It is now clear beyond any doubt that the State’s treatment of garda whistleblower Sgt. Maurice McCabe has been utterly shocking and disgraceful.
The central claim by TUSLA, that the horrible and false accusation of serious sexual abuse levelled at Sgt. McCabe remained active on his file due to ‘clerical error’, simply defies belief. If it were true, which we repeat is not credible, it would testify to a level of monumental state incompetence that would be a threat to us all and completely unacceptable.
The whole appalling story which has now run for years discredits the State agencies and the Government as a whole. It testifies to a general culture of turning a blind eye, covering up, sweeping things under the carpet and institutional mutual self -protection which cannot be tolerated any longer. Sgt McCabe and other whistleblowers must be defended.
Throughout this episode we are repeatedly faced with the same alternative: either the ‘relevant authorities’ know what was happening, in which case they are culpable, or they didn’t know and they are not fit for their jobs. Either Commissioner O’Sullivan and other senior garda officers were smearing Sgt. McCabe, or knew he was being smeared, or were simply not looking. All these alternatives are unacceptable.
Either Minister Katherine Zappone knew what was happening and did nothing and did not tell her cabinet colleagues, which is unforgivable, or she did tell them – in particular the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste – and we are being lied to. Either the Taoiseach knew what was happening and is implicated or he is expressing confidence in a Minister and a Garda Commissioner who have concealed vital information from him, and he has lost his grip on his own government and State apparatus. This is not acceptable. He and the Tánaiste must both resign.
This dreadful episode testifies to a deep malaise in the Irish State. It is a product of the same political culture of corruption and impunity which developed over decades and brought us brown envelopes, the Galway tent, the financial crisis and Michael Lowry sitting on a committee to ‘investigate’ Dennis O Brien’s media holdings.
This culture has survived through the practice of setting up endless enquiries, at great public expense, and politicians and officials getting way with things because ‘they are not proven’. They are ‘not proven’ because the truth is hidden.
It is not enough for the Government to sacrifice an individual minister as a scapegoat. This dreadful scandal comes on top of the chronic failure to deal with the housing and homelessness crisis or the crisis in the health service.
The only solution is a democratic one: the government must resign now. The people must have their say!
We are confident they will elect representatives not mired in this culture of deceipt.