Gerard Lowry, the Cavan-Monaghan area manager with Tusla
Further to this morning’s earlier post in relation to the Disclosures Tribunal currently under way in Dublin Castle…
Readers may recall how Sgt McCabe wasn’t told of the false allegation of rape until a letter was sent to him on December 29, 2015.
The rape allegation pertained to a Ms Y and had nothing to do with him but ended up being associated with him on Tusla and Garda files from August 2013, following a series of communications between Rian counselling, Tusla and the gardaí.
The letter informing Sgt McCabe of the allegation – without acknowledging it was a mistake even though Tusla had been informed it was a mistake in 2014 – was sent to him in a letter by Kay McLoughlin, of Tusla, on December 29, 2015.
Kay McLoughlin’s letter stated:
“Dear Mr McCabe,
I am a child protection social worker employed by the Child and Family Agency, and I am investigating allegations made by Ms. D. The CFA has responsibility for the protection of children under the Childcare Act of 1991. The CFA is obliged to investigate allegations of abuse and to reach a determination as to whether there are sufficient grounds for believing that you may potentially pose a risk to children. The allegations made by Ms. D are as follows:
That on one occasion between 1998 and 1999 at the home of Maurice McCabe, Ms. D alleged that Maurice McCabe sexually abused her. The abuse allegedly involved digital penetration, and the victim was aged six to seven years old. It is reported that this allegation was investigated by An Garda Síochána some years later. A file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who directed that no prosecution take place. I would like to meet with you to discuss the allegations and allow you an opportunity to respond. A decision has not yet been reached with regard to the allegations and the purpose of this proposed meeting is to give you an opportunity to respond. On this basis, I would like to meet with you on –”
[there is no date]
“– in the CFA office [named venue]. If you intend to be accompanied by a supporting person for the meeting, please notify me. If you do not wish to attend or provide a response in writing, a determination will have to be made as to whether you may pose a risk to children without the benefit of your views. It may be necessary to carry out further investigations in light of information you provide. I will inform you of any proposed further investigations.
“I will provide you with the outcome of the Social Work Department’s assessment and give you an opportunity to respond to it, either by way of a further meeting or in writing. If the assessment outcome is that you may pose a risk to children, I will have to bring this view to the attention of any relevant third party. This may include your employer or your family. You will be notified prior to this being done. Please note that for the purpose of confidentiality the details of any allegations will not be discussed over the phone, should you choose to phone prior to your appointment.”
Mr McLoughlin’s superior Gerard Lowry has told the tribunal he did not notify Ms McLoughlin that this letter was wrong.
Yesterday, the tribunal heard Ms McLoughlin had emailed a copy of the letter to Mr Lowry for review, prior to it being finalised, but Mr Lowry did not open the draft letter which was attached to the email.
In response to this letter, two letters were sent by Sean Costello, on behalf of Sgt McCabe.
On January 20, 2016, the first letter stated:
“Dear Ms. McLoughlin Please note that we have been consulted by Mr. McCabe concerning your letter of the 29th December 2015. We are to take our client’s further instructions and shall respond to you within seven days. In those circumstances our client will not be attending the meeting with you tomorrow.”
Further to this…
The tribunal has heard about the second letter sent by Sean Costello to Tusla, on January 28, 2016.
The second letter refers to the DPP’s order not to prosecute Sgt McCabe in relation to Ms D’s 2006 allegation pertaining to an incident in relation to a game of hide and seek in 1998.
In his letter, Mr Costello outlined that not only did the DPP say that “no criminal offence had been described or disclosed”, the DPP also queried how the parents of Ms D could reach the conclusion that a sexual assault had occurred as described.
In the same letter, Mr Costello outlined that Mr D – the father of Ms D – “lost his position” after Sgt McCabe, who was the sergeant in charge at Baileboro Garda Station, implemented serious disciplinary procedures against Mr D, who was also a sergeant.
Also in the letter, Mr Costello said, it was only after the disciplinary procedure was taken against Mr D, that Ms D made the the original complaint in 2006.
Readers will note that Judge Charleton told the tribunal that Sgt McCabe denies there was a game of hide and seek in their home in 1998 – as alleged by Ms D in her 2006 allegation – and that it was “highly unlikely there was ever” a game of hide and seek as one of his children has serious special needs.
Yesterday, the tribunal also heard Mr Lowry say:
My memory then and now is that I have never actually been at a meeting with Sergeant McCabe about any matter.
The tribunal then heard a list of dates in which Mr Lowry chaired child protection conferences which were were attended by Sgt McCabe.
Mr Lowry accepted the record.
This morning, Mr Lowry was asked about this again.
He said he chaired approximately 100 such conferences a year for approximately 10 years and while he still couldn’t remember Sgt McCabe being at any of those meetings, he “fully accepted he was there” based on the records of the meetings.
In addition, the tribunal heard of an email Ms McLoughlin sent to Gerry Lowry and Seamus Deeney, Kay’s direct manager at the time, in May 2015 – some seven months before Ms McLoughlin sent her letter to Sgt McCabe.
“Dear Gerry and Seamus,
I, along with Gail [Penders], have been reviewing files on the MTP today. One relates to Maurice McCabe and I would like to discuss this case with you both before taking any action as it appears that this concern was referred to us in 2007 and Mr. McCabe was never met. It has come back in again due to media coverage of Mr. McCabe.”
Asked about this email this morning and the comment “It has come back in again due to media coverage of Mr McCabe”, Mr Lowry said:
“The media coverage didn’t influence our response.“
The tribunal also heard this morning hat the the number of referrals to Tusla amounted to 440 in Cavan and 263 in Monaghan in 2006, with these figures rising to 1,261 and 908 respectively in 2013.
Mr Lowry provided the tribunal with a report he compiled in 2014 in which Mr Lowry highlighted staffing level concerns in respect of the number of referrals.
The tribunal continues.
Earlier: ‘There Isn’t An Error In His Favour’
The second letter sent from Sean Costello to Ms McLoughlin, on January 28, 2016, said:
Dear Ms McLoughlin
Please note that we act on behalf of Mr. Maurice McCabe. Your letter dated 29th December 2015 is to hand and we have our client’s instructions concerning same. At the outset, we might ask you to state on what authority or remit you are considering this complaint and proposing to engage in a process which may ultimately result in some determination as to whether or not our client may (pose a risk) to children. You might, therefore, provide us with the statutory authority or other legal basis on which you are dealing with this matter. We await an urgent reply to this letter.
For your own information, and entirely without prejudice to the foregoing request, our client has instructed us to address this wholly false and malicious allegation to which you refer. The allegation is wholly untrue. The incident alleged to have occurred in 1998 and a complaint which was made in December 2006 were subject to a full investigation by An Garda Síochána.
The file, as you are aware, was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. What you may not know is that our client, when originally informed of the complaint, insisted that Ms. D be interviewed again in the presence of an independent social worker and that her allegation be carefully recorded. Both her accounts were sent to the DPP in the file.
The DPP not merely directed that no prosecution take place, but you should know that the DPP clearly stated that no criminal offence had been described or disclosed in the complaint. Our client is accordingly astonished to read the allegation now being made. This allegation of digital penetration was never made before and is in fact a new and entirely false allegation.
It can be easily demonstrated that this claim of digital penetration was never made to the Gardaí or to the independent social worker and our client has never heard any such suggestion until now. The DPP could never have found that the complaint disclosed or described no criminal offence if the allegation of digital penetration had been made to the Gardaí or social worker.
Our client had been sergeant in charge of Bailieboro Garda Station at the time of the making of the complaint. In 2006 he became aware of serious misbehaviours on the part of Ms. D’s father, who was also a sergeant in the station.
Our client caused the institution of serious disciplinary procedure against the complainant’s father in January 2006. The result being that her father lost his position and was reverted to other duties. It was only in the aftermath of Sergeant McCabe initiating the disciplinary procedure and other matters that Ms. D, in the company of her parents, made the original complaint, but in totally different terms against our client. In respect of the original complaint, which Sergeant McCabe knew to be wholly false, when this complaint was made our client insisted on being interviewed.
Our client also insisted that the complainant be interviewed by the Gardaí and a social worker without the presence of her parents. Our client, when interviewed, insisted on knowing the exact allegation being made. He was informed the allegation being made by Ms. D was that sometime when she was aged six, during a game of hide and seek with our client’s children in our client’s house, in the course of that game she alleged that he lent over her in a humping fashion.
This is and was utterly denied by our client. As we stated above, the original allegation was considered and decided on by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who not only found that no criminal offence whatsoever had been described or disclosed, but also queried how the complainant’s parents could have reached the conclusion that a sexual assault had occurred even as described.
We would also wish to inform you that our client’s family and employer, the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána, are now and have always been fully aware of the allegation made by Ms. D. If the purpose of the inquiry which you have made in your letter was, as your letter suggests, to enable consideration to be given as to whether his family and employer should be informed, that purpose is long since spent. We await hearing from you by return and pending receipt of a satisfactory reply to our request concerning your authority or remit, we will be in a position to take our client’s instructions if necessary.