McCABE RE­TIRES AF­TER DIS­CLO­SURES TRI­BUNAL CON­CLUDES

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Af­ter 12 years, MAU­RICE McCABE found him­self vin­di­cated by the find­ing of the Dis­clo­sures tri­bunal into Garda cor­rup­tion – but at what per­sonal cost? Can the Gar­daí re­ally change? It was Hal­loween this year when Mau­rice McCabe de­cided to put the hor­rors be­hind him and walk away.

The end came two weeks af­ter the find­ings of the Dis­clo­sures tri­bunal were pub­lished, ac­knowl­edg­ing what the judge called the “cam­paign of calumny” against McCabe af­ter he be­gan his whistle­blow­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

McCabe’s re­tire­ment drew the line un­der 12 years of abuse that he and his wife Lor­raine had suf­fered. As re­vealed in the ex­cel­lent RTÉ doc­u­men­tary Whistle­blower, when McCabe launched a com­plaint against fall­ing po­lice stan­dards in Ca­van, off-duty Gar­daí shared images of a plas­tic rat full of darts.

He’d be­come no more than a “cheese-eat­ing rat bas­tard” in his col­leagues’ eyes.

Al­to­gether more sin­is­ter were the false al­le­ga­tions of child abuse lev­elled against McCabe, which the for­mer Garda Com­mis­sioner Martin Cal­li­nan threw around, even years af­ter they’d been dis­cred­ited.

Tri­bunal head, Jus­tice Peter Charleton, said “A cul­tural shift re­quir­ing re­spect for the truth is needed” within the Gar­daí. In the doc­u­men­tary McCabe ad­mit­ted he’d con­sid­ered tak­ing his own life and that if he’d known the ex­tent of what he’d suf­fer, he “would never have done it.”

De­spite the res­ig­na­tions of Cal­li­nan and his suc­ces­sor Nóirín O’Sul­li­van, it’s clear that force cul­ture hasn’t changed – and the gov­ern­ment’s re­ac­tion has been baf­fling.

In an ef­fort to re­cruit a com­mis­sioner from out­side the force, for­mer RUC of­fi­cer and PSNI Chief Drew Har­ris was drafted in. Bizarrely, Har­ris can­not be fully ac­count­able to the gov­ern­ment as his ac­tions dur­ing the Trou­bles can­not be dis­closed un­der the UK’s Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act.

Are there a few bad ap­ples in the Gar­daí, or is the en­tire or­chard be­set with dis­ease?

The lack of Garda wit­nesses stand­ing along­side McCabe is not en­cour­ag­ing...

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