'They had a plastic rat' – Maurice McCabe tells of online abuse by former Garda colleagues

GARDA whistleblower Maurice McCabe has told of the social media abuse he was subjected to by former Garda colleagues after he lifted the lid on corruption within the force.

Mr McCabe, who formally retired last week, said photographs of a plastic rat which had been pierced with darts by fellow Gardaí were posted online with his name written underneath.

“There were 11 pictures of off-duty guards in Bailieborough. They had a plastic rat and it showed them sticking darts into it,” he said.

“And it also showed obscene sexual gestures with the rat and underneath the photographs was the word ‘Maurice’.

“Then there was a comment ‘cheese eating rat bastard’ underneath,” he said in interview for documentary set to air on RTÉ on Monday night

The Disclosures Tribunal found the former sergeant in Bailieborough, Co Cavan was genuined when he raised concerns for misconduct within An Garda Síochana, while also finding there was an ordered smear campaign carried out against him. 

Wife Lorraine said the images posted online summed up the approach taken by local gardaí to Mr McCabe’s whistleblowing. 

“It just gave us a complete sense of the feeling towards him,” Lorraine said.

“I can remember being just across the road and coming home one afternoon, coming up the drive and thinking God it’s a lovely house, the gardens are lovely, everything looks lovely. If you only knew the turmoil that was inside.

“Someone brought it to the attention of Maurice that there was nasty photos posted on one of the social media sites. And he was given them and they were awful,” she added.

Following a publicly-fought battle to clear his name, Maurice McCabe said if he knew the process he faced he would never have highlighted it in the first place.

“if I had known then what was facing me I would never have done it. Never,” he said.

“I was hoping the issues I reported would be investigated and I would get back into a position as sergeant in charge, and they’d say ‘yes I was right to highlight these issues’.”

“I thought when I resigned as sergeant in charge that they would bring me in and say ‘OK Maurice let’s sort all this out, let’s see what’s happening in the station’ but the following day I got a sealed envelope saying ‘yes, no problem bye bye’.”

He also told how false rumours regarding his family life began to circulate in the are where he lived.

“A collague of mine in Cavan-Monaghan rang me to say there was a rumour I left my wife and he told me exactly who was saying the rumour, a garda.”

“I confronted him a few days after. I seen him on the street, I pulled up and I told him I haven’t left my wife.”

“He said, ‘someone came into the station and told me that’.I said ‘you should have checked it out before you spread it’.”

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