McCABE RETIRES AFTER DISCLOSURES TRIBUNAL CONCLUDES
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...