Maurice McCabe ‘owed hefty payout by State’

By Daniel McConnell
Political Editor

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe should be paid massive damages following the State apology given to him yesterday, it has been claimed.

The State is facing a significant payout to Sgt McCabe, who is already taking a case against Tusla, the child and family agency, after it grossly mishandled an erroneous allegation against him. Tusla has already formally apologised.

He yesterday received a full State apology for the smear campaign carried out against him by former Garda commissioner Martin Callinan, more than 12 years after first raising concerns about the force.

The possibility of a new financial settlement to Sgt McCabe was raised after a formal state apology was given to him and his family. 

Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan said: “He should be paid damages. The State has now apologised and he was defamed by what was said about him by the then most senior police officer in the land.”

During a Dáil debate on the findings of the third interim report of the Disclosures Tribunal by Judge Peter Charleton, Mr Callaghan said while the apology was fully merited and justified, Sgt McCabe deserves more.

“Sgt McCabe is entitled to another remedy. But the State needs to recognise that its most senior police officer engaged in a campaign of calumny against Sgt McCabe and that campaign has to be rectified by the State,” he said.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan issued the apology to Sgt McCabe and his family after what he called the “reprehensible” behaviour of some members of An Garda Síochána towards him.

“I have spoken with Sgt McCabe on the phone and, on behalf of the State, I apologised to him and his family for the manner in which he was treated over a prolonged period. He was extremely gracious and accepted that apology in the spirit in which I offered it,” said Mr Flanagan.

“My sincere hope is that he, his wife Lorraine, and their family can now put this horrendous and prolonged ordeal behind them and get on with their lives.”

Meanwhile, the debate heard claims that former tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald was hounded out of office by “kangaroo courts” in the Dáil and at the public accounts committee.

Mr O’Callaghan said Ms Fitzgerald resigned after getting “caught up” in the controversy surrounding the O’Higgins commission and issues relating to Sgt McCabe.

“I bear no ill will toward Frances Fitzgerald, I share the view that she is a fine politician. But I cannot be insincere. Inaccurate and incorrect information was given to the Dáil, there was a requirement for political accountability, and, unfortunately for her, she got caught up in that. There was nothing personal but she was accountable to this House,” he said.

Mr Flanagan said:

I would like to say that Frances Fitzgerald is a loss to the Cabinet and I do not believe that her resignation served any public interest, though it may have served the political interests of some people and some parties in this House. I hope to see Frances Fitzgerald returned to high office in the near future.

At last night’s Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said Ms Fitzgerald had been “completely vindicated” by Judge Charleton’s report. “Many of the cheerleaders who had called for her head last November had remained silent since last week.”

Independent TD Clare Daly said Judge Charleton’s report was a searing indictment of several State institutions, in particular An Garda Síochána and Tusla, and of the media.

“He castigated a number of journalists for frustrating the work of the tribunal and the public will. He castigated the public relations companies, which he has characterised, correctly, as far as I am concerned, as a hideous development in Irish public life given the domination of spin,” she said.

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