‘The Similarities Cannot Be Ignored’

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Garda Keith Harrison

You may recall a post from January 25 last, concerning Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison.

It included excerpts from a letter sent by Mr Harrison’s solicitors to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan on May 20, 2016, outlining how he had been subjected to harassment and continued attempts to smear his reputation and undermine his credibility.

It was one of 14 such letters sent to Ms O’Sullivan by Garda Harrison’s solicitors.

Readers may also recall how, last October, Mr Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins called the review of Sgt Maurice McCabe and Supt Dave Taylor’s allegations – by former High Court judge Justice Iarlaith O’Neill – as “flawed from the very outset” because it didn’t include the complaints of other Garda whistleblowers such as Garda Harrison.

Further to this…

This afternoon.

Garda Harrison has released the following statement, on behalf of himself and his partner Marisa Simms.

He writes…

I am what is commonly known as a Garda whistleblower since May 2014.

Despite our nervousness and worry about doing so and the effect this will have on us and our family into the future, we are forced to make a public statement to bring to the national attention our concerns and suffering, because of a complete failure of a system that should support us and address our very serious issues.

Having read the heartfelt statement of the McCabe family, we share their heartache. We have similarly suffered at the hands of An Garda Siochana, have been reported to TUSLA and have been ignored when we raised the issues with Government. We hope the McCabe family will get the truth and justice they deserve. We too feel that we deserve truth and justice in our case.

We have been writing to the Tánaiste, in her capacity as Minister for Justice, continuously since June 2014 to bring our concerns to her attention, but we never received a response that gave us any hope.

We believed our experience should have been considered by Mr Justice O’Neill in his scoping review. Mr Justice O’Neil came to the conclusion that the circumstances of the treatment of Sergeant McCabe were entirely unique, however we do not know what information, if any Mr Justice O’Neill had regarding our treatment.

We will no longer allow ourselves be ignored as we have endured similar treatment to that suffered by the McCabes, at the hands of An Garda Siochana and TUSLA. This fact has been known to the Tanaiste and the Commissioner of An Garda Siochana for some time and was recently made known to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

It is clear to us the incidents contained in the disclosures of Superintendent Taylor and Sergeant McCAbe are not isolated but rather, along with our experience, identifies a common approach within the senior management of An Garda Siochana to whistleblowers. This treatment of our family includes:

  1. Unwarranted and prolonged overt and covert surveillance

2. Victimisation and bullying

3. Intimidation and harassment levelled at family and I

4. Unjustified referrals of our family to TUSLA by An Garda Siochana

5. Dissemination of rumour, innuendo and malicious falsehoods to certain members of the media, politicians and my Garda colleagues

6. Deliberate frustration of GSOC’s investigation of my disclosures

7. Disciplinary action and threat of criminal action against me.

The similarities between the experiences we have endured and the McCabes cannot be ignored by this Government or the political establishment. It seems the Department of Justice and Garda management are making every effort to ensure multiple whistleblowers are not considered by any inquiry/commission of investigation because they were, the pattern of behaviour by senior management within An Garda Siochana would become public for all to see.

The Tanaiste repeatedly refused our request to meet and, as a result, our experiences were ignored by her in framing the terms of reference of the O’Neill scoping review and the subsequent Charleton Inquiry.

The Taoiseach and Tanaiste have spoken of due process and the establishment of the truth for all concerned with this sentiment has not been extended to us. It is our belief senior management within An Garda SIochana set out to attack and destroy our family because I sought to speak out about malpractice within the force.

In doing so, they tried to discredit me, and also reported “concerns” regarding the wellbeing of my partner’s children, leading to a TULSA investigation, which investigation revealed no risk whatsoever.

Contrary to public statements by the Tanaiste and in particular the commissioner of An Garda Siochana, my family and I, as a whistleblower, have not received support and encouragement but in fact quite the opposite. We have lost complete confidence in the ability of both to address our concerns and bring our living hell to an end.

I was attested as a fully fledged member of An Garda Siochana in June 2011 and was optimistic that I was joining a voice where I could serve the community wearing a uniform that enjoyed the confidence and respect of the community I served. I was nominated for a Scott Medal for bravery in 2005 and attended a bravery awards ceremony in Aras an Uachtarain in 2007. I was ambitious for my career as a member of An Garda Siochana but given what has happened to me, these ambitions have long passed.

I continue to have respect and admiration for so many of my colleagues, the rank and file members of An Garda Siochana who are some of the best people I have ever met and who work in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. However, I have no confidence in senior management of An Garda Siochana because of their treatment of whistleblowers.

I am coming forward publicly in order to ensure that the saga of a culture of management failure within An Garda Siochana with regards to their attitude to whistleblowers comes to an end. I did not become a whistleblower lightly, given the devastating effect it has had on our family.

Whistleblowers are a fundamental part of any organisation and should be encouraged and supported to do the right thing without fear or favour, otherwise they will not come forward into the future.

The efforts of this Government to restrict the inquiry/commission of investigation to the very traumatic story of Sergeant McCabe absolutely ensures we will not get to the bottom of the culture of management failures and ill treatment of whistleblowers within An Garda Siochana. I will not be doing myself or Marisa or our family justice if I were to let that happen, without speaking out.

The treatment of Sergeant McCabe and myself bear similarities. By restricting the inquiry to only one story, a situation will be allowed to develop whereby the treatment of Sergeant McCabe will be found to have been a one-off when, in fact, our story and its striking similarities to that of the McCabes, show that this formed part of an orchestrated system and culture within senior management of An Garda Siochana. Unless and until this approach to whistleblowers itself is exposed, An Garda Siochana will forever be tainted.

I demand that my case be included in any inquiry/commission of investigation by the Government and political establishment. We will not rest until this happens.

Earlier: ‘Noirin Decided To Ring Him And Have A Chat About It’

Previously: Why Are Nine Garda Whistleblowers Out Sick?

Pic: Irish Mirror

75 thoughts on “‘The Similarities Cannot Be Ignored’

  1. jusayinlike

    The fraperoom attendants will arrive, whining about negative comments and waxing lyrical about Irish water

      1. jusayinlike

        Aww poor little Noirin and the garda brass getting such a hard time, awh my heart bleeds for them..

        1. Enter Sandman

          I think Lord Snowflakee was referring more to the unfortunate commenters in here who have to bear the grunting and moaning from the usual interminable sources

  2. Shayna

    How many other gardaí are going to come forward? In my London days (everyone has those – right?), I was friendly with a bunch of guys from Cork and Kerry. One of those guys was a former garda – he was only 25 (this was 1990ish). Anyhoo, generally, the evenings entailed a fair amount of everything. The ex garda guy talked about being high on supply, whilst on duty – meaning the gardaí cannabis seizures whilst he was a garda in Cork was shared around. My garda mate left An Garda Siochanna because he was addicted to cocaine.
    It does perhaps beg a question?

    1. mauriac

      I’ve heard similar stories from reliable sources.the gards should be broken up into at least five branches(local, paramilitary, external and internal intelligence and a new police watchdog) or are the politicians too scared?

      1. Shayna

        I think that any progressive (as seen through the eyes of a regular type) reform of Na Gardaí, should begin with addressing Sergeant McCabe. Nothing he said was “untrue” -his family’s life has been mayhem-like. Surely, give the poor guy a few quid and let him and his family drift off into the sunset?

        1. Kdoc

          ” … a few quid …”
          I expect his family will receive a few million and it will be richly deserved.
          How much has Garda corruption, in relation to the relative inquiries (e.g. Morris; Barr) , cost the taxpayer?

        2. scottser

          while i am inherently unqualified to speak on behalf of sgt mccabe, i would imagine all he wants to do is his job, to the best of his ability and free from bullying. the few quid should be incidental to the whole thing.

    2. Toe Up

      I’ve a similar personal experience. They keep all of the confiscated evidence in their personal lockers, so it’s not surprising that some of it goes astray every so often.

    3. Enter Sandman

      Why shouldn’t a Garda be able to have a little puff now and again? It’s a stressful and dangerous job.
      You’d swear you’d never done anything “wrong” in your life , get down off your high horse ya scut

        1. Lord Snowflakee

          What’s illegal? I thought toking a joint was more or less never prosecute now so strictly speaking it’s only possession with intent to supply that is illegal?

  3. Shayna

    Yes – it was the locker scenario. My friend had enough “blow” that he afforded to sleep all day. I’m not in touch.

  4. Anne

    Isn’t it awful? The most serious of allegations, whereby children could be at risk and the evil wasters in An Garda Siochana with nothing better to be doing obviously decide to fabricate false allegations using a state agencies resources, that’s supposed to be used for protecting children.

    And you know these false allegations are coming from the top. “perfect” was Noirin O’Sullivan’s reponse to the smearing- the leaking of false allegations to journalists. via text she wrote perfect.
    Not so “perfect” now is it, you despicable excuse for a human being.

    Rotten from the top down.

        1. Enter Sandman

          Lord Snowflakee has a point. Why don’t you admit she must be good at her job, or really, much better than the equivalent men, to reach such a high position in her career?

        2. Lord Snowflakee

          Maybe it does.

          You’d be glad of that ‘scumbag’ presumably when your home is being burgled?

  5. Ron

    This is a friend of mine. I struggle to comprehend how he has remained dignified after what they have done to him and his family.

      1. Enter Sandman

        In fact he is probably riddled by self doubt every day as to whether he is doing the right thing even if he imagines that it’s morally right. Whistleblowers are an unusual breed

        1. Anne

          Unusual huh? Sounds supportive.

          I’d say it’s unusual all right in the Guards, given the “welcoming” stance from the likes of O’Callinan to complaints.
          Disgusting. Wasn’t that what he said?
          Of course it’d be unusual.

          1. Anne

            You seem to have distain for people who have the courage to speak up again incompetence and malpractice.

            Were you incompetent or did you behave improperly in a professionally capacity?

          2. Enter Sandman

            Neither. I was the whistleblower.
            Unlike you you see I actually know a little about what I’m talking off and don’t mouth off ranting the first thing that comes into my empty little head, then follow it up with abject nastiness when someone calls me out on my lack of civility

          3. Anne

            For a whistleblower you’re support doesn’t seem to lie with the whistleblower in this case. Your concern seems to be for the proclaimed innocence – of those in positions if power here, namely Noirin O’Sullivan – contrary to numerous statements from others.

            Unusual breed huh.

          4. Enter Sandman

            What I can tell you Anne is that very often whistleblowers are not whiter than white either, they’re morally complex people but at some stage they might feel that “enough is enough” or that “something must be done”. They choose to act even with full knowledge that the outcome will be disastrous for everyone, especially thermselves, as whistleblowers rarely get anything other than hardship and opprobrium. Look at Edward Snowden as a prime example.

          5. Anne

            What are you on about, whiter than white? No one’s whiter than white. We’re all morally complex.

            When would someone have the moral authority to complain about any malpractice?

            Are you saying no one should, as no one’s perfect?

            What whistleblowers do isn’t disastrous for everyone.

            What they do can end up being for the public good.

            It’s only disastrous for themselves when they are targeted by those in positions of power and there’s no accountability or procedures to protect them.

            You’re line of thinking is very telling. Whistleblower my hoop. Pull the other one. Granted, you’re a bit of an unusual breed all right.

          6. Enter Sandman

            Anne – where did I declare support for or against an individual? Having clearly lost our debate due to a clear lack of attention to detail and regard for facts, you yet again are turning, in vain, to trying to impute some improper motive or tone to my comments that actually isn’t there. Go back to your “baldy” comments and telling public figures to “fupp off” – that’s more your level.

          7. Anne

            Again settle down now.

            Your support would certainly not seem to be with McCabe. Unless you would like to clarify otherwise and denounce the viciousness which he was subjected to at the hands of An Gardai Siochana.

          8. Enter Sandman

            Anne you clearly no little of what you speak. No matter I guess it’s never stopped you before. I suggest you try doing some basic research on whistleblowers before making a bigger fool of yourself. They have this thing called Google now. You can type “whistleblowers” in there and it will come up with a little website called “Wikipedia.com”. You can start your study there and then come back to me for further guidance.
            Good luck.

          9. Anne

            Cool thanks. I’ll get googling..

            I’ll keep an eye out for any mention of them being an unusal breed and of them not being whiter than white when I get googling.

          10. Enter Sandman

            Yes Anne – you do that. And here – when you become a little more informed – will you please do one of your trademark cut and paste posts?
            I’d love you to do one of those.

          11. Anne

            nor ‘unusual breed’..not a thing.

            Bye now. You keep an open mind all you want..but O’Sullivan instructed her lawyers to discredit McCabe based on false statements by 2 Gardai. McCabe had a recording of the interviews with these 2 gardai. These 2 gardai were never punished.

            Others are also saying they have evidence O’Sullivan was very aware of the smear campaign and the leaking of false allegations to journalists. Evidence -Phone records.

          12. Anne

            Also the fact that you are referring to McCabe’s statement as not being evidence is rubbish.

            In McCabe’s statement he refers to the O’Higgins inquiry..this is on record..i.e evidence showing that she instructed her lawyers to discredit McCabe. Based on lies of course. He didnt plucked what he said in his statement from thin air.

          1. Enter Sandman

            Do you think he will get relief out of it? Or that he will decide it was all worth it? I’m doubtful

    1. Anne

      Awful stuff. It really is.

      They need dismantling from the top down and some proper accountability. Noirin and her predecessor are up to their t*ts in it.

      You can’t be doing this sh*t to people and never mind getting away with it but nothing seen to even be done about it.

      1. Enter Sandman

        Well let’s give the commission of inquiry a chance to do its job first eh Anne, before rushing to the headstock and reaching for the tar and feathers?

        1. Anne

          I really wasn’t going to bother responding after seeing your comment above saying she must be good at her job -or at least equivalent to the men in her position..you realise her proceeding male equivalent effectively got the boot right?

          Regarding another inquiry, I suggest you read McCabe’s statement.

          1. Enter Sandman

            I’m merely making the point that these are allegations at the moment Anne. And she has denied any wrongdoing. Look I’m not saying she’s blameless. But she deserves a chance to have her name cleared on the same principles or edicts of natural justice as any of us would like to be judged on.

            Here – is your valentines date that boring that you are in here chatting with me?

          2. Anne

            She’s on record as instructing her lawyers to discredit McCabe using false statements by senior gardai who said McCabe told them that he was acting out of malice. Mccabe had a recording of his meeting with these 2. So these 2 were acting of their own accord and weren’t punished in any way for these false statements against McCabe..or they were instructed to make these false statements.

            Why would they act of their own accord to discredit McCabe?

            Charges have been dropped against Dave Taylor now..is he lying too? He says he spoke to her about the particular details in relation to the smear campaign. She said she never knew anything.

          3. Enter Sandman

            Those insinuations you make may be made stick, or they may not. However in the meantime Commissioner O’Sullivan should enjoy the presumption of innocence. Here’s an alternative scenario for example.

            1) Commissioner O’Sullivan was merely doing her job if she instructed counsel as you suggest. She might feel no choice but to appear to look tougher than any man in her position- as I’m sure you well know, women in senior management often feel under pressure to act like this. It doesn’t make it right if it is the case. But it doesn’t make it entirely malicious either.

            2) she didn’t have any hand, act or part in it. Maybe male gardai are really directing the organisation and she is merely a figurehead chosen as part of a carefully contrived PR strategy to rehabilitate the image of the gardai?

          4. Anne

            I didn’t make any insinuations.

            Read McCabe’s statement. She instructed her lawyers to discredit McCabe based on lies from senior gardai.

            She was also aware of the smear campaign according to others. She said she wasn’t. All they all lying?

            Again for a former whistleblower you don’t seem overly concerned about the very serious fabrications made against McCabe.

          5. Anne

            Yes they are. She is on record as instructing her lawyers to discredit McCabe’s motives, based on lies from senior gardai.
            If they were acting of their own accord, why werent they punished and criminal proceedings taken against them?

            Enough of the inquiries.

            An orchestrated smear campaign and false allegations of child sex abuse were made by members of the Gardai against Maurice McCabe. These are criminal matters. Not matters that require ‘inquiry’.

          6. Enter Sandman

            As part of a legal case yes. Your claim now is that she instructed lawyers to go in heavy on a character who may or may not be reliable?

            Presumably the innuendo had already been spread so – like it or not- if Commissioner O’Sullivan was not directly involved in that, she would have heard the innuendo. You do realise that she might not have been involved in the alleged smears herself or even aware of them happening right?

            Is it your contention Anne that the police commissioner should not do her job when the integrity of the force is questioned? I may not like the tactics she has used in that example but I can understand why they might have seemed like a correct choice at the time especially as a woman in a big ranking job under pressure for a pile of senior men in an overwhelmingly male-dominated organisation.

          7. Enter Sandman

            Just a point of information Anne, you seem to be struggling with this:

            McCabe’s statement – evidence , not proof
            Other statements saying O’Sullivan was aware of smear – evidence, not proof

            Isn’t it possible that other male gardai, well aware of how the system worked, orchestrated the smear campaign, keeping the whole thing well away from O’Sullivan’s direct involvement, and landed the whole thing on her when she got the job? I just noted from listening to news this evening that people whom it is alleged, actively spread the smears to John Deasy, John McGuinness and others were NOT O’Sullivan.
            Instead they were all men, senior gardai.
            Sorry for being Jesuitical , I know you’d rather a witch-burning, but I’m keeping an open mind

  6. Sheikh Yabooti

    Guys, this is all from the playbook of the Stasi…

    “the ‘Zersetzung’ of individuals was usually carried out by systematically undermining the target’s quality of life (both socially and in the workplace) with the intention of simply destroying the target’s confidence. The tactics used took various forms, such as spreading slanderous rumours, causing trouble at work etc. Rumours and information (such as about unacceptable political viewpoints, inappropriate behaviour, the possibility they may be an informant etc) that were passed on to bosses and social circles might be based on true facts, but were often plausible untruths that were hard or impossible to refute.”

    http://www.maxhertzberg.co.uk/background/politics/stasi-tactics/

        1. Nigel

          Perhaps, but if there’s one group of people who should inspire actual fear when it turns out they’ve been behaving in this manner, it’s the police force. You may say it’s better to remain calm, but for better or worse, ‘remaining calm’ is seen as synonymous with doing nothing and maintaining a status quo that is perceived as increasingly rotten.

          1. Enter Sandman

            Possible Nigel

            But here’s the thing right? This isn’t communist era East Germany. Let’s keep a sense of perspective

          2. Nigel

            Well, yeah. And one of the reasons it isn’t is because the public have the freedom and capacity to get angry and demand justice and accountability. Comparing the Guards to the Stasi may seem like a joke, but it’s a useful reminder that police forces are positioned on a sliding scale of corruption and oppression with the Stasi at the end you want really to keep as far away from as possible.

  7. GiggidyGoo

    Why not fire O Sullivan and let her take the State to court? Then the state can call witnesses, maybe even including the solicitor that she told to question the motivation of MC Cabe?
    If she did decide to sue that is.
    Would not that be a quicker way to deal with this – Sister O Sullivan gone job done, or Sister O’Sullivan sues, therefore witnesses can be called, and the court case reported?

    1. Frilly Keane

      thats the way I’d do it

      t’was the same with yer man from Fás: Rody Molloy

      make them sue to prove they are doing their jobs and are entitled to their engorged Pensions etc

    2. Enter Sandman

      Irish water Irish water

      If the state lost the case the same lads who whine about can’t pay won’t pay would be complaining about the wast of public money. The apparatus of state is extremely powerful and should not be used at all to intimidate except possibly in the most extreme cases.

      Your suggestion is that the state should regress to the alleged intimidating tactics of the gardai?

      1. Frilly Keane

        I don’t know how the state would win

        but they’d have their say in court and challange the Plaintiffs to prove the state wrong
        and the likes of Rody Molly and Noirin O’Sullivan would have to declare prove their cases

        That they are worthy

        They’d be laughing stocks

        and their retirements HELL
        a Comfy well fed and fueled Hell

        but their legacy will be a daily mockery

  8. AssPants

    Why are those who speak out about wrongdoings tagged with the term “whistleblower”; the title alone is confidence eroding as it suggests that one is a “snitch”.

    Government policy is obviously against this sort outspoken approach, sure of course the state will from every moment do whatever it takes to discredit social and responsible individuals. Why am I even thinking outloud about this?

    It must take balls of steel to be able to step up and publicly speak out against a sizeable state department such as An Garda Siochans.

    1. Enter Sandman

      It definitely would. It’s a peculiar mindset,very unusual.
      Whistleblowers often think that someone will listen to them in authority. This is rarely the case in practice.

  9. *con Ivan Champions

    Shame on the entire membership of An Garda Siochana if there isn’t another 10 ‘whistleblowers’ within the next month

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