skip to main content

How the starting whistle was blown on political crisis

How the events that led to the resignation of Frances Fitzgerald unfolded.

Sgt Maurice McCabe joined An Garda Síochána in August 1985.

He was stationed at Bailieboro, Co Cavan in July 1989, until he was made sergeant in January 2000, when he moved to Clones. 

In October 2004, he was appointed Sgt in Charge, at Bailieboro Garda Station.

Since 2008, he has served in Mullingar.

Here's a look at how the events that led to the current political crisis unfolded.

Dec 2006


Ms D, the daughter of a colleague disciplined by Sgt McCabe, complains to gardaí that he sexually assaulted her in 1998.

Dec 2006
2007

The Director of Public Prosecutions dismisses the allegation, saying it was vague and did not constitute an offence.  Also raises issues of credibility of complainant.

2007
2007/08

Sgt McCabe raises concerns about policing in Cavan-Monaghan and also the quashing of penalty points by senior gardaí.

2007/08
Late 2008

Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne and chief superintendent Terry McGinn appointed by then Garda Commissioner to investigate Sgt McCabe's complaints of poor policing in Cavan Monaghan.  O'Higgins Commission later criticises aspects of their findings.

Late 2008
May 2013

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney concludes internal inquiry into cancelling of penalty points 

May 2013
July 2013

The sexual assault allegation resurfaces when Ms D goes to HSE service. Counsellor incorrectly inflates assault accusation to more serious rape allegation which is passed to social services (Tusla).

July 2013
October 2013

Comptroller & Auditor General report on penalty points

October 2013
January 2014


Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan calls Sgt McCabe "disgusting" at Public Accounts Committee

January 2014
February 2014

Dossier compiled by Sgt McCabe on alleged malpractice in Cavan-Monaghan garda division furnished to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who hands it over to Taoiseach Enda Kenny

February 2014
19 February 2014

Garda confidential recipient Oliver Connolly sacked after Sgt McCabe produces tape of Connolly warning him that Shatter would "screw him" if he made his complaints

19 February 2014
27 February 2014

Government announces review of allegations in the dossier to be conducted by SC Seán Guerin

27 February 2014
25 March 2014

Martin Callinan retires following late-night visit to his home by senior civil servant Brian Purcell at behest of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

25 March 2014
May 2014


False rape allegation passed from Tusla to gardaí 

.

May 2014
6 May 2014

Guerin recommends Commission of Investigation.  His report criticises then Justice Minister Alan Shatter's response.

6 May 2014
7 May 2014


Alan Shatter resigns


7 May 2014
July 2014

Department of Justice Secretary General Brian Purcell stands aside after Frances Fitzgerald launches report citing Departments leadership and management problems. Purcell later moves to the HSE.

July 2014
February 2016

Government sets up Commission of Investigation chaired by Judge Kevin O'Higgins to examine malpractice allegations.

February 2016
January 2016

Sgt McCabe told by Tusla of false allegation against him.

January 2016
May 2016


O'Higgins Commission report finds several instances of malpractice but not corruption. Sgt McCabe praised as acting "out of genuine concerns" and a man of integrity although occasionally "prone to exaggeration".

Also emerges that Garda Commissioner's legal team attacked Sgt McCabe's motivation and credibility during hearings, suggesting he held a grievance. This was debunked by a tape produced by Sgt McCabe.


May 2016
September 2016


Former garda press officer Dave Taylor makes protected disclosure alleging that he was instructed by Mr Callinan to brief the media against Sgt McCabe, including that he had been accused of sexual assault.

Garda Taylor alleges new commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan aware of campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe. Both Callinan and O'Sullivan strenuously deny

September 2016
Nov 2016


Shatter wins appeal and Guerin report quashed. Guerin now appealing to Supreme Court

.

Nov 2016
February 2017

 Major controversy erupts when it becomes public that a false abuse allegation had been made against Sgt McCabe.  Both Tusla and the HSE apologise. 

There is political fallout when Children's Minister Katherine Zappone contradicts account of Mr Kenny as to when she told him about the false allegation against Sgt McCabe.

This hurts Mr Kenny's authority and hastens calls for his departure as Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader. Within days Mr Kenny outlines a timeline for his departure.

February 2017
September 2017


Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan announces she will retire.

This follows a raft of garda controversies including the so-called "fake" breath tests. Ms O'Sullivan refers to the "unending cycle of inquiry"

September 2017
November 2017

 Labour TD Alan Kelly asks Department of Justice about its knowledge of garda legal strategy at O'Higgins Commission. 

Delays and confused response lead to political instability with future career of Minister Frances Fitzgerald in doubt and threat of snap election.

November 2017
28 November 2017


Tánaiste and former minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald resigns

28 November 2017
tester