Why Tusla could become part of garda whistleblower commission

John McGuinness says Nóirín O’Sullivan should "reflect" on her position

Why Tusla could become part of garda whistleblower commission

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Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness claims the child and family agency, Tusla, had a file in relation to allegations made against garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

He has queried whether the agency will become part of the Commission of Investigation into an alleged smear campaign against Sergeant McCabe.

The Kilkenny deputy raised the issue in the Dáil with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald earlier.

Tusla says it cannot comment on any individual cases.

The Irish Examiner claims the abuse claims were made by a young woman in August to a counsellor, who contacted Tusla and the gardaí.

However, it says no attempt was made to contact Mr McCabe and put the allegations to him.

It comes after Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil Wednesday that a journalist had informed him that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan directly phoned journalists on a number of occasions to make serious allegations of sexual crimes against Mr McCabe.

Mr Howlin said the journalist who contacted him had first-hand knowledge of the phone calls and was willing to testify before the newly set-up Commission of Investigation into the alleged smear campaign.

The commission will examine whether or not Sergeant McCabe was the victim of a smear campaign, involving senior members of the force, following his attempts to bring information regarding alleged penalty points malpractice within the force into the public domain.

Earlier, Mr Howlin defended his decision to publicly air the allegations.

"Those questions have to be answered"

While Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald says Ms O'Sullivan should step aside with immediate effect.

Ms McDonald said: "Sinn Féin has welcomed the establishment of a Commission of Investigation to be chaired by Mr Justice Peter Charleton into allegations that amount to an apparent comprehensive campaign that cannot be described as anything other than character assassination to destroy the standing of a serving member of An Garda Síochána, namely Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

"Revelations this evening that Tusla were sent a file by An Garda Síochána into an alleged crime that turned out to be entirely unsubstantiated are unprecedented and quite frankly disgusting and vile.

"Such are the allegations in this case, it is in incumbent on the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan to step aside immediately for the duration of the Charleton Commission's investigation."

And speaking to Newstalk Drive earlier, Mr McGuinness said: "There was a file created for some reason that Maurice McCabe and his family did not know about - and that file remained live on the system until very recently.

"Tusla have acknowledged that this file was there, they say it was created in error, but those questions have to be answered.

"And I understand that Tusla are indicating they are going to make a public apology to Maurice McCabe".