McCabe was a sergeant in Bailieboro in the Cavan-Monaghan division when he took a number of complaints to Garda Headquarters, Phoenix Park Dublin.
They related to neglect of duty and other “malpractice” including a chief superintendent’s alleged failure to act appropriately when McCabe brought his concerns to the officer’s attention. He also claimed he had been victimised. A chief superintendent was appointed by Garda Headquarters to investigate.
Later in 2008 McCabe went to the then confidential recipient Brian McCarty
to make further serious allegations.
They included the failure by gardaí to notify a court in 2007 that Tipperary man Jerry McGrath was already on bail for attacking a female
taxi driver when he came before the courts seeking bail for the attempted abduction of a child. (He was granted bail again and while free murdered Sylvia Roche Kelly in a Limerick hotel in December 2007.
The allegations in late 2008 concerned the failure of gardaí to properly investigate several cases including attempted rape, falsification of records, failure to deal with sexual harassment of a female garda and blocking him in assessing and monitoring probationer gardaí.
McCabe again contacted the confidential recipient alleging he was being victimised for making the earlier complaints. And later in the year he contacted the confidential recipient again about further alleged harassment. This time an assistant commissioner and chief superintendent were appointed to investigate.
When that inquiry was completed, the assistant commissioner in charge of it submitted 10 files on the allegations into the alleged malpractice in Bailieboro to the DPP, who directed there was insufficient evidence for any prosecution. The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission GSOC inquiries reached the same conclusion on the same complaints.
McCabe also made a complaint against an assistant commissioner who he alleged had assaulted and falsely imprisoned him. That allegation was investigated by a deputy commissioner and a file sent to the DPP, who directed no charges be brought.
In January, by now having been transferred to the traffic corps in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, McCabe went to the then confidential recipient Oliver Connolly. He made 12 allegations against a named superintendent for “direct wrongdoing or not dealing properly with wrongdoing” and a complaint of assault and false imprisonment against an assistant commissioner.
There was also a complaint against the Garda Commissioner for permitting a named superintendent to sit on a promotions panel despite having allegedly been guilty of wrongdoing.
The batch of allegations included very serious charges of gardaí falsifying, altering and destroying official records.Shatter wrote to Callinan the following day and requested an “urgent report”.
Callinan responded saying 11 of the 12 new allegations were those McCabe had made via the confidential recipient back in 2008 and had already been dealt with. He said the 12th complaint related to a priest who had sexually abused a young boy, pointing out the cleric had been investigated and sentenced to five years.
In September solicitors for McCabe wrote to Shatter and passed on three booklets of documentation and requested the establishment of a special independent inquiry provided for by the Garda Síochána Act.
Not included in Shatter’s account yesterday were McCabe’s efforts to blow the whistle around the termination of penalty points and his securing an invite to the Public Accounts Committee last month on that issue.
Aside from including some penalty points related allegations in the booklets forwarded by his solicitor to Shatter in September 2012, McCabe has approached members of the Oireachtas with his penalty points allegations rather than those limbs of State he dealt with thus far and clearly feels frustrated with; the Garda, Department of Justice, Minister for Justice, the GSOC, the DPP and the confidential recipient.
Shatter has now set out a scenario of complaints being made repeatedly and not being upheld despite investigation and of a complainant unable to accept those outcomes. However, McCabe and those who support him have already scored major victories.Confidential recipient Connolly has been relieved of his position and the GSOC is now investigating aspects of the Jerry McGrath case.
Barrister Sean Guerin has, after weeks of intense political pressure, been appointed to assess how Shatter and his department dealt with the complaints raised by McCabe in recent years that are now in the dossier Micháel Martin has taken up. And Shatter has been bounced into a similar internal Departmental review. With so many processes still in play, there is plenty to come.
During several hours of debate yesterday more details emerged, as opposition deputies rounded on Justice Minister Alan Shatter and called on him and the Garda Commissioner to resign.
Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness revealed yesterday that he had been contacted by another member of the Garda who had been steered clear of pursuing an allegation of sexual harassment.
The female garda went to ask Garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly to process her complaint but was told that “the last man who used the service was now washing cars in Navan”, the TD said.
Mr Connolly then allegedly told the female garda “not to forget his proximity to the minister and not to think that he had not had a word in his ear”.
“The confidential recipient suggested to this person that she should play the political game and then she might get preferential treatment elsewhere,” Mr McGuinness said.
Mr McGuinness said the female garda was standing over her words and it was a pity the Garda confidante could not be questioned about this alleged conversation as he had been sacked by Mr Shatter.
Mr Connolly was fired last week for having an inappropriate conversation with Sgt McCabe in which he allegedly said that “if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished”.
Elsewhere, Wexford TD Mick Wallace launched an emotional attack on the minister. He said people were “right to be cynical about politics and politicians”.
“This place is a joke. We play games in here, and sometimes these games lead to the unfair distribution of justice or no justice at all.”
The Independent TD called on Mr Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to resign. His calls for the Garda chief to go were echoed by Dublin South TD Shane Ross. Mr Ross also pointed out that the top 200 gardaí were politically appointed.
Former European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton said members of the Coalition parties were alarmed by claims surrounding matters of justice in recent weeks.
“I know very well that there are members of the current Cabinet and colleagues in the Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties who have been privately appalled by what has taken place over the last number of weeks. These members are not appalled because they believe it is damaging their support for the local and European elections, they are appalled because of the cavalier attitude shown to matters of profound importance to the free and fair administration of justice in this state.”