A truth-telling cop, an Irish Serpico, now threatens to bring down this current Irish government amid a welter of corruption and false evidence charges.
Matters came to a head this weekend with Sinn Fein announcing they were putting down a motion of no confidence in the government and their handling of the case of Sergeant Maurice McCabe.
Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald stated "The manner in which they (the government) have handled the scandalous campaign of character assassination against Sergeant Maurice McCabe renders this Government unfit for public office.
"Sinn Féin will table a motion of no confidence ... in this cover up Government without delay.
"We will be seeking support for this motion of no confidence from all opposition TDs and Fianna Fáil," added McDonald.
A weekend poll showed main government party Fine Gael 12 points behind Fianna Fail who have been propping them up in government. The poll was taken before the latest McCabe revelations.
Sergeant McCabe was a whistleblower, calling time on corrupt colleagues and especially on illegal practices such as removing penalty driving points for driving offenses for favored big shots.
McCabe examined the Garda (police) computer system known as Pulse and uncovered numerous corrupt uses of the penalty points cancellation. He gathered the information and presented it to the top police officials.
Sensationally among those who had benefited was the police commissioner himself, Martin Callinan. When this became public, and a whitewash inquiry occurred Callinan called McCabe and a colleague who has since left the force “disgusting.”
When the McCabe allegations of penalty point corruption were confirmed the commissioner retired early, and Justice Minister Alan Shatter who had also savaged McCabe resigned. But the controversy was only beginning. What transpired at the weekend however, was truly sensational. A file containing an utterly bogus claim that McCabe was a pedophile and had anally and vaginally penetrated a young girl was found in possession of the child protection agency Tusla.
After McCabe had exposed a corrupt colleague in an assault case in 2006 that colleague’s daughter had claimed McCabe had tickled and touched her during a game of hide and seek. The motivation clearly was revenge, and the Director of Public Prosecution stated there was no basis whatever for the claim.
However, her claim had now turned up again with extra and graphic details on anal and vaginal penetration that were not even included in the original file. Tusla also added files for each of McCabe’s kids, even though two are adults and even though they never informed the alleged defendant McCabe of what they were doing. They sent the file to police authorities without McCabe knowing in complete disregard of all legal protocols
The child agency stated last week that the new and lewd details had been connected to another case and had somehow been transposed into McCabe's file and they apologized. It was the first McCabe knew of the bogus accusations against him.
However, every crime journalist in Dublin was fully aware of the case as senior police officials had spread word of the file, which they certainly knew all about claiming it was real, to every major media source. That had highly colored the coverage of McCabe with top cops undermining every one of his revelations with leaked stories about how dreadful a human being he really was.
A leading Irish politician stated that Commissioner Callinan had personally tried to blacken McCabe’s reputation saying he was not to be trusted during a private meeting and politicians are probing current Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and whether she may have known a fully fledged campaign was underway to blacken McCabe’s name.
Tusla was finally forced into the open following excellent investigative work by the Irish television program Prime Time.
Then came another twist when it was revealed that Children's Minister Katherine Zappone, the American-born politician was told by the child agency of the file and that it had been sent to police authorities.
She said she had informed senior figures in the Irish government of the existence of the file and where it was, but the government leaders including Enda Kenny stated that they had never received any detailed information.
Zappone, in Seattle for a family event was due to fly back to Ireland this week and faces a media storm.
Meanwhile, Sergeant McCabe is finally getting the justice he sought. McCabe first came to prominence when he reported an assault case in his jurisdiction in Cavan had not been pursued properly. He especially exposed corruption in the “penalty point” system where well-known figures who drove drunk, got into accidents, were caught speeding had their penalty points scrubbed by top police brass.
Opposition politicians have already named several well-known figures alleged to have had traffic offenses quashed. They include rugby star Ronan O'Gara, Judge Mary Devins and crime reporter Paul Williams, now a special correspondent for Independent newspapers who has always had excellent police sources.
McCabe became a whistleblower after a previous police scandal had resulted in a call for better governance and for whistleblowers to step forward. As Michael Clifford reported in the Irish Examiner, "He had first made complaints, some years previously, about what he deemed malpractice and deception. He had a good record when he was asked to be station sergeant in Bailieboro, Co Cavan. While there, McCabe encountered a number of concerns. Eventually, following what he saw as shocking incompetence in the investigation of a serious assault, he made a complaint. Others followed. A number were upheld, but McCabe wasn’t informed whether any action was taken against the officers involved. Pretty soon, it became apparent that he was regarded as troublesome. Making complaints wasn’t the done thing. Get on with the job; look the other way; bite your tongue, and move on.” The blue wall of silence was to be held intact.
On Dec 14, 2012, McCabe was called in by his district superior and told he was being ordered to desist from disseminating information gleaned from the Pulse system. McCabe had examined files on the system that illustrated widespread abuse of the penalty points system. Now, he had an order issued against him. The message was being conveyed to him that the upper echelons of the force had identified him as a whistleblower.”
Soon after he became the subject of an investigation into a lost computer seized from a suspect alleged to have child pornography on it. McCabe wasn’t even remotely connected to the case, and the investigation cleared him. But he knew he was on notice especially with death threats and anonymous threatening phone calls.
Columnist Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times stated that if the collusion between the child agency and the cops occurred in order to blacken McCabe as now seems the likely case it was incredibly serious.
“The very possibility this could have happened is a threat to Irish democracy. A State that has seen off subversion from without may be looking at something even more dangerous: subversion from within. It is not good enough to hope this did not happen – we have to know for sure whether it did or not.”
We know Frank Serpico was set up by his own colleagues during a drugs raid when he called for backup and none came and he was seriously injured. Maurice McCabe has experienced the same lonely battle
When asked about his role in uprooting corruption among Irish cops he said “Having been treated the way I was for reporting the above, I don’t think that I would do it again. It destroyed me, my career and my family.”
It may also destroy this current Irish government.