A social worker with the child and family agency Tusla has told the Disclosures Tribunal that when she sent an incorrect notification to gardaí in April 2014 about Sergeant Maurice McCabe, she was not aware of who he was.

The tribunal, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Peter Charleton, is examining allegations that senior gardaí were involved in a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe, among other issues.

Laura Connolly has said that she incorrectly combined a 2006 allegation in relation to a game of hide and seek in Sgt McCabe's house together with the more serious allegation of sexual abuse mistakenly introduced by a HSE psychologist.

The 2006 allegation had been dismissed by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Justice Charleton asked her if she would recall somebody telling her that Sgt McCabe was the man the then Garda Commissioner had resigned over.

She said that she expected that she would, but at the time, he was of no significance to her and she treated him the same as any adult.

Counsel for gardaí later clarified that Martin Callinan had retired following a visit from the Secretary General of the Department of Justice to his home.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton said he was "a wee bit mystified" about Ms Connolly's lack of knowledge of prominent media stories.

He asked her if she knew that Leo Varadkar was the Taoiseach and that Enda Kenny was the former Taoiseach.  She said she did.  He also asked if she had heard about the Grenfell Tower disaster.  She did.

He said the McCabe story was of a similar prominence.  Ms Connolly said that life was too stressful  and she did not listen to negative media stories or lengthy political broadcasts.

Ms Connolly said that with hindsight, she should have checked before notifying the gardaí as there was an unanswered 2013 letter sent from another social worker Keara McGlone to Superintendent Noel Cunningham asking for clarification on whether this was the same allegation as one previously made in 2006.

Ms Connolly also completed intake records on Sgt McCabe's four children on the direction of her team leader Eileen Argue. 

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She said it would have been good practice for Ms Argue to review the file before making that decision, but she could not say she had done so.

Ms Connolly also said that when she was told earlier this year that she would have to make a statement to the tribunal about the file, she did not know who Sgt McCabe was. 

She said he was not a person of interest and not a story she was following.

Mr Justice Charleton asked if the penny would have dropped that this was unusual.  Ms Connolly said she was aware that it did not relate to the District Court but the identity was of no interest to her.

She only became aware of her error in June 2017 even though she made a statement to the tribunal in March about her interactions with the file. 

Tulsa became aware of the error in May 2014 when Ms D contacted Rian Counselling.

Michael McDowell SC for Sgt McCabe said that alarm bells were ringing in the organisation that Sgt McCabe had been  accused of an indictable rape offences do had perpetrated a major injustice on him. 

However, Ms Connolly said that nobody in the organisation told her about it.

Tribunal told Tusla sent letter knowing allegation was false

The tribunal heard that Tusla wrote to Sgt Maurice McCabe in late 2015 to inform him of an allegation made against him, even though the agency had known for over a year that the accusation was false.

Counsel for the Tribunal, Patrick Marrinan, said some would say that the litany of grave errors made by Tusla could not be coincidence after coincidence.

Gerard Lowry, an area manager with Tusla, said there were consistently terrible errors but they were just coincidental and bad file management.

Mr Marrinan said that the Tusla letter sent in December 2015 was yet another error and he said every error was made to the detriment of Sgt McCabe. 

Tusla had known since May 2014 that the rape allegation was incorrect.

He said there was a suggestion that this played into senior management's hands in so far as this new allegation of rape against McCabe could be used to put it mildly, discommode or unsettle him. 

He said that if it was allowed fester in the service, to emerge at a future juncture, it might break Sgt McCabe's resolve.

Mr Lowry said he was aware of different phases of publicity in relation to Sgt McCabe but he did not track that with their work on the case.

He said he did not want it to influence them and wanted to separate it from internal Garda matters.

The Tribunal also heard that in May 2015, an email from Seamus Deeney to Kay McLoughlin recognised the discrepancies on the file between the different allegations and Mr Deeney asked her to contact the alleged victim to clarify along with other steps.

Mr Lowry, who had been copied on the email, said the steps were not completed to the required standard and that is how the letter was issued. 

He said efforts were made to contact Ms D.  He said he was aware the allegation was false but he left it to the others to deal with it.

Mr Marrinan asked if it was not apparent immediately that there had been a total failure in Tusla's systems given that it had highlighted in May 2015 of a need to fix the mistake.

Mr Lowry said Ms McLoughlin had used incorrect information from the file to send letter.

He initially said he did not know Sgt McCabe but underquestioning he conceded that they both attended several of the same child protection meetings between 2004 and 2009.