The Garda Commissioner has said whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe has done a great service to An Garda Síochána and policing in Ireland.

Sgt McCabe is to retire from the force from midnight tonight after 30 years of service.

He met Assistant Garda Commissioner Fintan Fanning over the bank holiday weekend to officially hand in his retirement notice.

He has now been notified that his application has been accepted by Commissioner Drew Harris.

Sgt McCabe has been on leave from the force May 2016.

Commissioner Harris, who met the garda whistleblower earlier this month, wished Sgt McCabe and his family well in his retirement.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said Sgt McCabe leaves the police service in the knowledge that he did a job well and is leaving an important legacy - reform of An Garda Síochána.

Mr Flanagan said it was important that reform was now accelerated.

Mr Flanagan told RTÉ's Today with Miriam O'Callaghan he did not know that Sgt McCabe intended to retire but that it was not entirely surprising, given he has more than 30 years' service.

The minister said he intended to meet Sgt McCabe in the coming weeks, in order to convey, face-to-face, the deep sense of gratitude the State has to him for the service he has performed and reiterate the apology given to Sgt McCabe in the Dáil.

He said: "Maurice McCabe leaves the police service this evening in the knowledge that not only did he do a job well, but he left a very important legacy.

"What is important is that the culture of change within An Garda Síochána is now accelerated and I believe that will be the great legacy of Sgt Maurice McCabe."

Sgt McCabe's retirement comes weeks after the publication of the Disclosures Tribunal report by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, which praised the whistleblower.

The report found there was "a campaign of calumny" against Sgt McCabe by former commissioner Martin Callinan, aided by garda press officer Superintendent David Taylor.

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Earlier this month, Sgt McCabe told RTÉ News that the finding in the tribunal report that he was smeared by Mr Callinan and Supt Taylor was astonishing and "hard to take".

The report concluded that Sgt McCabe was a genuine person who at all times had the interests of the people of Ireland uppermost in his mind.

It found he regarded those interests as superior to any loyalty that he had to the police force of the State, but that neither interest should ever be in conflict.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has wised Sgt McCabe well in his retirement.

She said he retires "vindicated and held in the highest esteem by the people of Ireland.

"He also leaves an important legacy that must ensure the reformation of An Garda Síochána."

Additional reporting: Katie Hannon