Garda Commissioner outlined how 11 of the 12 allegations had already been made through the confidential recipient system and had been thoroughly investigated in an investigation headed by an assistant Garda commissioner and a chief superintendent.”
“The report of that investigation, together with all the supporting documentation, was presented in ten volume files to the DPP. After considering the material, the DPP directed that no prosecution should be pursued, on the basis that no criminality was disclosed against any member. That is the decision of the DPP’s office, which is completely independent of the Oireachtas.”
February 25, 2014: In a story without any direct quotes, the RTÉ News website reports that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan ‘wrote to Sergeant Maurice McCabe 14 months ago and told him to co-operate with the [Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney] inquiry’.
Later, RTE’s Six One News repeats the report that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan directed Sgt Maurice McCabe to cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney on December 14, 2012.
RTE reporter David Davin Power reported:
“We’re told this evening that Maurice McCabe was indeed directed by the Commissioner to cooperate with the inquiry. Now he didn’t in the end give evidence to the inquiry, we don’t quite know the circumstances of that but if, as we’re told, there was a direction given to Sgt McCabe that obviously provides Alan Shatter with a defence because of course he’s in the dock for suggesting that Maurice McCabe didn’t cooperate with the inquiry. If he was given a direction and he didn’t ultimately give evidence to the inquiry, there’s obviously a grey area there, but there is a potential defence for the minister.”
February 26, 2014: In the Dáil, Independent TD Róisín Shorthall asks Justice Minister Alan Shatter about Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s ‘disgusting’ comment in relation to Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson.
“What is the Minister’s view of that comment? Does he agree with it? If not, is he prepared to take this opportunity to disassociate himself from that assessment of the two gardaí?”
Minister Shatter replies:
“I do not know the context of the comment made by the Commissioner. I am conscious that Sergeant McCabe raised serious issues, including in regard to ticket charges. In a number of areas he has been proved correct, and in a number of areas he has been proved incorrect. I also know that he has alleged that a variety of members of An Garda Síochána are corrupt. There has been widespread currency given to these allegations outside this House. He has conducted himself in a manner which if any other member of the force had so behaved would give rise to uproar in this House. We now know that he secretly taped a conversation with a senior officer, a transcript of which has been published and was referenced today in the House. I would think there are concerns in this area.”
He later adds:
“I also believe it is important that those who make allegations have the evidence to substantiate them. They should not make allegations that are unsubstantiated and they should behave lawfully. I am not going to comment on what the Deputy is putting to me because I do not know the context in which the Commissioner made that comment. I have not read the transcript and I am not a member of that committee.”
Later, in relation to the matter of Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson and the O’Mahoney report, Justice Minister Alan Shatter told the Dáil:
“I said in the House that I expected that Sergeant McCabe would be engaged with the investigation and I expected that he would be interviewed. I also made reference to a matter on which other Members of the House are taking a different view. In the context of what is referred to as “the direction”, he clearly was not directed to engage but he was invited to engage with Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney.”
Mr Shatter also tells the Dail:
“I want to deal with the charge that I misled this House by claiming that Sergeant McCabe had not cooperated with the investigation carried out by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney. It was expected by me that Sergeant McCabe would fully engage as a member of An Garda Siochana with Assistant O’Mahoney’s investigation team and that he would be interviewed. These are, of course, operational matters in which no Minister for Justice should interfere and, of course, any such interference would be rightly subject to public criticism.
I have no interest in continuing contention with Sergeant McCabe about this matter, but the House will appreciate I cannot leave a charge of misleading it stand.
“I do not think it is disputed that, following furnishing to the O’Mahoney investigation team of formal allegations and documentation which originated from Sergeant McCabe and former Garda Wilson that there was no engagement between either Garda member with the investigation team before Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney completed his report. What is at issue is an interpretation of events which preceded publication of that report. In what I said to the House I relied on material which I received detailing the content of a direction given to Sergeant McCabe on a related matter which included inviting him to participate in the O’Mahoney investigation and the fact that a letter had been sent from an official of my Department in December 2012 which, specifically, advised Sergeant McCabe that any further information which might be helpful to the investigation should be brought by him to the attention of his authorities within the force. This letter is one of a number of letters exchanged by my Department with Sergeant McCabe.”
“The situation is further complicated by the fact that between the finalisation of the O’Mahoney report and its publication, he declined to take up an offer from Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney to meet with a member of his investigation team.”
“Clearly there is a difference of views and perception between An Garda Síochána and Sergeant McCabe with regard to this issue. I have explained the basis on which I made my statement and I can take it no further. However, I want to make it clear, because of some public comment that has been made, that there is no basis for the suggestion that the Garda Commissioner in any way misled me in relation to this matter. Nor is there any basis for an allegation that I in any way misled the House. I appreciate that different Members of the House may perceive these matters differently. It is unfortunate that perceptions are coloured on occasion by political differences.
February 28, 2014: It’s reported that Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins has asked the Justice, Defence and Equality Committee to invite sacked Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly to come before it.
It comes a day after Justice Minister Alan Shatter said it was a ‘complete mystery’ to him as to why Mr Connolly told Sgt Maurice McCabe “if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.
March 3, 2014: It’s reported that Sgt Maurice McCabe will write to the Ceann Comhaire Sean Barrett and ask Justice Minister Alan Shatter to correct the Dáil record over Mr Shatter’s comments that he and John Wilson didn’t cooperate with Assistant John O’Mahoney’s penalty points inquiry.
March 6, 2014: Former Garda John Wilson organises a rally in support of Sgt Maurice McCabe outside Mullingar Garda Station in Co. Westmeath – where Sgt McCabe is stationed. Some 150 people attend the rally.
March 9, 2014: In an interview with Philip Ryan of the Sunday Independent, the Garda Inspectorate Chief Inspector Bob Olson says he never received a whistleblower report from Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, as is required by law.
Mr Ryan reports:
“Legislation states that once the Garda Commissioner receives a complaint from the confidential recipient he is required to get the complainant’s permission to forward the allegation to Mr Olson’s office. However, the commissioner is not supposed to know the garda’s identity because the system for reporting malpractice protects their anonymity. Mr Olson said the “logical” thing for the commissioner to do is contact the confidential recipient, who could in turn seek the whistleblower’s permission to send the allegations of malpractice to the inspectorate’s office. But his office has never received a single whistleblower report, Mr Olson claimed.”
March 12, 2014: The Garda Inspectorate publishes its report into the penalty points scandal. In it, “consistent and widespread breaches of policy” are highlighted, while many of the concerns of the whistleblowers are vindicated.
March 16, 2014: On Lyric FM, Road Safety Authority Chairman Gay Byrne says Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter should apologise to Sgt Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, saying it’s the ‘right thing to do’. He said both men and been ‘grossly wronged’.
March 20, 2014: At a Road Safety Authority conference in Dublin Castle Fine Gael TD Leo Varadkar calls on Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to withdraw his ‘disgusting’ remark in relation to the garda whistleblowers Sgt Maurice McCabe and former Garda John Wilson. He calls the two men ‘distinguished’.
March 21, 2014: The Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes publishes the Data Protection Commission’s new audit on Garda compliance with the Data Protection Act. It found ‘disturbing instances of…improper access’ of PULSE by individual gardaí. Speaking after its publication, Mr Hawkes backs Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan’s criticism of Sgt Maurice McCabe and former Garda John Wilson.
He told RTÉ: “Once the whistleblowers had discharged, if you like, their moral duty to report malpractice within An Garda then there was not a basis for them continuing to access the Pulse system and even less so for disclosing confidential information about people to third parties.”
March 25, 2014: Mr Callinan steps down from his position as Garda Commissioner and Noirin O’Sullivan takes over as acting Garda Commissioner.
The Fennelly Commission, which saw Mr Justice Nial Fennelly tasked, in part, with looking at the sequence of events which led to Mr Callinan’s stepping down, sought from An Garda Siochana all relevant documents, correspondence and reports relating to matters which were the subject matter of Fennelly investigation.
Specifically, it sought Mr Callinan’s diaries and personal notebooks.
However, Mr Callinan told the commission he had “cleared out all personal papers after he announced his retirement on March 25th 2014”.
In addition, the commission noted that assistant commissioner Jack Nolan – the liaison person appointed to assist Fennelly’s investigations – told the commission:
“I am advised that the then Commissioner, at some point in the late afternoon [March 25th 2014] went to a filing unit in the Conference Room where he kept personal papers. He asked Superintendent Walsh to get some black refuse sacks as he wished to sort through his files. Later still he asked Superintendent Walsh to dispose of several bags of personal papers. There were possibly 8 – 10 bags, filled to a few inches if (sic) paper in each bag and knotted on the top. Superintendent Walsh advises that he did not see nor was he aware of what was contained in the bags other than then Commissioner Callinan informing him that they were personal papers gathered over the years.”
Assistant Commissioner Nolan went on to say that the black sacks were brought from the Conference Room to the shredding bins, which remained locked until the papers were shredded on April 4th 2014.
Mr Justice Fennelly also requested access to Mr Callinan’s mobile phone.
However, Mr Callinan told the commission that the phone he used as Garda Commissioner was an official phone and that he did not know where it was.
Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan told the commission the phone had been returned to An Garda Siochana by Mr Callinan, that the SIM card had been removed and the phone then returned to Mr Callinan. Mr Nolan also said he believed that the SIM card was subsequently destroyed.
Further to this, the Fennelly Commission again wrote to Mr Callinan, asking him to search for the phone. Mr Callinan found it and gave it to the commission but it had no SIM card in it and no information stored on it.
The Fennelly Commission then wrote to Mr Nolan requesting details of how the SIM card had come to be destroyed and who had authorised its destruction, as well as details of An Garda Siochana’s policy in relation to mobile phones once members have left office.
Although Mr Nolan originally said the SIM card had been destroyed in Garda Headquarters, he subsequently said the SIM card had not been returned by Mr Callinan and that it had been cancelled remotely on May 30, 2014, as it had not been used since April 16, 2014.
Mr Justice Fennelly then issued a discovery order to the service providers for Callinan’s phone.
But it found:
“As a result of this order, a certain amount of meta-data was made available to the Commission but the contents of text messages were not retrievable.”
In addition, Mr Callinan was unable to furnish Mr Justice Fennelly with his diary for 2013 as he could not find it, and searches carried out by An Garda Siochana also proved fruitless. He was, however, able to give Mr Justice Fennelly his diary for 2014.
Mr Justice Fennelly noted:
“If the former Commissioner, on retirement, was in a position to take his diary for 2014 with him, one would have thought that he would also have the diary that related to 2013. However, Mr Callinan has been unable to find it, in spite of several requests from the Commission. If, on the contrary, the former Commissioner’s 2013 diary remained at Garda Headquarters, it might have been expected that it would be carefully preserved in circumstances where the Government announced the establishment of a Commission of Investigation on the very day of the Commissioner’s retirement. It must be presumed that the diary for 2013 was included in the bags of “personal papers” that were shredded following Mr Callinan’s departure.”
March 26, 2014: Justice Minister Alan Shatter apologises to Sgt Maurice McCabe and former garda John Wilson for telling the Dáil in October 1, 2013 that the two whistleblowers didn’t cooperate with Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney’s report into the quashing of penalty points.
April 2014: Tusla opens separate files on Sgt McCabe’s four children – all of which included the allegation that Sgt McCabe was alleged to have abused a six-year-old girl and that the abuse involved both vaginal and anal penetration. Two of Sgt McCabe’s children were over the age of 18 when the files were opened.
April 12, 2014: An article by Paul Williams, in the Irish Independent, reports:
A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted as a child by a serving garda claims the incident was covered up through a botched investigation.
The woman claims she was six when a colleague of her garda father abused her. Both men are still serving members of the force.
She claims that the investigation into her complaint was flawed because it was conducted by a senior officer who worked with both her father and her alleged attacker.
Last night it also emerged that the original complaint and the subsequent investigation were not recorded on the garda’s Pulse system, which she alleges was done in an effort to cover it up.
Now 22, the woman claims she told her parents about the abuse when she was 14.
The allegations were reported to the gardai in the same divisional area where the alleged assailant and the girl’s father worked. A file was sent to the DPP, who later decided that there was insufficient evidence with which to charge the garda.
The alleged victim has claimed in an interview with the Irish Independent that the man was not formally arrested and the complaint was not recorded on the Pulse system.
It is mandatory for gardai to record all criminal complaints on the internal computer database. Failure to do so is considered a serious breach of discipline and procedure.
The woman has demanded that her investigation be re-opened in the wake of allegations by the garda whistleblowers that a dossier of cases, including rape and assault offences, was not properly investigated.
She wants her case looked at again in a similar fashion to those being reviewed by Sean Guerin SC, on foot of a dossier of alleged systemic garda malpractice compiled by whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson.
The woman is also seeking a meeting with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who brought the whistleblowers’ file to the Taoiseach’s attention last month.
“I don’t think the people who were involved (in the investigation) were impartial,” the woman told the Irish Independent.
“I honestly think that it was just brushed under the carpet which is why the incident was not even recorded on the Pulse system. The investigation was a farce,” she added.
The young woman added that she is seeking legal advice about taking a civil case against the garda authorities and her alleged attacker.
“The whistleblowers controversy brought back to me the whole anger about what happened to me and reinforced the reason that I hadn’t originally come forward because I was afraid of not being believed.”
Last night, a garda spokesman said that he could not comment.
April 15, 2014: Another article by Paul Williams appears in the Irish Independent. It states:
A young woman who claims she was sexually abused by a serving garda, and that the incident was covered up, has requested an urgent meeting with Micheal Martin.
The Fianna Fail leader has already brought a dossier of alleged garda malpractice cases to the Taoiseach’s attention. Now the woman wants to meet Mr Martin in order to highlight her own case – and outline claims that her allegations of being sexually assaulted by the still-serving garda were not properly investigated.
Yesterday, contact was made with Mr Martin’s office in order to set up a meeting with him, and she is awaiting a response. She claims a previous investigation into her complaint was flawed because it was conducted by a senior officer who worked with both her alleged attacker and her father, who is also a serving garda.
She has also claimed that her complaint against the garda was never recorded on the Pulse internal computer database – considered a serious breach of discipline.
The woman (22), claims she was six when she was abused.
The allegations were reported in the same divisional area where the alleged assailant and the girl’s father worked.
A file was sent to the DPP, who later decided that there was insufficient evidence with which to charge the garda.
She told the Irish Independent yesterday: “The fact that the original complaint and the subsequent investigation were not recorded on the garda’s Pulse system, I believe was done in an effort to cover it up, and I want this fully investigated.”
It is mandatory for gardai to record all criminal complaints on Pulse. The woman added: “I honestly think that it was just brushed under the carpet which is why the incident was not even recorded on the Pulse system. The investigation was a farce.”
She added that she is seeking legal advice about taking a civil case against the garda authorities and her alleged attacker.
“The whistleblowers’ controversy brought back to me the whole anger about what happened to me, and reinforced the reason that I hadn’t originally come forward – because I was afraid of not being believed.” Gardai have refused to comment on the woman’s claims.
May 2, 2014: A formal Garda notification form, setting out the detail of the allegation against Sgt McCabe, is sent to the superintendent in charge in the relevant district. This is eight months after the concerns were first raised. Sgt McCabe is not told that the Tusla files contain an allegation that he had abused a child.
May 5, 2014: A third article, by Paul Williams appears in the Irish Independent. It states:
Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to order an investigation into allegations that a young woman was sexually abused by a serving garda.
The woman’s claims were passed to Mr Kenny by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who met her in his Dail office earlier this week.
Last month the Irish Independent revealed how the 22-year-old woman claims that her allegations were not properly investigated by gardai and that the incident was then covered up. It has also emerged that the complaint was never recorded on the garda Pulse system.
The woman had an hour-long meeting with the Fianna Fail leader on Wednesday when she asked him to include her case in a dossier Mr Martin handed over to the Taoiseach in February.
A spokesman for Mr Martin confirmed the meeting had taken place. “The woman concerned has made serious allegations about the incident when she met with Mr Martin,” he said.
“He listened closely to what she had to say and he took her allegations very seriously and he has written to the Taoiseach.”
Mr Kenny acknowledged receipt of the information from the Fianna Fail leader yesterday. The woman claims that her allegations were not properly investigated by gardai because the officer in charge of the inquiry worked with her alleged attacker and her father, who is also a serving garda.
It is understood that she is also due to meet with investigators from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission and with a solicitor with a view to commencing a civil action against the garda concerned. “I was delighted to meet with Mr Martin and he listened closely to what I had to say,” the woman told the Irish Independent.
“I told him that my case had not been investigated properly and gave him the details of the garda involved and how I believed it had not been conducted properly,” she added. The woman first made the allegations against the garda in 2006 when she was 14 – the abuse allegedly took place when she was six.
The officer concerned worked with her father and the allegations were investigated by a senior officer who worked with her father and the alleged attacker. A file was sent to the DPP who decided the officer did not have a case to answer.
The woman came forward as a result of the whistleblower controversy and allegations of systemic malpractice in the investigation of serious crimes, including sex abuse cases.
“I think Mr Martin could see the seriousness of this when I laid out the facts to him.
“I told him that it is my belief that the case was swept under the carpet and covered up and he was very concerned at that.”
May [day unknown] 2014: Gardai from Cavan approach the woman who made the complaint about Sgt McCabe in 2006. She tells them she knew nothing of the matter concerning Tusla; she did not know her counsellor had made any referral to Tusla naming her as a complainant; and she did not make any allegation of serious sexual assault. The gardai, on realising that Tusla made a mistake, informed Tusla of this. This is later reported by John Mooney, in The Sunday Times.
May 6, 2014: Sean Guerin SC furnishes the Department of the Taoiseach with this findings.
May 7, 2014: Alan Shatter resigns from his position as Minister for Justice, following the findings of the Guerin Report.
May 8, 2014: Frances Fitzgerald, of Fine Gael, becomes the new Minister for Justice.
May 9, 2014: The Guerin report is published with Mr Guerin finding cause for concern as to the adequacy of the investigations into complaints by Sgt McCabe and also for the personal and professional consequences for the whistleblower.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald announces that a Commission of Investigation will be carried out, on foot of the Guerin review.
RTE reports that Sgt McCabe feels vindicated after the publication of the report.
May 14, 2014: The HSE counsellor contacts Tusla to say she had made an administrative error in her report to Tusla. In turn, an internal Tusla email states: ‘The line that ‘this abuse involves digital penetration, both vaginal and anal’ is an error and should not be in the referral. It is, in fact, a line from another referral on another adult that has been pasted in error. The counsellor has apologised and is sending us an amended report asap’.
Within minutes of receiving this report, the social worker releases an instruction that the garda notification be amended immediately and the relevant superintendent be notified of the update. The amended garda notification is sent to the relevant superintendent in charge, saying that an earlier report from this HSE counsellor contained an administrative error.
The notification said there had been an allegation of a single incident of sexual abuse, stating: ‘At the time of the incident, both the girl and the alleged were fully clothed and the incident involved inappropriate contact’.
May 16, 2014: The HSE counsellor emails the social work team leader, stating that she had had another call in relation to the matter.
“I was informed of the superintendent, in the jurisdiction referred to in the report, was not yet aware of the clerical error and has been asked to meet with the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] in relation to the case. I’ve agreed to send the superintendent the amended and correct report by registered post today.”
Ms O’Sullivan has said no such meeting was ever requested or ever took place.
It’s not known who made the “another call”.
May 28, 2014: Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan appeared before the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, telling it:
“Senior Garda management are very supportive of Sgt McCabe and certainly are in contact with him on a daily basis…His local management team have been in contact with him and they’re there to support him and assist him and that’s been made very clear to him and he also has the welfare services at his disposal.”
However, what Ms O’Sullivan told the committee was untrue.
Sgt McCabe was watching the proceedings that afternoon at home with his family and immediately called Ms O’Sullivan’s office to tell it that what she said was untrue.
This resulted in Ms O’Sullivan phoning Sgt McCabe, accepting his version of events, and offering Sgt McCabe her full support. She told him all his allegations would be thoroughly investigated and suggested that he nominate an appropriate person to whom he could bring his allegations.
June 2014: Supt Dave Taylor is investigated for allegedly leaking information to the media over a Roma child being taken into custody over fears she had been kidnapped. He’s transferred out of the press office to the traffic division in Dublin Castle.
July 11, 2014: Leo Varadkar, of Fine Gael, becomes the new Minister for Health.
February 3, 2015: On foot of the review and recommendations outlined by Sean Guerin SC in his report into Sgt McCabe’s allegations, the O’Higgins commission of investigation is established with Justice Kevin O’Higgins tasked with examining the claims made by Sgt McCabe about corruption and malpractice in the Cavan-Monaghan division.
February 15, 2015: Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s husband Detective Superintendent James McGowan seizes Superintendent Dave Taylor’s phone/s and laptop.
May 2015: Superintendent Dave Taylor is arrested and suspended from duty on reduced pay.
September 1, 2015: An interim report by the Fennelly Commission is published.
December 29, 2015: A child protection social worker writes to Sgt McCabe saying Tusla was investigating an allegation of abuse against him from the 1990s and that the abuse included digital penetration. He was invited to a meeting to discuss the allegations. It was the first time Sgt McCabe had heard of the allegation.
January 2016: Sgt McCabe responds, via his solicitor, stating the allegation was ‘wholly untrue’ and set out the circumstances behind the original, entirely different, allegation and the DPP’s finding that it was doubtful the allegations constituted a crime at all.
March 1, 2016: Supt Dave Taylor applies to the High Court to stop the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and the DPP from taking any further disciplinary or criminal proceedings against him.
It’s reported that Supt Taylor claimed evidence has been tampered with and that the investigation has been tainted beyond redemption. It’s also reported Supt Taylor’s wife has made a complaint to GSOC about the failure to preserve relevant evidence.
In a sworn affidavit, Supt Taylor says he was arrested exclusively for the purpose of embarrassing and inflicting pain on him and to hold him up to ridicule and contempt.
He also claimed that during his detention at Balbriggan Garda Station, investigators were tactless, oppressive, heavy handed, unnecessarily autocratic and failed to afford him a reasonable level of courtesy and respect.
Supt Taylor also said he was told by a journalist that he was to be arrested – two months before it actually occurred.
June 20, 2016: The same social worker from Tusla responds, stating the agency was obliged to assess the allegations but conceded ‘I apologise that a mistake was made in my previous correspondence. I can confirm to you that no allegation of digital penetration had been made in relation to your client.’
May/June 2016: Supt Dave Taylor, former head of the Garda Press Office, tells Sgt McCabe that he was told to spread the false rumour of abuse through texts, etc., to gardai, journalists and others. In a protected disclosure, he said he was told to do this by senior Garda management and that the then deputy Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, were kept fully briefed of the campaign at all times. Ms O’Sullivan has rejected this claim. Mr Callinan later tells the Sunday Independent that he will not be “engaging” publicly on the issue.
May 6, 2016: Simon Harris, of Fine Gael, becomes the new Minister for Health.
May 9, 2016: After securing sight of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation days before its published, Paul Reynolds, on RTE’s Morning Ireland, reports on the findings of the investigation. Among other things, Mr Reynolds says:
“…while on the one hand the Commission says Sgt McCabe was, quote, never less than truthful in his evidence that he gave to the Commission, it also says that he lied during this case, or as the Commission puts it, quote, told this untruth…
“He was a dedicated and committed member of the gardai, prone to exaggeration and while some of his complaints were upheld, others were proven to be overstated, exaggerated, unfounded and ultimately they were withdrawn.”
May 11, 2016: O’Higgins Commission of Investigation is published.
May 13, 2016: In the Irish Examiner, Michael Clifford reports that claims made by Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan’s senior counsel to the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation – that Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was acting out of malice – were proven to be untrue.
The allegations of malice were based on the meeting which took place back in 2008 in Mullingar, apparently between Sgt McCabe, Sgt Yvonne Martin and Supt Noel Cunningham. As Sgt McCabe recorded the meeting, he was later able to disprove the claim of malice alleged at the O’Higgins commission.
However, the events described above were not included in Justice O’Higgins’ findings.
During the O’Higgins commission of investigation, Ms O’Sullivan was represented by Colm Smyth, SC, while Sgt McCabe was represented by Michael McDowell, SC, now a Senator.
Mr Clifford reports:
At the very early stages, the inquiry was told by senior counsel for Ms O’Sullivan that evidence would be produced to show that Sgt McCabe had told two other officers that he was making his complaints because of malice he harboured towards a senior officer.
The inquiry was informed that the two officers had taken notes at the meeting in question and prepared a report which was forwarded to a senior officer.
However, a few days after the submission, Sgt McCabe informed Mr O’Higgins he had a tape recording of the meeting in question.
Mr O’Higgins indicated that the transcript coincided precisely with Sgt McCabe’s version of events and was in conflict with the allegation that he had told the two officers he was motivated by malice.
…At the inquiry, the commissioner was represented by the same counsel as two of the officers against whom Sgt McCabe had made allegations.
A Garda spokesperson said the commissioner was barred by statute from commenting on the commission.
May 16, 2016: Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan releases a statement saying, among other things:
“I have been asked to clarify certain matters in relation to the proceedings before the
O’Higgins Commission. I am legally precluded from so doing under section 11 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, which provides that it is a criminal offence to disclose or publish any evidence given or the contents of any document produced by a witness…I want to make it clear that I do not, and have never, regarded McCabe as malicious.”
May 17, 2016: On the RTE Six One news, Paul Reynolds reports that he has obtained new documents in relation to the exchanges between Garda Commissioner’s senior counsel Colm Smyth and Judge Kevin O’Higgins during the Commission of Investigation into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s complaints.
Mr Reynolds reports that the documents show Mr Smyth told the judge he was instructed, by the Commissioner, to challenge the ‘motivation and credibility’ of Sgt Maurice McCabe.
This, Mr Reynolds reported, was because Ms O’Sullivan had to consider the welfare of all of the gardai not just Sgt McCabe.
May 17, 2016: On RTE’s Prime Time, Katie Hannon reports on further sections of transcripts from the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation in May and November. Ms Hannon reported the following transcript:
Colm Smyth SC: “I have instructions from the Commissioner, Judge. This is an inquiry dealing with allegations of malpractice and corruption on a grand scale by members of An Garda Siochana.”
Judge Kevin O’Higgins: “No. This part of the inquiry…”
Smyth: “I appreciate that but my instructions are to challenge the integrity of Sgt McCabe and his motivation.”
O’Higgins: “The integrity?”
Smyth: “His motivation and his credibility in mounting these allegations of corruption and malpractice.”
O’Higgins: “…An attack on somebody’s credibility and his motivation or integrity is something that really doesn’t form part of this inquiry. It would be necessary for you to go further and say that the complaints and the actions of Sgt McCabe were motivated by… that is motivation was dishonest or wrong.”
O’Higgins: “…In other words that he made these allegations not in good faith but because he was motivated by malice, by some such motive and that impinges on his integrity. If those are your instructions from the Commissioner, so be it.”
Smyth: “So be it. That is the position judge.”
O’Higgins: “Those are your…”
Smyth: “Yes. As the evidence will demonstrate judge…[later] this isn’t something I’m pulling out of the sky, judge, I mean I can only acting on instructions.
O’Higgins: “But you are attacking his motivation and you are attacking his integrity?”
Smyth: “Right the way through.”
O’Higgins: “Full stop.”
Smyth: “Yes. Full stop.”
Smyth: “My instructions are reconfirmed.”
O’Higgins: “Very good. Your instructions as I understand them are that Sgt McCabe acted as he did for improper motives.”
O’Higgins: “Okay and that his integrity is being challenged in that respect.”
Smyth: “In that respect.”
O’Higgins: “Okay, fine. So be it.”
Later in November, on the day Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan is due to give evidence – by which time Sgt McCabe had produced a transcript of his meeting in Mullingar with two gardaí…
Smyth: “As far as the Commissioner was concerned at all stages I had instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe in relation to motivation and credibility.”
O’Higgins: “And integrity?”
Smyth: “No. There was no mention of integrity.”
Smyth: “…that is an error on my part.”
O’Higgins: “Well that is the clarification I sought. So the position now is that his motive is under attack, credibility is under attack from the Commissioner. But not his integrity.”
Smyth: “Just to be clear about it. The credibility in so far as he made these allegations of corruption and malpractice. There is no question about that.”
Smyth: “Judge, the Commissioner has a duty of care to all members. She wasn’t acquiescing. She has to hold the balance between, on the one part she has Sgt McCabe who she has a concern for and his welfare and on the other hand she has a concern for the Superintendents who are under her control. She has to hold the balance. She cannot come down on the side of Sgt McCabe and say I agree with everything he says without challenge.”
May 17, 2016: Further to Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s statement, Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford told the Tonight with Vincent Browne Show:
The documents show that, at the commission, Mr O’Higgins asked the commissioner’s lawyer whether “you are attacking his [McCabe’s] motivation and attacking his character”.
The reply from Colm Smyth, SC, was: “Right the way through.”
He told the judge that he was acting on instructions.
Mr Clifford also said that Sgt McCabe had considered taking out an injunction to prevent the publication of the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation’s report when he realised the draft report didn’t contain the episode concerning the issue of ‘malice’.
May 18, 2016: RTÉ Political Correspondent David Davin-Power told RTE’s News At One:
It’s hard to see how we are going to get of the bottom of this. Now the Opposition want the legal instructions which the Commissioner gave to her legal team to be disclosed but where would that end? After all, would that mean that other legal instructions, say that Maurice McCabe gave to his team, would have to be disclosed in turn?
And it really is a big ask in any situation to request that people disclose what they said to their lawyers in the course of proceedings or a Commission of Inquiry of whatever.
But, as things stand, what we do know from leaked transcripts is that there was an initial suggestion by the lawyer for the Commissioner that malice would have been part of the motivation attributed to Maurice McCabe but then, when he was questioned by the judge, some months later, another transcript, piece of transcript that’s leaked shows that he withdrew that effectively and said he simply wanted to question Sgt McCabe’s motivation and credibility which is bad enough when you think about it.
… the whole thing is really overly complicated by various disclosures and can be boiled down to what the Commissioner felt about Maurice McCabe at the time she was talking to her lawyers in advance of the O’Higgins commission.
Now I don’t know how much further we’re going to get because nobody is suggesting that the full transcript which would be voluminous of the commission is being published because that would call into question how people would behave in front of any future tribunals.
So I think we would probably have to wait until the Dáil debate on the O’Higgins report itself which we think will be next week. The Taoiseach will have to choose his words very carefully in relation to Alan Shatter, in relation to Maurice McCabe, in relation to Noirin O’Sullivan.
And he’ll also have to deal with the findings and the recommendations of the commission in relation to very questionable behaviour of gardaí in Baileboro which sadly has been somewhat obscured by the politics controversies.
May 18, 2016: In an item on RTE’s evening show Drivetime, Philip Boucher-Hayes said:
I’ve spoken to several people who were in attendance throughout, if not the entirety, most of the days that the Commission took evidence and they say that it was if Sgt McCabe was on trial. He said as much when he was under cross examination on several occasions and a serving member of the Gardai – that I’ve spoken to – who was present at several days of proceedings has told me: ‘They tried to blame Maurice for everything and it was bullshit.’
…Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and many of the individual senior officers – be they retired or serving – were all represented by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and acted for, at the commission, by Colm Smyth, senior counsel. So the legal strategy was, in most cases, centralised. The line of attack on McCabe was organised.
June 20, 2016: The social worker from Tusla responds, stating the agency was obliged to assess the allegations but conceded ‘I apologise that a mistake was made in my previous correspondence. I can confirm to you that no allegation of digital penetration had been made in relation to your client.’
October 2016: Two protected disclosures are made to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald – by Sgt Maurice McCabe and former head of the Garda Press Office Superintendent Dave Taylor.
Ms Fitzgerald later appoints Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill to investigate the disclosures.
In his protected disclosure, Supt Taylor claimed there was an orchestrated campaign, within the gardai, to destroy the reputation of Sgt McCabe. It’s alleged that he was following orders from senior gardaí and that both the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the current commissioner Ms O’Sullivan knew about the campaign.
John Mooney, in The Sunday Times, later reports that, as part of his protected disclosure, Mr Taylor claimed he sent a text to Ms O’Sullivan in which he told her a journalist had interviewed the woman who made the statement about McCabe back in 2006. Taylor claims O’Sullivan sent a one-word reply to his text: “perfect”.
In a statement to Mr Justice O’Neill, Ms O’Sullivan denied Taylor’s claims, and said she often responds to texts messages using the word “perfect” or “thanks”.
October 10, 2016: In an interview on RTE’s Morning Ireland, solicitor for Garda whistleblower Keith Harrelson, Trevor Collins tells Cathal MacCoille that he was concerned over the fact that Mr Harrelson’s complaints were not being included in the O’Neill review of Supt Taylor and Sgt McCabe’s complaints.
Mr Collins said he had written to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald four, if not five, times requesting that Mr Harrelson’s complaints be included, as well as those of other Garda whistleblowers.
Specifically, Mr Collins said Garda Harrelson had suffered similar treatment to that of Sgt McCabe.
“…[Keith Harrelson] has been the subject of surveillance, he has suffered victimisation, bullying harassment, as has his family. There has been a dissemination of rumour and innuendo which has been solely designed to undermine his credibility and that has been circulated within certain members of the media, certain politicians and his Garda colleagues... The whole campaign and operation here is designed to frustrate any investigation into my client’s disclosures, to discredit him and to destroy his reputation. So that if any findings are made, that his credibility and integrity is in his question.”
“…we’ve learned of an instance where certain issues were disseminated from Garda Headquarters to members of the media. This has confirmed what…this is one of the issues, this is one of the facts that have been confirmed to our client and this is confirmed to him that what he believed to be the case is in fact true.”
“I cannot go into it any further than that, Cathal, but what I can say is that the similarities as between the whistleblowers and so far as what has been reported and the treatment, it’s, you’re talking about whistleblowers from different divisions but they’re suffering the same type of treatment.”
November 6, 2016: Francesca Comyn, in The Sunday Business Post, reports:
High Court proceedings brought by a garda whistleblower have been put on hold to allow for the completion of an inquiry into claims of malpractice and bullying within the force.
Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was appointed to carry out a six-week investigation into claims by former garda press officer Superintendent Dave Taylor that senior gardaí engaged in an orchestrated campaign to destroy the reputation of whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
Taylor was due to apply for leave for a judicial review in which he raises claims that phone evidence which is key to the inquiry has been tampered with while held in garda custody.
Last Thursday his barrister Breffni Gordon sought an adjournment of the leave application while the retired judge completes his preliminary review. He said there was significant crossover between the court case.In a protected disclosure to justice minister Frances Fitzgerald, Taylor claimed he was instructed by garda management to discredit McCabe.
He is now trying to halt the internal investigation led by Chief Superintendent Jim McGowan. Criminal charges are not anticipated.
Taylor was required to relinquish his handset in December 2014 while the subject of a criminal and disciplinary investigation over leaks to the media about a Roma child removed from her family in Dublin.
Taylor’s solicitors recently wrote to Fitzgerald and Enda Kenny highlighting the “fundamental” need for Taylor’s mobile devices to be handed over to the inquiry for an independent forensic investigation.
The court heard that the government has not responded to the letter.
December 7, 2016: Retired High Court judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill – who has examined the protected disclosures made by Sgt Maurice McCabe and former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor – gives his review to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.
January 10, 2017: After requesting copies of every Tusla record about him and his family, Sgt McCabe receives a thick file of the various, incorrect notifications to the gardai.
The files also show that the girl who made the statement in 2006 had told Tusla – in August 2016 – that she did not wish to pursue the matter any further.
January 25, 2017: Sgt McCabe and his wife, Lorraine, meets with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone about the Tusla matters.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald claims Ms Zappone phoned her on the morning that Ms Zappone met the McCabes.
Ms Fitzgerald later tells RTE’s The Week in Politics: “I said to her, thanks for calling me, Katherine, and that was it’.
Ms Fitzgerald said this is the only conversation they had about the Zappone/McCabes meeting.
January 27, 2017: The chief operations officer of Tusla wrote to the Secretary General of the Department for Children and Youth Affairs acknowledging that ‘mistakes were made in the management of this matter’ and saying that he had ‘instituted a case review internal to Tusla’.
It also stated: ‘I regret that the management of this case did not reach the high standard we have set for the service and it is out intention to issue a full formal apology to Mr McCabe for the failings’.
February 6, 2017: A Cabinet meeting takes place, during which the terms of reference for a forthcoming a commission of investigation into allegations that senior gardai engaged in an orchestrated campaign to discredit Sgt Maurice McCabe. Mr Justice Peter Charlton will chair the commission.
February 7, 2017: The Government announces that it will establish the aforementioned Charlton commission of investigation.
The decision follows a review by Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill of the protected disclosures made by Sgt McCabe and Supt Dave Taylor in October 2016.
February 8, 2017: Labour leader Brendan Howlin tells the Dáil:
“This morning a journalist contacted me and told me they had direct knowledge of calls made by the Garda Commissioner to journalists during 2013 and 2014 in the course of which she made very serious allegations of sexual crimes having been committed by Sergeant Maurice McCabe. In 2015, the Garda Commissioner oversaw the investigation which examined the call logs of a garda who was under suspicion of leaking material to the media.”
“If it were a fact that the Garda Commissioner was in direct contact with the media making allegations against one of her officers at around the same time, it would be extraordinary.”
On the same day, the Government publishes the terms of reference for the Charlton commission into the protected disclosures made by Sgt McCabe and Supt Taylor.
Tusla is not mentioned in the terms of reference.
One of the terms is:
To examine all records relating to the mobile telephones used by Superintendent [Dave] Taylor and former Commissioner [Martin] Callinan and Commissioner [Noirin] O’Sullivan, in the period from the 1st of July 2012 to the 31st of May 2014 to ascertain whether there are any records of text messages or other telecommunication interactions relating to the matters set out at [a] and [b] above and to examine and consider the content of any such text messages or other telecommunication interactions.
“To investigate whether Commissioner O’Sullivan, using briefing material prepared in Garda headquarters, planned and orchestrated broadcasts on RTE on the 9th of May 2016, purporting to be a leaked account of the unpublished O’Higgins Commission Report, in which Sgt McCabe was branded a liar and irresponsible.”
Later, on the same day, in response to what Mr Howlin told the Dail, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan releases a statement, saying she has:
“…no knowledge the matter referred to by Deputy Howlin and refutes in the strongest terms the suggestion that she has engaged in the conduct alleged against a serving member of An Garda Siochana.”
It also says:
“This is the first occasion on which the Commissioner has been made aware of the allegations made by Deputy Howlin and to her knowledge no report having been made to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman or elsewhere relating to the specific allegations.”
February 9, 2017: In the Dáil, Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald repeatedly asks the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald if she is aware of any contact between An Garda Siochana and any other State agency in respect of Sgt McCabe.
Also in the Dáil, Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness asks:
“Is the Minister saying she believes other agencies of the State or Government Departments are excluded from this? For example, is Tusla excluded or will it be part of the commission’s work?“
Ms Fitzgerald responded:
“That will be entirely up to the commission to decide. I see no reason, if there is a relevant agency such as the one the Deputy mentioned, that it would not be included in the work of the commission.”
Michael Clifford, in the Irish Examiner, reports that a file containing a false allegation of child sex abuse against Sgt McCabe was sent to Tusla, gardai and widely circulated in 2013 without no effort to substantiate the claim.
On the same evening, on RTÉ One’s Prime Time, reporter Katie Hannon outlined the sequence of events that lead to Sgt McCabe being falsely accused of sexually abusing a child.
February 10, 2017: Tusla releases a statement saying it is “in the process of apologising fully” to Sgt McCabe.
In the afternoon, government ‘sources’ tell several journalists that Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone never informed Cabinet of the Tusla matter when the proposed terms of reference for the commission of inquiry into the handling of garda whistleblowers were discussed.
Later, a spokesperson for Ms Zappone releases the following statement:
Minister Zappone has met with Mrs Lorraine McCabe and Sgt Maurice McCabe. She has heard first hand of the devastation caused to them by the false allegations against Sgt Maurice McCabe.
The Minister became aware of the circumstances when Mrs McCabe contacted the office of the Minister for Health on 18 January 2017.
As the matter related to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Private Secretary of DCYA was requested to call Mrs McCabe. The private secretary did this on 18 January.
Minister Zappone met Mrs and Sgt McCabe on Wednesday 25 January. Since then her office has been in regular contact with Mrs and Sgt McCabe and Tusla – which has led to the offer of a public apology.
The Secretary General of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs held a meeting with Senior Tusla Personnel on Friday 27th January. Tusla provided DCYA with a chronology and analysis of the case – which my Department gave to Mrs and Sgt McCabe on Saturday 28th January.
Tusla informed the Secretary General that they have instituted a case review to extrapolate all relevant information in order to provide a more detailed analysis.
Minister Zappone informed relevant Government colleagues during the course of this period. Minister Zappone was always of the view that Tusla would form part of the investigation by the Commission of Inquiry.
Ms Zappone would not reveal which ‘Government colleagues’ she informed.
Later still, the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald releases a statement saying Ms Zappone informed her in January that she intended to meet with Sgt McCabe but that Ms Zappone did not inform Ms Fitzgerald of any details in relation to Tusla.
It also emerges that Taoiseach Enda Kenny was also aware of Ms Zappone’s meeting with the McCabes and was also not made aware of the details of their meeting.
Fianna Fail TD John McGuinness tells RTE’s Six One news that Tusla, in attempting to deliver its apology to the McCabe family, it first delivered it to their next-door neighbour, an 80-year-old woman.
February 10, 2017: The Irish Independent reports that the RTE Prime Time report is based on a document outlining the sequence of errors made by Tusla in the investigation, which was compiled by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office for the O’Higgins Report.
February 11, 2017: RTÉ’s Six One news reported that the HSE had apologised unreservedly to Sgt Maurice McCabe and his family for the false allegations of abuse against him because the allegations originated in the HSE-run National Counselling Service which subsequently referred it to the Tusla.
RTE reporter Dyane Connor said:
“In July 2013, it said, the allegation of retrospective abuse was made against Sgt Maurice McCabe to one of its counsellors. In August, the staff member referred the allegation to the HSE’s Child Protection Services which would later become Tusla. The HSE says the error was made in this referral when a more serious sexual abuse was mistakenly copied and pasted onto his file. The earlier allegation had been investigated fully and the DPP had concluded there was no grounds for a prosecution. In May 2014, the error of a serious sexual assault was brought to the attention of the National Counselling Service. The HSE says the NCS responded immediately by bringing this error and a corrected report to the attention of Tusla and An Garda Siochana and it had no further involvement.”
“In it’s statement today, the HSE said it is satisfied that correct procedure was followed once this error was brought to the attention of the National Counselling Service. An immediate internal review of guidelines, practices and protocols was undertaken within the NCS to ensure such an error would not reoccur. It says appropriate training was given and additional supervisory procedures were put in place in relation to the staff member concerned.”
February 12, 2017: During the Marian Finucane show on RTE, Ms Finucane interrupts the show to read a response from Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine to the HSE apology story which was reported on RTE the night previous
Ms Finucane said:
“Maurice McCabe has rejected the statement of apology released by the HSE today, or yesterday I should say. It’s understood the McCabes contacted one of Health Minister Simon Harris’s officials after watching a news item setting out the details of the apology on the RTE News last night.”
“The HSE has not yet made contact with the McCabes in relation to this apology. The McCabes sent a text to the official, stating: ‘We reject both the statement and apology. The HSE’s statement is wrong. And this is not good enough.’ ‘The file we have contradicts the statement and it is shocking that we have to, again, listen and deal with false information.’ They did not receive a response. The HSE’s statement states that once the alleged error was discovered, all proper procedures were taken by the HSE. However, documents released by Tusla, to the McCabes, highlights that there are serious questions to be answered. ‘A blanket statement from the HSE, without contacting us, was unprofessional and more annoyance to us,’ Lorraine McCabe said.”
February 12, 2017: On RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, Frances Fitzgerald said:
“I had no knowledge of all of the things that have emerged on Prime Time in relation to referrals to Tusla and how inadequately they were dealt with; the problems with the counsellor, those issues were absolutely … I was stunned watching those on Thursday night as the public were and as concerned and that’s the truth.”
“…I had no reason to put Tusla in the terms of reference because, as I said to you, I had no knowledge of the facts that emerged on the Prime Time programme on Thursday evening. That’s the reality of the situation. I did not know those details.”
However, later, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told RTE :
“Mrs Frances Fitzgerald is saying she wasn’t aware of the Tusla file until Thursday. I think she needs to clarify that. I need to put on record that our spokesperson for justice, deputy Jim O’Callaghan, met with Frances Fitzgerald on Wednesday evening, specifically to broaden the terms of reference of the Charleton inquiry, to take on board the Tusla file because we had been alerted to it and I had spoken to Maurice McCabe on the Wednesday. I was anxious the terms of reference would include the Tusla file. Jim O’Callaghan met Frances Fitzgerald, altered her to the existence of the file and that it needed to be covered.”
Also on The Week in Politics, Labour TD Alan Kelly said:
“I’ve been contacted by another whistleblower and I have seen the letters – 13 letters – he has sent to the Minister for Justice, outlining his issues. And in one letter, in October last year, he outlined how he had serious concerns with Tusla and how it treated him, his partner and their children.”
February 12, 2017: Taoiseach Enda Kenny told Colm Ó Mongáin, of RTE’s This Week, that Ms Zappone told him she intended to meet Sgt McCabe and his wife Lorraine “in a private capacity”. Mr Kenny said:
“That’s all I knew. I said to her, ‘well, if you do have a meeting, make sure you have a thorough account of it’. So, when we had our [Cabinet] meeting on Tuesday, I wouldn’t have been aware of any of the details of her discussions.”
Asked if he asked Ms Zappone what the meeting was about, he said: “No, because she was meeting him in a private capacity which she’s entitled to do.”
Later, it’s reported that the McCabes have lost faith in HSE and Tusla and will no longer have any engagement with either agency.
February 13, 2017: On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland Katie Hannon says, when the McCabes met the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone about the Tusla matters, the McCabes explained that they want to know who was in contact with the counsellor, on May 16, 2014, when, in an email, she mentioned to the social work team leader that she received “another call” in relation to the matter, before stating:
“I was informed of the superintendent, in the jurisdiction referred to in the report, was not yet aware of the clerical error and has been asked to meet with the Garda Commissioner [Noirin O’Sullivan] in relation to the case. I’ve agreed to send the superintendent the amended and correct report by registered post today.”
Ms Zappone accepted the McCabes concerns but, according to Ms Hannon, Tusla/HSE have been unable to furnish the McCabes with the name of this person who was aware of the superintendent’s knowledge, or lack of, and understood they were to meet the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.
Sources: RTÉ, Sunday Times, Irish Examiner, Phoenix magazine, Sunday Independent, Irish Times, Irish Independent, Irish Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Irish Daily Mirror and Irish Sun, O’Higgins Commission of Investigation, Guerin Report, Fennelly Commission of Investigation
Previously: The Thin Blue Timeline