McCabe controversy: Garda whistleblower inquiry terms agreed

Sgt Maurice McCabe Image copyright PA
Image caption Police whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe was the subject of false allegations

The terms of a public inquiry into the handling of false allegations against a police whistleblower have been agreed by the Irish government.

Sgt Maurice McCabe had claimed there was corruption in the Republic's driving licence penalty points system.

There will also be an independent review of police operations.

The Independent Alliance, part of the coalition government, had sought the review as part of the government's response to the controversy.

It is understood the review will involve an international policing expert.

Sgt McCabe was investigated by the Republic's child and family agency (Tusla) following allegations of abuse, that were later found to be untrue.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton has agreed to lead the inquiry into Sgt McCabe's treatment.

Mr Noonan said the judge expects to begin work next Tuesday and to have completed his work in nine months.

Image caption It is understood the review will involve an international policing expert

The tribunal will prioritise allegations against Sgt McCabe, with other high-profile whistleblowers expected to be looked at in a separate module.

The terms of reference will include Tusla and the Health Service Executive, where relevant, and are understood to state that the tribunal will look at any negative patterns between the Garda (Irish police) and Tusla.

The tribunal is expected to issue an interim report within three months.

Another Irish policeman also wants his case to be included as part of the inquiry into the alleged smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

Keith Harrison, who is based in County Donegal, has also said that he was the subject of untrue abuse accusations.

Meanwhile, speaking after a meeting with taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny on Wednesday, the Independent Alliance said the review of police operations would examine the culture, administration and ethos within An Garda Síochána (Irish police).

The controversy began more than three years ago when two whistleblowers - Sgt McCabe and the now retired John Wilson - alleged there was widespread corruption with the Republic of Ireland's driving licence penalty points system.

The Garda commissioner last week denied telling journalists that Sgt McCabe was facing sex crime allegations.

The claim against Nóirín O'Sullivan was made by Irish Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin in the Dáil.

Ms O'Sullivan said she was surprised by and refuted Mr Howlin's claim. The commissioner reiterated her position on Monday.

A commission has been established to examine whether there was a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, orchestrated by senior police officers.

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