Belfast Telegraph

Garda memo was attempt to ‘belittle and isolate’ whistleblower, tribunal told

The memo said ‘no systemic failures’ had been found by an internal probe into Sergeant Maurice McCabe’s claims.

Senior officers attempted to “belittle and isolate” Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe by circulating a memo that said his claims of corruption were unfounded, his lawyer has said.

Former Garda commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan told the Disclosures Tribunal on Wednesday the memo from 2011, which followed an internal inquiry into Sgt McCabe’s allegations, might not have been “the most prudent thing to circulate”.

The tribunal heard the memo was drafted by Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney and circulated by Superintendent Mick Clancy and Superintendent Noel Cunningham.

It stated that after an internal inquiry, carried out by Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, no systemic failures or criminal conduct had been identified.

The document concluded with a request to “please inform all concerned”.

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Garda Commissioner before the Oireachtas Joint Committee

It was forwarded to all Garda stations in the district where Sgt McCabe worked, and was posted throughout several of them.

Sgt McCabe’s lawyer Michael McDowell said the memo “was designed to isolate Sergeant McCabe, belittle him and belittle all the concerns which you (Mrs O’Sullivan) say were legitimate concerns”.

Mrs O’Sullivan responded: “I can’t comment on the mind of Chief Superintendent Rooney when he wrote and circulated it.”

Mr McDowell then asked her: “Will you agree with me, on ordinary reading, it is to belittle Sgt McCabe?”

The retired police chief replied: “Many readings can be taken from it. I am capable of reading, thank you.

“I can understand the perspective Sgt McCabe may have had of this document.

“It might not have been the most prudent thing to circulate at the time.”

She added: “I have never worked in Bailieboro district (where Sgt McCabe worked) and am finding it difficult to put myself in the shoes of the person who wrote it, who perhaps had to balance the workplace he was dealing with at the time.

“I am reluctant to give commentary.”

She told the tribunal that when she took up the position of acting interim commissioner – which was after the memo was circulated – she ensured that support mechanisms were put in place for Sgt McCabe.

Mrs O’Sullivan’s evidence to the tribunal concluded on Wednesday.

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