herald

Thursday 29 June 2017

Whistleblower tribunal 'will ensure justice', says Fitzgerald

Sgt Maurice McCabe
Sgt Maurice McCabe

The terms of the tribunal established to investigate the alleged smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe were passed by the Dail and the Seanad last night.

The inquiry, to be chaired by Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Peter Charleton, is to report on an interim basis to Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald within three months. Speaking in the Dail, Ms Fitzgerald vowed that the tribunal "will ensure justice for Sgt McCabe, his family and all parties involved".

The investigation will initially focus on allegations that there was an orchestrated campaign by senior gardai to smear whistleblower Sgt McCabe.

The tribunal will investigate Tusla, the child and family agency, over its file containing false sex abuse allegations against Sgt McCabe.

It will also look into alleged contacts between gardai and Tusla in relation to Keith Harrison, another garda whistleblower.

Intimidation

Gda Harrison, who is on extended sick leave, claims to be the victim of a five-year intimidation campaign after arresting a fellow officer for drink-driving in 2009.

"Any pattern of the creation, distribution and use by Tusla of files containing allegations of criminal misconduct" against garda members making claims of wrongdoing within the force will be investigated.

The judge's probe will also consider if such files were knowingly used by senior gardai to "discredit" whistleblowers.

The cases of Sgt McCabe and Gda Harrison will form the initial work of the tribunal.

However, any other complaints made by garda whistleblowers claiming to have been targeted with the knowledge or acquiescence of senior officers will be examined by another judge, if Mr Justice Charleton requests it.

"I look forward to the recommendations Mr Justice Charleton will make. I look forward to the truth," said Ms Fitzgerald.

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