The entire process of the Garda ‘whistleblower’ scandal has taken out two Ministers for Justice, two Garda Commissioners and two senior civil servants, although it must be noted that while the dispute had begun long before Nóirín O’Sullivan took the helm, her tenure as boss was constantly dogged by it. May I add that the publication of the resulting Disclosures Tribunal has exonerated her of mistreating Sgt. McCabe and of helping to orchestrate a smear campaign against him. I also stress that Frances Fitzgerald got a clean bill of health when she was vindicated and found to have ‘acted appropriately’. In addition, Alan Shatter was himself vindicated in the courts.
However, perhaps the biggest loss resulting from this shocking controversy is the ‘whistleblower’ himself, Sgt. Maurice McCabe who has retired from An Garda Síochána following 30 years of service for the simple reason that the man who really should be hailed a hero, felt it was ‘the only decision’ open to him. Now while I believe the force has lost an incredibly brave and honourable member – a man who at all times had only the interests of the country he served at heart – Maurice’s decision to opt out is absolutely the right one to make; both for him and for his family. Why? Because, despite the fact the force has missed a wonderful opportunity to retain McCabe’s services where he could teach rookies how to relate to the public, how to earn their respect and admiration, and, in general, how to be a good copper, there’s no way back for him.
And, while Minister Charlie Flanagan has said the nation owes Maurice “a debt of gratitude,” I’d go one further and say give this amazingly strong human being the Scott Medal in honour of his bravery.
While we’re at it, let’s give a shout out to Lorraine McCabe, the incredible woman who stood strong and silent by her man; who held her head high, who never wavered, not for one second, even when the man whose babies she bore, was disgustingly and wrongly accused of child sexual abuse. I won’t use the vile words former Commissioner Martin Callinan is alleged to have uttered when he tried to taint an officer trying to do his job, because this is a family publication. But I’ll give you a possible reason for Callinan’s nauseating attempt to blacken a man’s good name…he couldn’t handle the truth.
Now I can tell you, while an apology from An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and the current Garda Commissioner Drew Harris will go nowhere near soothing what must have been the unspeakable emotional turmoil this solid couple have endured for over a decade, I’m sure it’s welcomed and received with the same sense of human dignity, respect and integrity that has become indicative of their upstanding behaviour.
We can expect that Mr. McCabe (it’s odd not to address him as Sergeant, but he’s now like the rest of us…livin’ on civvy street), is due a level of financial compensation, especially from Tusla; but I’d say no amount of money will ever be enough. And, while I’m not pre-empting anything regarding an amount of remuneration, it must be said that Tusla’s mishandling of a file and an incorrect allegation levelled at McCabe was beyond doubt a travesty. Okay, Tusla have very publicly apologised for their titanic feck-up; in fact, if Carlsberg did catastrophic cock-ups, this one would defo be an award winner. However, for the record, there are upstanding, blameless people working within Tusla who do a fantastic job, so let’s not sully their good names.
Look, if anything good is to come of this debacle, and if citizen McCabe is to leave any legacy, it’ll surely be that Commissioner Harris will learn lessons going forward regarding the process by which the force he leads operates and delivers its service to us, the citizens it protects. He should also look at how the force treats its hard-working and admirable coppers, (many of whom are stationed here in Roscommon), and make sure they’re treated with the due regard and respect they deserve. I wish the McCabes every best wish and happiness.
It’s Movember lads…you’ve got 30 days to cultivate that luscious lip warmer
It’s Movember folks and that means raising awareness of men’s health issues like prostate and testicular cancer, etc. Oh, and it also means all you sexy Roscommon Mo Bros who’ve been putting off growing and cultivating a bit of hair on your upper lip can now do it in the name of a good cause.
However, do bear in mind lads, despite the fact menopause has given your poor elderly maiden aunt a weak bladder and regular hot flushes, much to the woman’s mortification, the ‘change’ has now managed, (without auntie even trying) to allow her grow a substantial soup straining set of old lady whiskers that’d put Magnum PI, (or a ‘70s porn star) to shame; yet you, ya big hunk of masculinity, may only be able to manage a slash of peach fuzz on your chinny-chin-chin; but don’t get too disheartened.
However, Movember is not all about the lads, women can get involved too by becoming Mo Sistas who encourage and sponsor their dads, their brothers, their partners and their friends to grow and cultivate a luscious winter lip warmer, raise awareness and funds, and have conversations about their own health concerns. In addition ladies, when the man in your life reaches his upper-lip limbo, (and he will), and his barely-there bush begins to itch like hell, remember, it’s gonna be your job to encourage that bad boy to stick it out. Good luck!