From top: Sgt Maurice McCabe; Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan
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.’
The ‘they’ in this case is the Garda HQ, and what that member of the force was referring to was either individual Gardaí or An Garda Siochana corporately claiming that Sgt McCabe was actually the person at fault in each of the cases that he blew the malpractice whistle on. When of course the judge found out that he wasn’t blamed at all.
You’re not going to find much reference to this in the completed report. Much of the process, the business of the commission revolved around Maurice McCabe having to prove that he wasn’t guilty of the very malpractices that he had highlighted in the first place by bringing them to the attention of the Confidential Recipient [Oliver Connolly] and to [Fianna Fáil leader] Micheál Martin.
In one case, to give example, he was accused by gardai of having given an instruction that was central to one of the cases of malpractice but, after scrutinising his diary from many, many years earlier, McCabe was actually able to offer the watertight alibi that he wasn’t on duty that particular day that he was accused of having done something because he was actually present at the birth of one of his children.
…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.
RTÉ’s Philip Boucher Hayes speaking on Drivetime last night.
Listen back to his report in full here
Earlier: Who is Misleading Whom
Previously: ‘Something For Everyone’