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Tusla CEO on McCabe case: 'It still riles me slightly. The cut and paste error wasn't us'

Fred McBride did say that Tusla “mismanaged” aspects of the case but the original error didn’t come from them.

A false allegation from an unrelated case was put on the file of Maurice McCabe in 2013.
A false allegation from an unrelated case was put on the file of Maurice McCabe in 2013.
Image: Laura Hutton/

TUSLA CEO FRED McBride has said that there were aspects of Maurice McCabe’s case that it handled badly, but says it is unfair to say that the agency was responsible for the infamous copy and paste error.

Over the summer, the Disclosures Tribunal heard how a copy and paste error led to a false allegations of sexual abuse being put on the garda whistleblower’s file.

That was done by a counsellor for provider Rian, which operates for the HSE, in 2013. The Tribunal heard that a HSE file was created in McCabe’s name at the time.

This mistake was not discovered until May 2014. Tusla then added a number of supplementary documents to McCabe’s file clarifying the mistake, but the false allegations remained on the file.

Tusla area manager Gerard Lowry told the Tribunal that staff felt “overwhelmed” and “very anxious” when it became clear that the mistaken allegation had been put into Maurice McCabe’s file in error.

Speaking to, McBride said: “In the McCabe case, I’m afraid that there were things that we handled badly.

It still riles me slightly though, that the cut and paste error is attributed to us. It wasn’t us. Not only that, the cut and paste error was from an external source.

Despite this, McBride said that Tusla “mismanaged” aspects of the case.

He said: “It was corrected, but we mismanaged the correction of the mistake. The communication in all of that was simply not good enough.

The genesis of the mistake was outside but we mishandled it for sure.

The Tusla chief executive also discussed the case of Garda Keith Harrison, whose allegations that Tusla were directed by the gardaí to interfere in his family life were roundly dismissed by Mr Justice Peter Charleton.

McBride said: “Internally, we looked at the circumstances of these cases. In that particular case in Donegal, we could see nothing we had done wrong.

Nothing obvious that we had done wrong anyway. We were very pleased [with the report's findings].

Read: Keith Harrison continues High Court case against the State despite tribunal dismissing all his allegations

Read: ‘This is utter nonsense’: How Justice Charleton eviscerated Garda Keith Harrison’s claims

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Sean Murray

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