Tag Archives: Garda Keith Harrison

Clockwise from top left: Sgt Maurice McCabe, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, Garda Keith Harrison, Superintendent David Taylor, and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan 

Yesterday evening.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton published his first interim report on the Disclosures Tribunal.

In it, he loosely outlines when certain hearings pertaining to the tribunal will take place (more on this below)

In addition, he lists the parties – including journalists – who have been represented before the tribunal so far, and who represented them.

In relation to journalistic privilege, Mr Charleton writes:

Another privilege that is claimed is in respect of those who engage with journalists in the public interest to enable them to carry out the vital role of calling democratic and executive institutions to account. Some journalists have given witness statements in which they have helpfully specified conversations that have taken place outside of what they perceived to be the cloak of any such privilege, if it exists.

Others have refused to say whether there is any relevant testimony which they might offer. The extent of that privilege and the circumstances under which is arises are both likely to occupy time.

As for his appeal for cooperation from all interested parties, when he made his opening statement about the tribunal, on February 27, 2017, Mr Charleton said:

There were many useful pieces of correspondence received, including from concerned members of the public, though the general level of response was very disappointing.”

In addition:

“On 30 March 2017, the Tribunal sat to hear applications for representation from interested parties… On that day, several representatives of journalists indicated an intention to apply for representation but declined to answer any questions from the tribunal as to whether the individual or organisation seeking representation even had any relevant testimony to offer the tribunal.

It is important to record that not all journalists or media organisations took that approach. The full transcript of that hearing and the ruling of the tribunal as of 3 April 2017 are both available on the tribunal’s website.”

On the tribunal’s intended schedule, he writes:

The Tribunal is grateful for the co-operating of parties in its work to date and it is hoped the Tribunal will conclude hearing evidence before the end of this year.

It appears useful to the work of the Tribunal to divide its consideration of matters into about five substantial sections. What follows is only an outline.

Of pressing public concern is whether or not files in certain State agencies, who here might be identified as Rian, the Health Service Executive and the Child and Family Agency, otherwise Túsla, were created and distributed or otherwise used by senior members of our police force in inventing or furthering a false allegation of sexual abuse against Sergeant Maurice McCabe. 

This will be the first section of public hearings. It is hoped to engage in these and to complete them in July of this year. Progress on this matter has moved very far but the analysis of relevant computers is essential and there are further interviews to be conducted by our investigations.

Concerns in relation to Garda Keith Harrison and his family and the same State agencies might be regarded as being similar in kind, if not in detail, and it is hoped to engage in public hearings on that issue in September of this year. Again, considerable work has been done.

As to what may have been briefed to the then Garda Press Officer, Superintendent David Taylor for dissemination to journalists by former Commissioner Martin Callinan and then Deputy Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, this is the subject of an inquiry in respect of which public hearings are hoped to be held, perhaps following a short break, in November.

Allied to this section are concerns in relation to an engagement between former Commissioner Martin Callinan and John McGuinness TD that is said to have taken place on 24 January 2014, in a very specific location, according to the terms of reference.

These sections do not seem to be divisible and evidence on one may be of assistance in the determination of what attitude was taken by those senior officers to Sergeant Maurice McCabe, if any, and as to how they responded or acted.

A specific, and it would seem relatively short inquiry, is to be made in relation to broadcasts on RTE of 9 May 2016. This, in fact, consisted of several broadcasts and commentaries, and as to whether Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was influencing, or had dictated, the terms of these in some way.

The O’Higgins Commission was of course the subject of the commentary in relation to these broadcasts. It may be logical to consider that with the question as to whether false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds were inappropriately relied upon by the Commissioner during the hearings before Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins.

It is hoped to dispose of these matters in December of this year. It is not within the terms of reference to re-run the O’Higgins Commission but, instead, that report is part of the evidence before the tribunal. It might usefully be read by all interested parties.

Read the interim report in full here

Disclosures Tribunal

I160101_192627_30845159oTextTRMRMMGLPICT000079045824o-1-1

Garda Keith Harrison

You may recall how, on Wednesday evening, Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins spoke to Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Prime Time about how Keith was the subject of a referral to Tusla over a false abuse allegation.

Yesterday it was announced that Mr Harrison’s complaints will be included in the tribunal of inquiry that will examine the alleged smear campaign against Sgt Maurice McCabe.

Readers will recall how Garda Harrison’s troubles began after he arrested a member of the drugs quad for drink driving in Athlone in June, 2009.

The arrest came a year after Garda Harrison made a complaint alleging that a member of the Garda drugs unit was involved in the sale and supply of heroin in Athlone.

In 2014, Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty told the Dail that Garda Harrison made serious claims about how the drink driving case was struck out and how evidence related to the case was stolen by a Garda member.

Mr Harrison, who has been on sick leave since 2014, released the following statement last night:

After a long and difficult battle to have all my complaints investigated I would like to acknowledge the publication [yesterday] of the expanded terms of reference of the Tribunal of Inquiry that now includes an investigation of my treatment and that of other whistleblowers within An Garda Siochana. I trust the Inquiry will establish the truth and bring about a change within Senior Management of An Garda Siochana.

My family and I acknowledge and thank the public for the support received since taking the extraordinary step of bringing our case to national attention.

I continue to remain out of work on sick leave without any pay. I ask that my pay be restored so that I may financially support my family. It remains my wish to return to active duty serving my community as a member of An Garda Siochana.

I thank all those who met with us, listened and assisted us in reaching this point, I acknowledge Minister Katherine Zappone TD, Minister Finian McGrath TD and Minister Sean Canney TD, Brendan Howlin TD, Mr Michael Martin TD and Mr Jim O’Callaghan TD, Dr Michael Harty TD, Mr Pearse Doherty TD and Mr Johnathan O’Brien TD who met and listened to us.

Special thanks to Clare Daly TD and Mick Wallace TD for their exhaustive efforts in highlighting the treatment of whistleblowers within An Garda Siochana.

I would like to particularly thank Alan Kelly TD who offered his wholehearted support in bringing these matters to public attention and, on my behalf, championed our case in the Dail to bring about the widening of the Terms of Reference to include my experiences.

I would like to thank the trojan work of each and every member of staff of Kilfeather and Company solicitors, Galway and in particular the tireless efforts of our solicitor, Trevor Collins.

Finally I thank my family for their love and support in particular my partner Marisa, who continues to be my rock throughout this ordeal. No further statements shall be made and I look forward to the convening of the Inquiry.

Why Are Nine Garda Whistleblowers Out Sick?

I160101_192627_30845159oTextTRMRMMGLPICT000079045824o-1Screen-Shot-2016-10-12-at-10.22.02Screen-Shot-2016-10-12-at-10.22.22

From top: Garda Keith Harrison; Independents 4 Change TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at a committee meeting on October 12, 2016

Readers will recall how, last October, Independents 4 Change TD Clare Daly repeatedly asked Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan if she was privy to any information about allegations of mistreatment of Garda whistleblowers.

At one point, Ms Daly said:

“Commissioner, you said you weren’t privy to any information about allegations of mistreatment of whistleblowers, that your knowledge was very much based on what was in the public commentary and, from what you’ve heard, but is that statement not contradicted by the fact that legal counsel for one of the whistleblowers wrote directly to you 14 times over a two-year period, outlining a litany of direct experiences that he had had in terms of surveillance, intimidation.

Ms O’Sullivan repeatedly replied:

“I’m not privy to, nor did I approve, nor would I condone any campaign of harassment…”

The Garda Commissioner also said she was precluded from speaking about individual cases.

As recently as Monday, Ms O’Sullivan also told Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio One:

I have absolutely no knowledge, nor was I privy to any campaign to undermine any individual in An Garda Siochana.

Further to this…

Below is one of those 14 letters, referred to above by Ms Daly, sent by Garda Keith Harrison’s solicitors, Kilfeathers & Company to o Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan.

It was sent on May 20, 2016.

Dear Commissioner,

We write to you again in circumstances where you have failed to… reply to our correspondence and address the very serious issues and concerns raised therein.

There has been an extraordinary effort to smear and undermine the credibility of our client by his employer, your servants and agents. As his employer you have clearly failed in your duty of care and refused to engage with our client regarding his serious health and welfare issues as a result of the unfair treatment he has suffered. He has been isolated and abandoned by his employer and colleagues.

Furthermore our client has suffered financially in circumstances where he has not worked since the 19th of May 2014. Because he has no income he is unable to adequately support his family financially as he is solely in receipt of social welfare payments.

The financial hardship has caused our client further stress, distress and anxiety. Our client is now in the extraordinary position that his social welfare payment will cease today, the 20th of May, 2016.

…We ask that you formally reply to our numerous letters that have gone unanswered.

According to members of An Garda Siochana who have notified our client – our client has been the subject of unsubstantiated death threats on three occasions.

This issue regarding the alleged death threats is of serious concern for our client and in particular the handling of these matters by your servants and agents. Given the manner with which you have dealt with these threats, our client questions the legitimacy and source of such threats given the nature and manner in which they have been communicated to him.

… It is clear to us An Garda Siochana have failed in their duty to our client as a victim and as member of the force. It appears to us the alleged threats are used as justification for the surveillance and harassment of our client but at no point are these matters properly investigated.

For the avoidance of any doubt our client has received no support from you, your servants or agents. He has suffered victimisation, penalisation and isolated and has been subject to continued attempts to smear his reputation and undermine his credibility. This has caused him serious harm from the point of view of his health and welfare to include serious financial hardship.

Please note because of your failure, the foregoing matters shall be brought to the attention of GSOC and the Minister for Justice for further examination.

Anyone?

Previously: You’ll Get Nothing From Me

“Legacy Issues”