Three social workers involved in the processing of the false Maurice McCabe sexual abuse allegation in Tusla are to face a fitness to practise inquiry.
The sworn inquiry is to be convened following a decision by a preliminary investigation that the three have a case to answer at a full inquiry.
The inquiry is being held under a 2005 act which stipulates that it be in public unless a decision is made to hold it in private.
The three social workers, Gerard Lowry, Seamus Deeney, and Katherine McLoughlin, were employed by the child and family agency in the north-east region between 2013 and 2016 when the false allegation against the Garda whistleblower was processed.
All three gave evidence to the Disclosures (Charleton) Tribunal about how a false allegation against Mr McCabe came to be processed.
The tribunal found there was a litany of errors within the child and family agency but it did not find that anybody had acted with malice against the former Garda sergeant and his family.
Documentation concerning the establishment of the fitness to practise hearing states that it “will consider some or all of the matters in respect of the conduct of the above social workers that was considered at the Charleton inquiry”.
The matter arose when a counsellor mixed up a referral to the agency in August 2013. The counsellor had seen a young woman, known as Ms D, who mentioned an allegation she had made against Mr McCabe, dating from when she was a child.
That allegation had been dismissed by the prosecuting authorities at the time as being without foundation.
However, the counsellor mistakenly mixed up that referral with an entirely separate case involving an allegation of rape.
Mr McCabe’s name was then associated within the agency for nearly a year with the grievous allegation.
A file was opened on his children on the basis that they may be at risk from him.
Eventually, in May 2015, the error was discovered but the McCabe family was never notified about what had occurred.
Despite the discovery of the error, Mr McCabe received a notice from Tulsa in late 2016 that he was the subject of a serious allegation and stating that he might be a danger to children.
Only then did the McCabe family become aware of what had occurred.
News of the affair led to the establishment of the Disclosures Tribunal and the McCabe family launched legal action against Tusla.
The hearing is being held by the Professional Conduct Committee of Coru, the health professional regulator. It is open to the committee to find that if a complaint is upheld, the subject of the complaint can be deregistered from their profession. An application to the High Court is required to impose such a sanction.
It is also open to the committee to impose a lesser sanction or to determine that the complaint does not merit any sanction.
The Irish Examiner understands that a date for the inquiry’s hearing has not yet been set. A spokesperson for Coru said that a fitness to practise hearing is a statutory complaints process and as a result, it can not comment on any matter regarding complaints.
Fred concludes: After watching the Prime Time two part special on the Maurice McCabe story, it really shook people to the core, across the Island of Ireland and no doubt beyond. I have written on former Sgt McCabe before and not forgetting the courage of his faithful wife, Lorraine, and his family, this man deserves respect from every members of Dail Eireann and beyond.
Tulsa are not fit for purpose and I sadly would have recommended, not just an inquiry, but I would go as far as saying a Criminal Inquiry into the treatment of Maurice McCabe by this agency of the State, is required. It is easy to say Malice was not involved here. I find this hard to accept also and this is my opinion. Error they call it. How can an innocent man, father, a Garda, a human being and a whistleblower of the Truth within An Garda Siochana be classified as a Rapist falsely on a Tulsa file for almost five years.
Accountability seems to be lacking in every sector of this country and hopefully and I repeat the word hopefully somebody will have the courage to stand up and tell the Facts and Truth on who tried to destroy an innocent man and his father. The only Crime that Maurice McCabe did WAS TO TELL THE TRUTH AND EXPOSE CORRUPTION AT A NATIONAL LEVEL WITHIN A CORRUPT AN GARDA SIOCHANA. Only for Maurice McCabe recorded that famous meeting, arranged by former Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, his career and credibility would have been buried. They really were out to get him and today I say to the four Gardai in the pub – and this photo is easy found – holding a plastic rat in their hands, trying to intimidate the McCabe family – THEY SHOULD HOLD THEIR HEADS IN SHAME AND THEY ARE UNFIT TO WEAR THE UNIFORM OF THE STATE.
They had a plastic rat’ – Maurice McCabe tells of online abuse by former Garda colleagues
Maurice McCabe and his wife Lorraine
GARDA whistleblower Maurice McCabe has told of the social media abuse he was subjected to by former Garda colleagues after he lifted the lid on corruption within the force.
Mr McCabe, who formally retired last week, said photographs of a plastic rat which had been pierced with darts by fellow Gardaí were posted online with his name written underneath.
“There were 11 pictures of off-duty guards in Bailieborough. They had a plastic rat and it showed them sticking darts into it,” he said.
“And it also showed obscene sexual gestures with the rat and underneath the photographs was the word ‘Maurice’.
“Then there was a comment ‘cheese eating rat bastard’ underneath,” he said in interview for documentary set to air on RTÉ on Monday night
The Disclosures Tribunal found the former sergeant in Bailieborough, Co Cavan was genuine when he raised concerns for misconduct within An Garda Síochana, while also finding there was an ordered smear campaign carried out against him.
Wife Lorraine said the images posted online summed up the approach taken by local gardaí to Mr McCabe’s whistleblowing.
“It just gave us a complete sense of the feeling towards him,” Lorraine said.
“I can remember being just across the road and coming home one afternoon, coming up the drive and thinking God it’s a lovely house, the gardens are lovely, everything looks lovely. If you only knew the turmoil that was inside.
“Someone brought it to the attention of Maurice that there was nasty photos posted on one of the social media sites. And he was given them and they were awful,” she added.
Following a publicly-fought battle to clear his name, Maurice McCabe said if he knew the process he faced he would never have highlighted it in the first place.
“if I had known then what was facing me I would never have done it. Never,” he said.
“I was hoping the issues I reported would be investigated and I would get back into a position as sergeant in charge, and they’d say ‘yes I was right to highlight these issues’.”
“I thought when I resigned as sergeant in charge that they would bring me in and say ‘OK Maurice let’s sort all this out, let’s see what’s happening in the station’ but the following day I got a sealed envelope saying ‘yes, no problem bye bye’.”
He also told how false rumours regarding his family life began to circulate in the are where he lived.
“A colleague of mine in Cavan-Monaghan rang me to say there was a rumour I left my wife and he told me exactly who was saying the rumour, a garda.”
“I confronted him a few days after. I seen him on the street, I pulled up and I told him I haven’t left my wife.”
“He said, ‘someone came into the station and told me that’.I said ‘you should have checked it out before you spread it’.”