Interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan speaking at the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on Wednesday and political correspondent for the Current Affairs Department of RTÉ, Katie Hannon on Prime Time last night.
On Wednesday, Ms O’Sullivan appeared before the justice committee and said:
“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, last night on Prime Time, Ms Hannon revealed that what Ms O’Sullivan told the committee was untrue. She said Sgt McCabe was watching the proceedings on Wednesday 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.
Ms Hannon reported that the Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny also contacted Sgt McCabe to also offer senior management’s full support.
From her discussion with Prime Time host, David McCullagh.
David McCullagh: ” Katie we now know that the interim commissioner phoned Sgt McCabe last night: what can you tell us about what was said?”
Katie Hannon: “Well, I understand the phone call concentrated on this issue, that became quite a controversy after her appearance at the Oireachtas Committee yesterday. But whether or not senior officers had been in touch with him, in regular touch with him, to offer their support, in relation to his complaints about ongoing harassment and I understand that, after quite a brief discussion on this, that the interim commissioner accepted that what she had told the Justice Committee yesterday was in fact not the case. And we have confirmation from the Garda Press Office tonight that she has been in touch with the Oireachtas Committee to clarify that.”
McCullagh: “So the Garda Commissioner was misinformed and she, in turn, misinformed the committee which would be regarded quite a serious matter in political circles.”
McCullagh: “Now do we know what sort of harassment is alleged?”
Hannon: “Well, I understand that there has been a number of incidents, maybe up to a dozen, which have been the subject of complaint by Sgt McCabe, some of them are along the line of what Mick Wallace stated there: senior officers making remarks, along the lines that he ‘destroyed the force’. Junior officers being asked, during reviews, whether or not Garda McCabe had hindered them in their work and other things that might have been considered minor but, maybe in this context, not so much. Like the duty roster in his station having an extra column added for whistleblowers but I understand that the incident that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as it were, was an incident last week where it was an operational matter that Sgt Maurice McCabe was involved in. He understood that, or realised that crucial information had been withheld from him, that put him in an invidious position with potentially serious consequences, he believed, and he found, after that, he decided that that was the last straw and I understand that that was the incident that prompted him to go on stress leave and he has been on stress leave since Monday.”
Further to this, Broadsheet understands from a source close to Sgt McCabe that the ‘operational matter’ referred to by Ms Hannon relates to an incident whereby Sgt McCabe was tasked with drawing up a road safety plan in the Midlands.
However, important information – including a Road Safety Authority report critical of a Garda proposal on the road safety plan – was deliberately withheld from Sgt McCabe.
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The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]