Garda Maurice McCabe was an honest Garda who was horrified by the way that ‘respected’ and well connected people got their penalty points written off.
When he reported this practice, he was immediately ostracised. Senior officials saw him as a dangerous outsider who was upsetting local networks of privilege. Far from being ground down, Maurice McCabe started to look at other malpractices.
He blew the whistle on how Gardai in the Cavan –Monaghan area deliberately reduced a charge against Gerard McGrath who had viciously assaulted a female taxi driver.
They also lied to the victim to put her off attending a court. After McGrath got away, he attempted to abduct a five year old girl – and after he was once again released – murdered a mother of two. One possible explanation for this bizarre response was that McGrath was a police informant.
At this stage, the full mechanism of the Irish state went into play to crush McCabe. A file was opened to present him as a child rapist.
The rumour was then leaked by senior Gardai to selected journalists. The Sunday World’s favourite mouthpiece for Garda rumours ran a story that made reference to it.
The Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan met a top Fianna Fail politician, John McGuiness, to tell him a story about how McCabe was ‘not to be trusted’. The then Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, made an oblique reference to the allegations in the Dail.
Then, when an official inquiry was instigated, the current Garda Commissioner Noirin O’ Sullivan instructed her barristers to question the integrity and motivation of Sergeant McCabe.
Two of her senior police officers reported that McCabe admitted to them that allegations were made because ‘he held a grudge’. If McCabe had not taped the conversation and forced them to retract this ‘evidence’, he would have been destroyed.
Fortunately, his knowledge of how the Garda operate saved him. Neither of two senior officers who made up the ‘evidence’ were punished.
The story of how the state set out to destroy McCabe only began to leak out after the Garda press officer, Superintendent Dave Taylor, said that he was involved in a campaign of propaganda against Sgt McCabe in 2013 and 2014, and that he was operating under the instructions from then commissioner Callinan and with the knowledge of Ms O’Sullivan, who was deputy commissioner.
Taylor was suspended from his post for two years.
These events throw a light on how the ‘deep state’ operates in Ireland. Officially, the Irish state is bound to by rules and laws. This is the formal framework by which it operates.
But underneath, lies are informal practices that are beyond any law or rule. These include the manufacture of fake evidence, the use of rumours that are leaked to trusted journalists and politicians, the appointment of judges because of their loyalty to mainstream political parties, secret networks of local authority planners and builders and a host of other corrupt practices.
The discrepancy between formal rules and informal practices operates at many levels. Formally, the Irish state acknowledges a right to protest and free speech. In practice, the police spread rumours that campaigns are led by a ‘front’ for ‘sinister elements’ that need to be confronted.
Formally the Irish state has rules on tax avoidance. In practice, tax planners for the rich know their way around them. By maintaining a gap between the formal and the informal, the Irish state sets out to destroy ‘dissident’ individuals as a warning to others not to step out of line.
The McCabe saga reveals the sheer length to which state forces will go.
Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime – one which was brushed under the carpet for many years. But the Gardai also know that the mere allegation that someone was involved can be enough to destroy them forever. This is why it is also a perfect subject matter for their nasty rumour mill.
There was no morality about the smear campaign against Maurice McCabe. No thought was given to how it might destroy personal relations. There was no sense that this was completely beyond the bounds for how to treat even a declared enemy.
The ‘deep state’ knew of no length to which they would not go – just to protect itself. And if this is what they do to one honest Garda, what lengths will they go when faced with opponents who want to uproot privilege and power?
Every effort should be made to root out the perpetrators of the smear campaign against McCabe. Noirin O’Sullivan and many of the senior management team of the Gardai should be sacked.
Criminal prosecutions should be instigated against those who directly leaked the rumour. This will discourage at least some within the deep state from their sheer evil brazenness.
But it won’t solve the problem. The rot at the heart of the Irish state stretches right back to the counter-revolution that co-incided with its birth. The same rottenness accompanies any state apparatus whose primary purpose is a defence of wealth and privilege.
Only when the full structures of the state are dismantled will the horrific campaigns to destroy ‘dissidents’ cease.
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