Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sergeant Maurice McCabe and "Corrupt" Garda Officers

Sergeant Maurice McCabe - Whistle-blower Extraordinaire

Introduction and Background

[As there are numerous actors in this drama I have highlighted in red those who have already resigned and in pink those who may be forced out in the near future]

According to the Wikipedia article on Garda Whistleblower Scandal
"In 2014, material revealed by two Garda Síochána (Irish police) whistleblowers, Maurice McCabe and John Wilson, as well as the handling of the material and of the whistleblowers, led directly to the resignation of Ireland's then Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter. It was also part of the background leading up to the resignation of the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan. It was also part of the reason for the retirement of his successor [as Garda Commissioner] Nóirín O'Sullivan."

This summary fails to mention the fact that the Secretary General of the Department of Justice Brian Purcell was also forced to resign in 2014 after the then Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said his Department was "not fit for purpose" and the new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald failed to support him. Leo Varadkar and Frances Fitzgerald are now respectively Taoiseach (Prime Minster) and Tanaiste (Deputy PM). The former is facing a demand from the opposition that he sack the latter - or else- for her alleged failure to deal with an alleged campaign of intimidation by Garda officers against Maurice McCabe. 

Meanwhile the present Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has accused Labour Deputy Alan Kelly of carrying out a "smear campaign" against himself. This allegation is rich considering Flanagan's own previous behaviour - as detailed in this blog. However there is little doubt that IF Leo Varadkar is forced to drop Fitzgerald, then Charlie Flanagan will become the next target for political liquidation!

It should be noted that in 2009 the then TD Charlie Flanagan slandered Nora Wall in a speech to Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament). Similarly, prior to becoming Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had thrown his weight behind an allegation that the Catholic Church was implicated in the murder of a 10 year old girl in 1970. AND only a few months ago, both Leo Varadkar and Frances Fitzgerald had placed themselves at the head of the mob that slandered journalist Kevin Myers by describing him as a Anti-Semite and a Misogynist!  

As the old saying goes - Curses are like chickens: they always come home to roost!

The Findings of the O'Higgins Report

A commission of investigation was established in February 2015 to investigate and report on certain matters relative to the Cavan/Monaghan Division of the Garda Síochána (Irish police). Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins was the Commission’s sole member. The Commission arose from the report of May 2014 from Mr Sean Guerin, SC, to the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) concerning allegations made by Sergeant Maurice McCabe. The then Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald officially published the report on 11 May 2016.

A detailed account of the O'Higgins Report is contained in an article by RTE crime correspondent Paul Reynolds  dated 9 May 2016 headed "Report: McCabe Dedicated But Prone to Exaggeration". In my opinion that is a very charitable description of Sergeant McCabe!

In Brief:

(i) The report cleared the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan of an allegation of corruption made by Sgt McCabe regarding the alleged placement of a senior officer on a promotion list. The allegation had no foundation

(ii) Complaints of corruption made by Sgt McCabe against Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne, Chief Superintendent Colm Rooney and Superintendent Michael Clancy were all found to be hurtful and unfounded. Sergeant McCabe also made allegations against his immediate superior Inspector Noel Cunningham– later promoted to superintendent. These were also dismissed and categorised as “unjustified criticism".

(iii) Claims of corruption in investigations The report found no evidence of garda criminality or corruption, but found junior gardaí were allowed investigate cases without sufficient supervision from more senior officers.

(iv) The former justice minister Alan Shatter was also completely vindicated in the report. The commission of investigation found that Mr Shatter, who was the subject of an unprecedented, hate-filled campaign, did indeed take Sergeant McCabe's allegations "very seriously" and his actions on the matter were "entirely reasonable and appropriate". (Note: It was actually the publication of the report by Sean Guerin SC in May 2014 that caused the resignation of Alan Shatter - not testimony by Sergeant McCabe.)

MY QUERY:How is it possible for anyone to mistakenly accuse FIVE superior officers - and some colleagues - of corruption?

There is no need for conspiracy theories in relation to this 'scandal', no need to imagine senior Garda management setting up a smear campaign against Sergeant McCabe. Apply 'Ockham's Razor'to the problem; this is the explanatory principle developed by the Franciscan philosopher William of Ockhan several centuries ago i.e. 'among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected'. (Or 'if there are two alternative explanations, the simpler one is most likely to be true'.) 

Sergeant McCabe made himself extremely unpopular with his superiors and his Garda colleagues by falsely accusing them of corruption. Justice O'Higgins assumed that he was mistaken rather than malicious but in practice this makes little difference to the people affected by his false allegations. But why should they - or any other Gardai, or the Minister for Justice - engage in a secret conspiracy to damage Maurice McCabe's reputation when he did it all by himself?

Article by former TD and MEP Gay Mitchell in Irish Independent on 27 November

The article is called "Varadkar has golden opportunity to show leadership mettle and stand up to Sinn Fein"

"To this day I do not know why Alan Shatter, a conscientious and able justice minister was pushed from office. Two Garda commissioners have also departed. We have now lost to premature retirement the secretary general of the Department of Justice. Ms Fitzgerald's "offence" seems to be that she saw an email about which she was required by law to not intervene, even if it had registered with her. She obeyed the law."

Gay Mitchell believes that Sinn Fein want another official decapitated and that Fianna Fail feels obliged to assist for fear of missing out on the publicity. He concludes correctly that "the tail is wagging the dog". However I don't think that this analysis goes deep enough. 

Basically the problem does not lie with Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail or with any politician. The problem is that nobody is questioning the bona fides of Sergeant Maurice McCabe - certainly not the media and consequently not politicians or the public either. It's not a question of citizens thinking - well Sergeant McCabe has made some serious mistakes but in general I support him. People seem to be  unaware of the most basic facts about this fake scandal - because the media have arranged it that way. The public seem to view Maurice McCabe as a lone hero who is fearlessly defying the might of vicious and powerful politicians. The opposite might be closer to the truth!

1 comment:

  1. Since Frances Fitzgerald has now resigned I have changed her status from Pink to Red. (See first sentence in Introduction to article). Leo Varadkar is definitely weakened by this lunatic 'scandal' but if I give him status Pink, I will probably be accused of Homophobia! (Discretion is the better part of valour). I look forward to changing Charlie Flanagan's designation to Red. I used to think that only Left-Wing types engaged in THAT brand of thuggery but he enlightened me!