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Túsla should be able to easily establish who is responsible for McCabe file – Ó Laoghaire

22 February, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has stated following clarification on Túsla procedures that Túsla should be capable of identifying who was responsible for the file regarding false allegations of sexual assault in the McCabe case.

This follows questions put to Túsla officials, including Chief Executive Fred McBride, at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children & Youth Affairs this morning. 

It also emerged from questions asked by Deputy Ó Laoghaire that Túsla is being investigated by the Data Protection Commissioner.

Although the committee members were unable to ask direct questions in relation to Sgt McCabe and the alleged smear campaign against him due to the ongoing Tribunal of Inquiry, many asked questions that alluded to the circumstances involved in that case.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire focused in on policies and procedures in line with Children’s First Guidelines in an attempt to establish further clarity, saying:

“Under section 7.2 in Children First Guidelines, it is stated that ‘It is essential that the HSE (now Túsla) and An Garda Síochána designate personnel at assessment/investigation and management levels who will remain involved with the case until the assessment/investigation is completed.’ So, it would be safe to assume that this protocol was followed.

“If it was the case that proper procedure was adhered to, Túsla would have had a designated person within their organisation, as well one individual as a point of contact within An Garda Síochána, who were responsible for dealing with the file of Sgt McCabe. This is required under Children First.

“It is then quite easy for Túsla to identify those individuals and seek further clarification as to what may have happened.

“If these protocols were not followed, there is a clear breach of Children’s First Guidelines, rather than an actual oversight, and this would again raise more questions than it would answer.

“I am also concerned that an administrative error of such a nature that led to a false allegation of sexual abuse should have been reported to the Data Protection Commissioner as a Data Breach. It was clarified to me today that this is normally the practice, however it has been reported that this did not happen in relation to the file held on Sgt McCabe.

“It was confirmed to me that the Data Protection Commissioner is undertaking an investigation in to Túsla on foot of recent concerns, and I hope if they can establish whether this failure is symptomatic of a wider systematic failure, or is an isolated incident.” 

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