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Tusla knew McCabe sex claims were false but kept them on file for two years, HSE claims

The HSE said it was one of its staff members not Túsla which made the error relating to the McCabe allegation.

Garda whistleblower apology Maurice McCabe Source: Niall Carson

THE HSE HAS this afternoon issued an apology to Sergeant Maurice McCabe for the”distress caused” over the mishandling of a sexual abuse allegation wrongly made against him.

In what has become an increasingly complex case, the HSE said that it undertook an immediate review of internal procedures once they realised an administrative error had been made.

The HSE said in July 2013, there was an allegation of retrospective abuse made against McCabe and that, in line with process, the HSE’s National Counselling Service referred this allegation to Tusla.

A spokesperson said: “The HSE wishes to confirm that there was an administrative error made by a staff member of the HSE’s National Counselling Service (NCS) in the referral made at that time.  This administrative error was brought to the attention of the National Counselling Service in May 2014.”

Despite the HSE today claiming they contacted Tusla and gardaí in 2014, the inaccurate sexual abuse claim remained on Tusla’s file until at least January 2016 when a member of its staff contacted McCabe with a view to interviewing him to ascertain ‘whether or not he was a threat to children’.

The HSE said the National Counselling Service responded immediately in May 2014 by bringing this error and a corrected report to the attention of Tusla and an Garda Síochána. It stressed that the National Counselling Service would have had no further involvement in this matter “once the corrected report was provided to Túsla and gardaí”.

Additional supervisory procedures were put in place in relation to the staff member who made the “administrative error”.

The spokesperson added: “The HSE apologises unreservedly to Mr McCabe and his family for the distress caused on foot of this error. The HSE is making arrangements to offer this apology formally to Mr McCabe as soon as possible.”

Labour leader Brendan Howlin, who used Dáil privilege to highlight the McCabe case earlier this week, said a criminal investigation is now needed to address the scandal.

However, Health Minister Simon Harris said on the Saturday with Claire Byrne show on RTE Radio One that a commission of investigation has already been set up and that it should be allowed to do its job.

With reporting by Cianan Brennan

Read: As it happened: Political turmoil over the Maurice McCabe whistleblowing smears >

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