Maurice McCabe: ‘We went through 10 years of hell but we’re moving on’
Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe has said he is ready to “draw a line in the sand” following “10 years of hell” during which he was the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by senior Garda officials.
Mr McCabe was a sergeant at Bailieborough, Co Cavan, before resigning after an investigation into an assault in Crossan’s Pub in the town was mishandled.
After raising concern about Garda malpractice in 2008, Mr McCabe was subjected to a smear campaign which saw him falsely accused of raping an eight-year-old girl.
After the Charleton Tribunal, which investigated whether there was a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, found he had been “repulsively denigrated for being no more than a good citizen and police officer”, he was finally vindicated after years of abuse.
However, Mr McCabe and his wife Lorraine said they are finally ready to move on.
“We went through 10 years of hell so everything is wonderful now.
“We live a very normal life, so there’s no trouble or hassle,” said Ms McCabe.
“We’ve drawn a line in the sand and if we ever go back to that it just annoys me. We’ve just left it behind us,” Mr McCabe added.
The couple were speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk’s ‘The Hard Shoulder’.
“I was on medication for the past 10 years – it was a mild medication,” said Mr McCabe.
“After the Charleton report and after our settlement, I said ‘I’m going to completely wean off that’… within one month I had to go back on it. I couldn’t cope.”
The couple described the abuse Mr McCabe suffered online after raising concerns about the handling of penalty points within An Garda Síochána.
He recalled a “shocking” incident when abusive messages were spread about him on social media. Images in one instance, he said, were posted of a man carrying out lewd acts on a plastic rat.
“[There were] sexual gestures, they were sticking their fingers everywhere, they were licking parts of the rat,” he said.
“Under the photographs they had ‘Maurice’, and then the words ‘cheese eating rat b******’.”
He said that since the publishing of the tribunal’s report, he has suffered much less abuse.
However, he said that travelling to Bailieborough is difficult for him and there were always little moments where he was made to feel like a traitor.
“It was hard going at the time. I went to Mullingar and I was in the traffic unit, and they were great. But there was also something coming up in relation to Bailieborough.
“It was tough… it was extremely tough for years. There was always something…every week there was always something.”
However, Mr McCabe told how recently gardaí attended an incident in his neighbour’s home and he was taken by how proper and reasonable they were.
He is finally prepared to let go of what happened to him, he said, because he is confident that it will not happen again to another garda.
“I think there’s more accountability now,” he said.
“I think the oversight is in now at the moment… every rank now is inspected and every rank has to go through each incident. There are daily accountability meetings, there are weekly accountability meetings and I don’t think anything nowadays is going to fall through the cracks. The systems are now in place.”