Tag Archives: Keith Harrison


 Garda Keith Harrison and Judge Peter Charleton

Yesterday evening.

The Disclosures Tribunal released its second interim report.

This report focused solely on matters pertaining to Garda Keith Harrison and his claims regarding Tusla and An Garda Siochana.

Garda Harrison has claimed his working life was difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

It was his contention that the gardai manipulated domestic incidents involving him and his partner Marissa Simms and this resulted in a referral being made to Tusla in February 2014.

The tribunal, overseen by Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton, did not investigate anything in relation to the matters of 2008 and 2009. It was solely tasked with examining his claims about Tusla and contacts between Tusla and the gardai in respect of Garda Harrison.

In his report, Judge Charleton found that, during the hearings in which their allegations were examined, their claims “simply collapsed” and he rejected all of them in their entirety.

Judge Charleton, who worked as a tribunal counsel during the Morris Tribunal, was unequivocal in his summation:

All of the allegations of Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms examined by the tribunal are entirely without any validity. They have claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so.

“They claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so.

“They claimed to have been the victims of others. There is another side to this.

“The allegations which they made must have taken a considerable emotional toll on several of the multiple persons accused by them of very serious misconduct.

It is appropriate here to exonerate everyone in social services and in policing accused by them of discreditable conduct.

“That is the only possible conclusion to the tribunal’s enquiry. It is also amply corroborated by the supporting evidence analysed in this report.”

For anyone attending or following the hearings of the Garda Harrison module, Judge Charleton’s findings should come as no surprise – especially after Ms Simms’ evidence on September 27.

During the hearing that day Ms Simms said she had no issues with Tusla or the HSE or with the social worker who visited their home whom, she said, acted professionally and appropriately on foot of receiving a referral from the gardai.

It was also put to Ms Simms by Desmond Dockery SC, representing the gardai who took a statement from Ms Simms about Garda Harrison in October 2013 but which Ms Simms subsequently withdrew in January 2014 – that she had no basis for believing that gardai manipulated the HSE in relation to the Tusla referral.

Ms Simms said: “That’s correct.”

On foot of this, Mr Dockery asked Ms Simms, if that was her position, on what grounds did she make a complaint to GSOC last year in which she alleged the gardai abused their authority and made a referral in relation to Ms Simms’ children.

Ms Simms said she based it on her thinking that it wasn’t a coincidence that soon after she withdrew her statement on January 11, 2014, she received a letter from Tusla on February 2, 2014.

At one point, Judge Charleton directly asked Ms Simms: “What are you actually saying about the Garda and the HSE?”

Ms Simms replied: “I’m not inferring anything.”

At another point, Paul Anthony McDermott SC, for Tusla, stated:

“…there is a letter written on behalf of Marisa Simms and Garda Harrison by their solicitors to Dr [Katherine] Zappone, who is the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; in other words, my client’s Minister…it says: “The manner of intervention of Tusla in our client’s family life is a cause of concern and is by any measure an inexcusable abuse of their position.”

It was my understanding that the reason we’re here in this module was to investigate that allegation. It appears as though it is no longer being pursued.”

In addition.

The couple’s claim that Ms Simms’ 38-page statement of October 6, 2013, contained words and allegations not used by her – specifically that Garda Harrison threatened to burn her and the children, which ultimately gave rise to the Tusla referral – fell apart during the hearings.

This occurred when the tribunal saw texts Ms Simms sent to Garda Harrison, on September 29 and 30, crucially before she made her Garda statement, in which she referred to a threat made by him to burn her during an argument.

Separate to Judge Charleton’s findings in relation to his investigation of contacts between Tusla and members of An Garda Siochana in respect of Garda Harrison…

Readers may wish to note that during the final days of the module concerning Garda Harrison, it emerged that documents, which should have been sent to the tribunal by An Garda Siochana earlier, came to light.

These included a note written by Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn – which appeared to link the retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to a Garda strategy meeting where it was decided that matters pertaining to the domestic incident between Garda Harrison and Ms Simms would be referred to Tusla and GSOC.

The tribunal had heard that Chief Supt McGinn, who was the liaison officer for the gardai to the Morris Tribunal, had sent this document to Garda HQ but that Garda HQ hadn’t sent it on to the tribunal as it got separated in the process of sending categorised pieces of information to the tribunal.

The emergence of this note and other documents prompted Judge Charleton to make a lengthy speech in which he called for co-operation from the parties involved, saying the tribunal was blowing a bugle “as loud as it possibly can to ask people to just wake up and start helping us, and, in blowing that bugle, I am not saying that there has been any concealment, any deviousness, any conspiracy, but what I am saying is that things could have been done a lot better and they ought to be done now.”

Judge Charleton subsequently found nothing untoward in these documents.

In fact, it should be said, in his report, he said of Chief Supt McGinn:

“Having heard Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn giving evidence over three days it is obvious that she is a woman of nurturing character, highly proud of the organisation which she serves, and determined to do the best for it and for the people which it polices. Her intelligence, diligence and application to duty are admirable.”

But, on the subject of the seeking of documents.

Broadsheet understands that Garda Harrison is awaiting two sets of documents.

One set is in relation to a June 2016 Freedom of Information request for documents from the Department of Justice.

The other is in relation to a court order, made by Mr Justice Kevin Cross in the High Court in May 2017, for the Garda Commissioner to hand over documents related to Garda Harrison pertaining to the timeframe of November 2008 to December 2014.

At that time, Judge Cross gave An Garda Siochana ten weeks to give Harrison the documents.

But this didn’t happen.

On November 20 last, back in the High Court, An Garda Siochana were given another four weeks after they requested time to put the documents in chronological order.

Garda Harrison will be back in the High Court in relation to this on December 18.

Judge Charleton’s 97-page report can be read in full here

Previously: Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

UPDATE:

Further to Judge Charleton’s report.

A statement issued by Kilfeather & Company Solicitors, on behalf of Garda Harrison, this afternoon.

Clockwise from top left: Supt Eugene McGovern; Garda Keith Harrison, Marissa Simms; Chief Supt Terry McGinn; Judge Peter Charleton

This morning.

At Dublin Castle.

After a week’s break, the Disclosures Tribunal, in respect of Garda Keith Harrison, will resume as four witnesses are recalled to give further evidence in light of new documentation which came to light in recent weeks.

The witnesses being recalled today are Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn; Gerry Hone, of Tusla; retired Chief Superintendent James Sheridan and Superintendent Eugene McGovern.

Readers will recall Garda Harrison claims his working life has been difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

It is his contention that the gardai manipulated domestic incidents involving him and his partner Marissa Simms and this resulted in a referral being made to Tusla in February 2014.

This has been rejected by both An Garda Siochana and Tusla.

The decision to make a referral in respect of Garda Harrison to Tusla was made during a meeting on October 8, 2013 about a statement made by Ms Simms on October 6, 2013, following a row between her and Garda Harrison on September 28, 2013.

The tribunal has already heard that, after the meeting on October 8, 2013, Chief Supt Terry McGinn phoned the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to keep him informed of events.

The four witnesses have been recalled today following the late emergence of documents which refer to minutes of separate meetings involving senior gardai.

The first is dated November 5, 2013, and refers to a regional divisional meeting held in Dundalk chaired by the then Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny.

Chief Supt McGinn and retired Chief Supt Sheridan were at this meeting.

In one line of the minutes, it states that Chief Superintendent McGinn updated the meeting on “the investigation concerning Garda Keith Harrison”.

The tribunal heard that the minutes don’t explicitly refer to any HSE referral.

The second document includes another minute relating to a divisional accountability meeting at Letterkenny Garda Station on November 29, 2013 at 10am.

Garda Keith Harrison isn’t mentioned in the minute but it’s recorded that Gerry Hone, from the HSE, addressed the meeting in relation to HSE referrals.

Chief Supt McGinn and Supt McGovern attended that meeting.

Readers will recall it was Supt McGovern who referred matters concerning Garda Harrison and Ms Simms to Gerry Hone, of Tusla, on October 10, 2013.

Previously: ‘You Don’t Just Stand Back And Do Nothing’

From top: Judge Peter Charleton; Marissa Simms and Garda Keith Harrison

This afternoon.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

On foot of the emergence of new evidence yesterday which appears to link the Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to a Garda strategy meeting where it was decided that matters pertaining to a domestic incident between Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms would be referred on to Tusla and GSOC…

It has learned that the note was sent to Garda Headquarters – to be forwarded on to the tribunal – but it did not reach the tribunal.

The notes were written by Chief Supt Terry McGinn who was present at the meeting in Letterkenny Garda Station on October 8, 2013 – two days after Ms Simms gave a statement to gardai on October 6, 2013.

Yesterday, the tribunal heard Chief Supt McGinn jotted down:

“Spoke to Supt O’Loughlin [sic] referral and A/C“

It’s understood Supt O’Loughlin is reference to Chief Supt Anthony McLoughlin, of the B Branch.

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, told Judge Peter Charleton that the tribunal accepts that Chief Supt Terry McGinn did submit the note to the Garda Headquarters but that it, in fact, didn’t reach the tribunal and wasn’t in the tribunal papers.

Mr McGuinness told the tribunal that Conor Dignam SC, for the Garda Commissioner, had given him a clear explanation of what happened to the note.

He said that Mr Dignam explained that the note got separated in the process of sending categorised pieces of information to satisfy the tribunal’s needs.

He said Mr Dignam explained that the Garda liaison team to the tribunal didn’t realise that the note was relevant to the category HSE/Tusla and, as such, wasn’t forwarded.

Yesterday, Conor Power SC, for Chief Supt McGinn, told the tribunal that the note was submitted to the tribunal in June.

This afternoon, Mr Power apologised to the tribunal but Judge Charleton said that he acted on instructions given to him and that that’s what he was told.

Mr Power said Chief Supt McGinn also wished to apologise to the tribunal.

Judge Charleton, somewhat repeating what he said yesterday, told the tribunal:

“I believe I’m going to go for the chaos theory over the conspiracy theory and the reality is we are inundated with papers.”

He added:

“I’m not viewing anyone as being uncooperateive or deceitful. It’s just one of these things.”

In addition, the tribunal was told that retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny has told the tribunal he “has no recollection of the phone call” referred to in the note.

It also heard as, he is on the “far side of the world”, a statement has not yet been provided to the tribunal – as demanded by Judge Charleton yesterday evening.

However, a statement has been made by Chief Supt Anthony McLoughlin, and fresh statements have been made by Chief Supt McGinn and Supt McGovern – which were also demanded by Judge Charleton yesterday evening.

Readers should note that, earlier this week, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, put it to Garda Harrison:

“There doesn’t appear to be a scintilla of evidence to suggest that either Assistant Commissioner Kenny or the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána or anybody in Garda Headquarters had any input in relation to the meeting that took place on the 8th October and the referral of the matter to Tusla?”

Readers should also note that it has been Garda Harrison’s contention that An Garda Siochana manipulated Tusla to intervene in his family life for malicious reasons – a claim both agencies deny.

Garda Harrison claims his working life has been difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

Supt Eugene McGovern has resumed giving evidence.

Chief Supt Terry McGinn is scheduled to give evidence after Supt McGovern.

Earlier: Meanwhile At The Disclosures Tribunal

‘It’s A Case Of The Tribunal Blowing Figuratively A Bugle As Loud As It Possibly Can’

Clockwise from left: Judge Peter Charleton, retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, Garda Keith Harrison and members of his legal team

This morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

Proceedings have yet to begin and it’s just been announced that they now won’t start until 1.30pm.

Readers may recall how the tribunal heard new evidence late yesterday which appeared to link the Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny to a Garda strategy meeting where it was decided that matters pertaining to a domestic incident between Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms would be referred on to Tusla and GSOC.

The notes were written by Chief Supt Terry McGinn who was present at the meeting in Letterkenny Garda Station on October 8, 2013 – two days after Ms Simms gave a statement to gardai on October 6, 2013.

Yesterday, the tribunal heard Chief Supt McGinn jotted down:

Spoke to Supt O’Loughlin [sic] referral and A/C“

It’s understood Supt O’Loughlin is reference to Chief Supt Anthony McLoughlin, of the B Branch.

Earlier this week, Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, put it to Garda Harrison that there didn’t appear to be “a scintilla of evidence to suggest that either Assistant Commissioner Kenny or the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána or anybody in Garda Headquarters had any input in relation to the meeting that took place on the 8th October and the referral of the matter to Tusla”.

Yesterday, in light of the note, Judge Charleton called for statements to be made to the tribunal by both retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny and Chief Supt McLoughlin by this morning at 10am.

Judge Charleton also criticised the Garda Commissioner for not ensuring that Mr Kenny and Mr McLoughlin had made statements.

Readers should note that, subsequent to the meeting of October 8, 2013, a house visit was eventually made by social worker Donna McTeague to the home of Garda Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms on February 19, 2014 and, after concluding there were no issues of concern, Garda Harrison and Ms Simms received a letter from Tusla on February 27, 2014 to say the matter was closed.

In respect of the GSOC referral, it was sent to GSOC on October 9, 2013, as a Section 102 referral which concerns matters that indicate “the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.

The tribunal has already heard that the GSOC referral didn’t proceed.

George O’Doherty, Head of Corporate Services and Human Resources at GSOC, said there was nothing in Ms Simms’ statement to suggest such “serious harm” had been inflicted on her.

In addition, it heard that, on December 10, 2013, Dan Wright, of GSOC, wrote to the then Chief Superintendent in Internal Affairs, Chief Supt Anthony McLoughlin, to tell him that the Section 102 referral was “improperly referred in the view of the Commission” but added: “The Garda Ombudsman Commission accepts, however, that the decision to refer a matter to GSOC is entirely one for An Garda Síochána.”

More to follow.

Previously: ‘It Is A Case Of The Tribunal Bowing Figuratively A Bugle As Loud As It Possible Can’

Clockwise from left: Garda Keith Harrison, Marissa Simms, Judge Peter Charleton and former Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny

Earlier today.

At the Disclosures Tribunal.

Judge Peter Charleton continued to examine matters pertaining to Donegal-based Garda Keith Harrison.

Garda Harrison claims his working life has been difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

At around 4pm today, Judge Charleton adjourned the tribunal’s proceedings after demanding that several gardai – including the former Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny and Chief Superintendent Anthony McLoughlin of the ‘B’ Branch – issue statements to the tribunal by 10am tomorrow.

He warned that if the deadline is not met, he may have to “say something else”.

He also made a 10-minute speech in which he said the tribunal was blowing a bugle “as loud as it possibly can to ask people to just wake up and start helping us, and, in blowing that bugle, I am not saying that there has been any concealment, any deviousness, any conspiracy, but what I am saying is that things could have been done a lot better and they ought to be done now.”

Judge Charleton’s demand follows the emergence of new evidence in the form of notes from a meeting held in Letterkenny Garda Station on October 8, 2013, which appear to link the former Assistant Garda Commissioner Kieran Kenny to moves made by An Garda Siochana in relation to Garda Harrison and his family.

The meeting took place two days after Inspector Goretti Sheridan and Sgt Brigid McGowan recorded a statement made by the partner of Garda Keith Harrison Marissa Simms, also at Letterkenny Garda Station, on October 6, 2013.

In that statement, it’s recorded that Ms Simms claimed Garda Harrison threatened to burn her during a row on September 28, 2013.

Ms Simms has since told the tribunal that Garda Harrison never threatened to burn her and that he told her she was going to ‘get burnt’ if she didn’t stop trying to please everyone.

In addition, the tribunal has heard of a statement made by Ms Simms’ mother Rita McDermott to Inspector Goretti Sheridan and Sgt Jim Collins on October 2, 2013 – four days before Ms Simms made her statement.

In her statement, Ms McDermott is recorded as saying: “Marisa has said that Keith threatened to burn her and the children…She is scared for her life. He said something about burning her and the children and something about take a good look at them children and you will only see them at weekends.”

At the meeting of October 8, 2013, it was decided that the statements of Ms Simms and Ms McDermott would be forwarded to both the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and Tusla and that an investigation would get under way.

It has been Garda Harrison’s contention that An Garda Siochana manipulated Tusla to intervene in his family life for malicious reasons – a claim both agencies deny.

Subsequent to the meeting of October 8, 2013, a house visit was eventually made by social worker Donna McTeague to the home of Garda Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms on February 19, 2014 and, after concluding there were no issues of concern, Garda Harrison and Ms Simms received a letter from Tusla on February 27, 2014 to say the matter was closed.

In respect of the GSOC referral, it was sent to GSOC on October 9, 2013, as a Section 102 referral which concerns matters that indicate “the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.

Serious harm, the tribunal heard, is defined as

“injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes serious disfigurement or causes substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any particular bodily member or organ”.

Last week, under cross examination from Mark Harty, SC for Garda Harrison, George O’Doherty, Head of Corporate Services and Human Resources at GSOC, told the tribunal Ms McDermott’s statement was hearsay as it was third party evidence while there was nothing in Ms Simms’ statement to suggest such “serious harm” had been inflicted on her.

The tribunal heard that Mr O’Doherty rang Ms Simms about the statement GSOC received on October 9 – at which point she was in hospital with an infection – and that they shared another phone call on October 11, 2013, during which Ms Simms told Mr O’Doherty she did not want GSOC to deal with the matter.

In addition.

While cross-examining Mr O’Doherty last week, Mr Harty told the tribunal that Chief Supt Terry McGinn – who is due to give evidence tomorrow – was told, “by Garda internal affairs” within 18 minutes of the section 102 referral being made, it was not an appropriate matter for a section 102 referral.

Mr O’Doherty said he wasn’t aware of this.

Asked if, as far as he was concerned, Chief Supt McGinn didn’t contact GSOC to withdraw the Section 102 referral, Mr O’Doherty said he wasn’t aware.

In any event.

Those in attendance at the October 8 meeting were Inspector Goretti Sheridan; Chief Supt Terry McGinn; Supt Michael Finan, Detective Inspector Pat O’Donnell and Carl Campbell, of Garda internal affairs.

And according to the notes taken during the meeting, by Chief Supt McGinn, which emerged this afternoon, she jotted down:

Spoke to Supt O’Loughlin [sic] referral and A/C Kenny“.

The mention of Supt McLoughlin and former Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny follows Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, asking Garda Harrison earlier this week questions pertaining to his understanding of that meeting on October 8, 2013.

They had the following exchange:

Patrick Marrinan: “… I’m talking about an input into the meeting on 8th October. There doesn’t appear to be a scintilla of evidence to suggest that either Assistant Commissioner Kenny or the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána or anybody in Garda Headquarters had any input in relation to the meeting that took place on the 8th October and the referral of the matter to Tusla?

Keith Harrison: “Well, I’d disagree there, because we have seen and we know that Garda Carl Campbell had sent information to Internal Affairs, which is based in Phoenix headquarters, so there was information leaving the division and going to other areas in Garda management, and that’s there to be seen.”

Further to this…

The note of the meeting in October 2013, by Chief Supt McGinn, was given to Mr Harty SC, Garda Harrison just before 3pm today, while he was cross-examining Supt Eugene McGovern.

Mr Harty told the tribunal the note was given to Diarmuid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, just 20 minutes prior to his receipt of it, and that the reference to discussions with Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny was something of which he knew nothing.

Mr Harty went on to say that, given the emergence  of this note, he was very concerned that there are other documents that the tribunal has not seen, especially as this new note is “directly relevant” to the meeting of October 8.

Discussions of the note led to some tetchy exchanges between Judge Charleton and Mr Harty – with Judge Charleton claiming he was “under attack” before Judge Charleton later called for the statements by 10am tomorrow and adjourned the proceedings.

Initially, Judge Charleton said that he didn’t think the note was “the famous silver bullet that is being looked for” but said he is “very willing to listen to everything”.

Judge Charleton then suggested that Mr Harty continue to cross-examine Supt McGovern.

However, Mr Harty insisted that the matter wasn’t marginal as this was the meeting that prompted contact with the HSE/Tusla and GSOC.

Mr Harty said:

There is no possibility that anybody could have believed that this document was irrelevant. And what my difficulty with that is, is that if I am receiving this now, what other documents am I not seeing that are directly relevant to this issue?

The tribunal then heard that Chief Supt McGinn provided the document to the tribunal in June of this year.

Following on from that, Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal, said Diarmuid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, was checking the tribunal’s investigators’ position.

As Mr Harty began to raise his concerns, Judge Charleton told him:

“I don’t think there is any point in actually feeding, you know, a great sense of conspiracy. It is not going to help anybody. It’s not going to help your client, for instance. It really doesn’t help me either. We are looking into this, there may be a perfectly innocent explanation. I tend to go for the chaos theory before I go for the conspiracy theory and that is the right way to approach things, Mr Harty.”

Mr Harty said he wasn’t trying to accuse anyone of any conspiracy but suggested that Mr Kenny should have made a statement to the tribunal. He also called for Mr Kenny to give evidence to the tribunal.

At that point, Mr Harty asked for time to speak with Mr Harrison to take instructions from him.

Judge Charleton said:

I tend to wonder at the amount of heat and emotion being generated in relation to this, Mr Harty, and I am not happy about it…  No, Mr Harty, I really am not happy about it. I mean, I think it’s the duty of counsel to pursue matters in accordance with what he regards as being important to the case, not necessarily to take instructions in relation to what counsel is to do on a matter.”

Judge Charleton and Mr Harty then had the following exchange:

Harty: “…My client was accused and asked, in fact by the Chair of the Tribunal, how he came to the conclusion that there were people outside the Donegal division who were running this conspiracy about him. This is directly relevant to a question that the Chair of this Tribunal put in incredulous terms to my client in the witness-box.”

Charleton: Mr Harty, I am now under attack.

Harty: No, sir.

Charleton: No, I am under attack and I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s fair to impugn the integrity of the person whose job it is to actually find the truth in relation to this matter. Now, I think what we ought to do is, I think you are right, we ought to adjourn for a number of minutes so that calm perhaps will return.”

Following a brief adjournment, Judge Charleton spoke for around 10 minutes before adjourning.

He said:

“All right. I think I need to say something now. I was asked to do this Tribunal in February of this year and indeed we started hearings I think in June and continued on through July. But the very first thing that I did was that I sat alone without the advice of counsel, apart from Ms. Leader, who was on board at that stage, and I made a statement in the two official languages of the State asking for cooperation, and in particular, thinking, perhaps naively, that this was going to be the most efficient tribunal that had been run for a number of years, I asked for people who actually knew things relevant to the terms of reference to write to the Tribunal and tell us what they knew.

“Now, some people did. Appreciating as well that as time goes on, certain issues crystallise as being of importance, if you like, a pivot in a case, it has been pretty clear, it seems to me, for the last couple of weeks that one of the important pivots in this case from which something perhaps might be made in terms of the book being thrown at Garda Harrison in consequence of the statement made on 6th October, was the 8th October 2013 meeting.

“Now, I, of course, have no idea as to whether there was a decision to throw the book at Garda Keith Harrison or if that happened, whether it was unjustifiable in the context. Just as, at this stage, having heard some of the evidence, I have absolutely no idea until we come to the end of matters and the matter has been considered as to how the statement on 6th October 2013 was taken, or indeed as to the veracity or otherwise of that statement in the context of the events that stretched back at that point about three years but focusing in particular on events which occurred in April, August and on the 28th September and on other dates.

“But it has been completely clear, as I said, that this conference on 8th October 2013, when there was a reference to GSOC under section 102 of the Garda Act, which refers to death or serious injury to a person, was made, and where also there was a reference to Tusla/HSE authorities, and, following on, it seems, later, where there was a reference indeed to discipline and also the start of a criminal investigation, was a serious and a pivotal point. Now, I know that. The Garda Commissioner is represented here, they know that.

“And today, for the first time, we have a reference to Assistant Commissioner Kenny somehow being consulted in relation to this and B Branch being consulted in relation to this, that is to say Superintendent O’Loughlin [sic]. There should have been reference to that in the statement, I believe, of Chief Superintendent McGinn, possibly – if he remembered it – in Superintendent McGovern’s own statement, I don’t know, but it’s not there, and we should also have had, in consequence of what the Tribunal asked for in February, a statement from Assistant Commissioner Kenny relevant to this and a statement from B Branch relevant to this, and we don’t. And we should have had.

“Now, that’s not the Tribunal’s fault. The Tribunal has asked for these things and, frankly, I can think at the moment of no excuse why they haven’t happened. I mentioned earlier in dialogue with Mr Harty, who has properly drawn this to my attention, that of course during the course of cases, be they criminal or civil, from time to time documents crop up and quite often perhaps in the past, courts in this country have made too much in relation to them.

“Now, whether it be the case that it is possible to say that a conspiracy in relation to Garda Harrison was widely promulgated as and of the meeting of 8th of October, whether it went back to an earlier date or not, again I have no idea but that certainly has been the focus of inquiries over the course of the last two to three weeks, and therefore, this matter is actually of importance. So what happened here in relation to this document?

“Well, Mr [Conor] Power has said that this particular diary entry was given to the Tribunal in June. One of the difficulties that we have is that until such time as things are actually typed up, that they are not searchable on our computer system.

“…  We seem to have had this document, but I am having inquiries made overnight, and I don’t know why it didn’t come up, but, again, I can’t find that out in the course of the last 15 to 20 minutes, but certainly a complaint in relation to it is valid. So now the question is, what can I do in relation to it.

“Well, the duty that is cast on me, and on me alone, in relation to this matter, by the Oireachtas, is to investigate contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and Tusla in relation to Garda Keith Harrison. Now, a reference was made to Tusla, that is to say a formal reference, in consequence of this conference of the 8th of October 2013. As to what the motivation of the Garda Síochána was, is, of course, important, very important.

“We have heard from the Tusla witnesses, but we are not yet finished hearing from the Garda Síochána witnesses, and I don’t know where the evidence is going to go. What is certain to me is that this should have been referred to, and I have said this earlier, possibly in Superintendent McGovern’s statement – I am not going to ascribe blame to anybody at this stage – probably in Chief Superintendent McGinn’s statement. It’s not there referenced.

“And in addition to that, I am absolutely certain that the Garda Commissioner, in consequence of this Tribunal asking for their assistance as and from February, should have caused a statement to be taken in relation to this from Assistant Commissioner Kenny and from Superintendent O’Loughlin [sic].

“So what I am going to do now is the following: Firstly, I am going to adjourn overnight because we have to. Secondly, I am going to make inquiries as to this document and as to whether there is anything else that could possibly be there in handwriting that might be referable. Now, that search is going to be made.

“And, in addition, I am requiring Assistant Commissioner Kenny to have a statement available to the Tribunal at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and Superintendent O’Loughlin of B Branch in Garda Headquarters to have a statement available to the Tribunal at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and I am also asking for an additional statement from Chief Superintendent McGinn in relation to this particular issue. And although it’s interrupting the evidence of Superintendent Eugene McGovern, Superintendent McGovern, who is now giving evidence, I am going to ask him if he has a recollection in consequence of this to make an additional statement.

“Can I just emphasise one thing, please, and that is this: As I said to Mr Harty when he made the submissions, which have properly drawn attention to this matter, I tend to go for the conspiracy theory only when the chaos theory has been outruled, but this is not a case of the Tribunal now ascribing blame to anybody, but it is a case of the Tribunal blowing figuratively a bugle as loud as it possibly can to ask people to just wake up and start helping us, and, in blowing that bugle, I am not saying that there has been any concealment, any deviousness, any conspiracy, but what I am saying is that things could have been done a lot better and they ought to be done now.

“Now, in the event that things aren’t available to me at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, it may be necessary for me to say something else. For the moment, that is all I am going to say, and I am not going to hear any submissions now, and I am going to sit again at 10 o’clock in the morning.”

At that point, Mr Power SC, for Supt McGinn attempted to clarify the name of Superintendent McLoughlin – as opposed to O’Loughlin – with Judge Charleton.

But Judge Charleton simply said “no” and left the room.

Separately.

Readers may also wish to note that Assistant Commissioner Kenny has previously given evidence in relation to matters concerning Sgt Maurice McCabe and Tusla.

The tribunal heard he forwarded the false rape allegation, recorded against Sgt McCabe, to the office of the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan on May 16, 2014, despite being aware that the incorrect allegation was wholly different to the allegation that was made in 2006, and subsequently dismissed in 2007.

As he passed it on to Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Kenny didn’t advise her that the allegation was different to that of 2006.

In addition, the tribunal has heard how Mr Kenny did later receive a corrected referral from Tusla on May 20, 2014 but never forwarded this on to Ms O’Sullivan.

Det Supt Frank Walsh, who worked as private secretary to the commissioner until last year, told the tribunal in the summer that the false allegation against Sgt McCabe was still on file in the Commissioner’s office until the tribunal began earlier this year.

The tribunal continues.

Previously: Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

‘I Didn’t Exclude Him, I Just Didn’t Include Him’

Rollingnews

Garda Keith Harrison and Marissa Simms at the Disclosures Tribunal this morning

This afternoon.

The Disclosures Tribunal is continuing and Garda Keith Harrison is continuing to give evidence.

Garda Harrison is involved in the tribunal as he claims he has been targeted by senior officers and that Tusla social workers were “brought into the equation due to the manipulation of his situation and the extraction of an unfair and untrue series of allegations of serious domestic misconduct by his domestic partner“.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, who is overseeing the proceedings, is specifically looking at the tribunal’s term of reference ‘n’ – which is “to investigate contacts between members of An Garda Siochana and TUSLA in relation to Garda Keith Harrison”.

It follows a visit made by social worker Donna McTeague in February 2014 to the home of Ms Simms and Garda Harrison in Donegal in which Ms McTeague spoke with the children in the home – a visit which the couple claims has had a profound effect on them.

Both Ms Simms and Garda Harrison have told the tribunal that they have no issue with Ms McTeague.

Further to this.

Garda Keith Harrison and Marissa Simms received a letter from Tulsa on February 2, 2014, in which Tusla requested a meeting with Ms Simms and Garda Harrison.

The couple met with Tusla members on February 7; there was a follow-up phone call on February 14 to confirm a home visit; and the home visit took place on February 19, 2014.

The events with Tusla came several weeks after Ms Simms withdrew her 38-page statement on January 11, 2014 – made to gardai during an 8.5-hour interview, on October 6, 2013 – in which it’s recorded that she said Garda Harrison threatened to burn her.

Ms Simms has since told the tribunal: “He never threatened to burn me. Ever.”

Ms Simms also told the tribunal that, when she was withdrawing her statement, Inspector Goretti Sheridan, who took Ms Simms’ statement along with Sgt Brigid McGowan, told her a story about another unnamed couple.

Ms Simms alleged: “She said, they had a row in front of their children and now social services are involved in these children’s lives and I can’t guarantee you that won’t happen to you.”

When Inspector Sheridan gave evidence in relation to this allegation, she said: “No, I did not, no way did I say that to Marissa.”

In a statement to the tribunal, about the February 2 letter, Marissa Simms said she “had no idea what this was for and assumed it was the doing of the gardaí in Letterkenny, because I took back the statement, and as suggested what would happen by Goretti Sheridan, social services were getting involved”.

When giving evidence, Ms Simms repeated that she assumed the arrival of the letter from Tusla was because she retracted her statement. So, it was suggested to her that maybe it was the case that she did know what the letter was about.

She said: “I had an idea, yes.”

In relation to the initial meeting on February 7, Ms Simms said in her statement to the tribunal: “Ms McTeague explained that she dealt with families where children were at immediate risk but was confused as to her role in this instance as the incident occurred over four months previously.”

The tribunal has heard Ms McTeague has said she was never confused and never said this.

In her statement, Ms Simms said: “Before we [Keith and Marissa] left McTeague told us she didn’t think we would hear from her again, that she would be reporting to her team leader. No further action was necessary.”

“We left with mixed emotions, relieved that because that was the end of the matter, angry we had to go through that.”

In relation to the follow-up call made by Ms McTeague to arrange a home visit, Ms Simms, in her statement, said: “I was astounded and upset when I received a call from Donna McTeague. She apologised and stated that her team leader had been contacted by the guards and, as a result, she now had to do a house visit.”

While giving evidence, Judge Charleton specifically asked Ms Simms about her claim that Ms McTeague told her on the phone that she had to do a house visit because Tusla had been contacted by the guards.

Ms Simms said: “She didn’t say directly we have been contacted by the guards, no.”

She later said: “I’m just saying that she rang and said that she would have to do a house visit because of a direction she had been given by her superior.”

Judge Charleton asked: “Nothing to do with the Gardaí?”

Ms Simms replied: “No.”

She later said it was her “assumption” that the gardai had been in contact with TUSLA after she withdrew her statement.

The tribunal heard that in a statement to the tribunal, Ms McTeague wrote:

I did not say my team leader had been contacted by the guards and, as a result, I had to do a home visit. The decision to undertake a home visit in any case for the purposes of completing an initial assessment is based on the need to ensure children’s voices and views are sought, observed and recorded in our assessments.

“In this case, it was my view, based on the information I had at the time of meeting with Ms. Simms and Garda Harrison, that there were likely no ongoing child welfare/child protection concerns. However, I added that I may need to visit the children. Both Ms. Simms and Garda Harrison agreed. Following discussion with my team leader, it was agreed I would, in fact, complete the home visit, meet the children, and if no new issues arising, the case would be closed.”

Meanwhile.

At the Disclosures Tribunal today.

Garda Keith Harrison is continuing to give evidence.

The claims made about what Ms McTeague did or did not say have been put to him.

Judge Charleton set out three specific questions to Garda Harrison. He asked:

Was he saying that, at the end of the meeting on February 7, that, as far as everyone was concerned, a home visit was unlikely.

Garda Harrison said: Yes

Judge Charleton also asked was Garda Harrison saying that, somehow, gardai manipulated a situation that gave rise to a “change of plan” resulting in a home visit.

Garda Harrison said: Yes.

Judge Charleton also asked was Garda Harrison saying that the change in the mind of Tusla was affected by the gardai for malicious reasons against him.

Garda Harrison said: Yes.

Following on from this.

Patrick, Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, read out excerpts from an affidavit that Garda Harrison lodged in High Court on May 15, 2015, regarding claims made about Ms McTeague.

These include the claim that Ms McTeague was confused about why she was meeting with Ms Simms and Garda Harrison on February 7, 2014.

As mentioned above, the tribunal has heard Ms McTeague has said this is not true.

The affidavit also includes the claim that Ms McTeague said she might have to meet the children but that it’s unlikely – however this has also been refuted by Ms McTeague.

In relation to the claim that Ms McTeague told Ms Simms over the phone that she had to make a home visit because of contact with the gardai, Garda Harrison said he was standing by this claim.

Judge Charleton intervened to point out that, in his statement to the tribunal, Garda Harrison was ascribing words to Ms McTeague and inferring that he heard Ms McTeague say them.

He asked Garda Harrison if she said them and if she didn’t, why was he ascribing them to her.

Garda Harrison admitted that he did not speak to her directly and that this was information relayed to him by Ms Simms.

Mr Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, pointed out that, nowhere in either his statement to the tribunal or in his affidavit did he make it clear that this information came from Ms Simms and that he didn’t have direct knowledge.

Garda Harrison told the tribunal: “I am in no doubt that this was said to me.”

Mr Marrinan accused Garda Harrison of tailoring his evidence.

Garda Harrison responded: “No, I’m not tailoring anything.”

Garda Harrison has also claimed in his statement to the tribunal, and in his affidavit, that, during the home visit, Ms McTeague said her team leader Bridgeen Smyth was close to Sgt Brigid McGowan from Letterkenny Garda Station.

The tribunal has heard that Ms McTeague has said: “At no point in time did I ever make reference to any relationship or otherwise between Sgt McGowan and Bridgeen Smith in my discussions with Marissa Simms or Keith Harrison.”

She also said her belief is that their relationship is purely professional.

Garda Harrison told the tribunal that Ms Simms told him that Ms McTeague said that.

He told the tribunal: “There was certainly mention of that to Marissa. I’ve no doubt about that.”

However, he conceded he wasn’t in the presence of the two women when this allegedly discussed as they were in another room while he was with the children in the sitting room.

Asked how he could make this claim in his affidavit and statement, he said: “Because it was a result of a direct conversation I had with Marissa afterwards.”

Garda Harrison added: “I’m satisfied I was told the truth.”

The tribunal continues.

Previously: Meanwhile, At The Disclosures Tribunal

Garda Keith Harrison and Marissa Simms

The Disclosures Tribunal resumed on Monday in Dublin Castle.

This section of the tribunal does not pertain to Sgt Maurice McCabe but, instead, to Garda Keith Harrison.

Readers will recall how Garda Harrison, who was previously stationed in Athlone, claims he first raised his suspicions that a garda was involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in November 2008 but that nothing happened on foot of making his suspicions known.

Garda Harrison later arrested this same garda for drink-driving in June 2009 and claims his working life has been made difficult ever since.

This section of the tribunal is expected to run until around October 3.

Specifically, Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, who is overseeing the proceedings, is currently tasked with investigating the tribunal’s term of reference ’n’ – which is “to investigate contacts between members of An Garda Siochana and TUSLA in relation to Garda Keith Harrison”.

This arises out of a visit made by social worker Donna McTeague to Garda Harrison and his partner’s home in Donegal in which Ms McTeague spoke with the children in the home in early 2014.

According to the tribunal’s opening statement, Garda Harrision and his partner claim that this visit had “profound effects” on them both.

Continue Reading

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From top: Garda Keith Harrison; Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan

You may recall Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison whose allegations will be looked at as part of the Charleton Inquiry.

He’s been on sick leave from Donegal Town Garda Station since May 2014.

He was on partial pay (33%) from May 2014 until September 2015 but has not received any pay from An Garda Siochana since September 2015.

Garda Harrison is going back to work on Monday, following mediation talks this week which were chaired by the former head of the Workplace Relations Commission Kieran Mulvey.

The mediation talks, which focussed on returning to work and the payment of arrears, followed a report on RTÉ’s This Week last weekend concerning Garda Harrison.

The report effectively explained how, in late January of this year, Garda Harrison was ordered to return to work in Donegal Town Garda Station – despite a series of Garda-commissioned medical assessments recommending that Garda Harrison not be returned to the station where he had previously worked.

Some more details about these reports:

In September 2014, Garda Keith Harrison met Dr Oghenovo Oghuvbu, who was a specialist occupational physician with the Garda Occupational Health Department at the time.

On October 6, 2014, Dr Oghuvbu wrote a report to the Executive Director Human Resources and People Development at An Garda Síochána John Barrett, about Garda’s Harrison.

In his report, Dr Oghuvby stated that he believed Garda Harrison’s illness could have been born out of a work-related environment and that he would be fit to return to work, on the basis that a safe work environment would be provided for him.

He wrote:

“[Garda Harrison] continues to experience some impairment in his sense of well-being. This is particularly in respect of his returning to his current workplace (Donegal division) while the investigation is ongoing. This is also of concern to his treating clinical physicians.”

Dr Oghuvbu also required an “urgent case conference” in relation to Garda Harrison’s return to work that would encompass local Garda management, staff from Garda human resources and the Chief Medical Officer.

It’s understood this case conference did not take place and it’s unclear how Garda management actually responded to Dr Oghuvbu’s call for an “urgent case conference”.

In November 2016, the Garda’s Assistant Chief Medical Officer Dr Richard Quigley met with Garda Harrison.

Dr Quigley carried out a more in-depth assessment of Garda Harrison and determined that Garda Harrison should return to work and that his issues or illnesses were related to the work environment.

Specifically, Dr Quigley wrote to Garda human resources, stating:

“Given work circumstances, which are well known to management, I consider it prudent if consideration is given to Garda Harrison being assigned to duties in a station other than his previous location.

In addition, Dr Quigley recommended that Garda Harrison be seen by an independent specialist.

In turn, the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan commissioned a report from Dr Patrick Devitt, a Dublin-based consultant psychiatrist.

In January, 2017, as the commissioned independent specialist, Dr Devitt stated that Garda Harrison’s injuries were born out of his workplace environment and that he firmly agreed with Dr Quigley’s recommendation for Garda Harrison to return to work.

But it was also stipulated that Garda Harrison should not be returned to the station he previously worked in.

Garda Harrison only obtained details of these three reports, and their findings, last Friday – days before the This Week report and the mediation talks earlier this week.

Had Garda Harrison and his legal team not had sight of these reports – in which the Garda’s own medical assessments state his illness was work-related and that it was recommended he be placed somewhere other than Donegal Town – it may have been difficult for him to argue for a placement other than Donegal Town station.

If An Garda Siochana insisted that he still had to go to Donegal Town station, this would have contradicted the advice given to them by their own medical assessments.

It should also be noted that Garda Harrison and his team continuously looked for these reports since 2014 but didn’t get anywhere with their requests.

At the mediation talks, during which the chief superintendent involved sat in another room, Garda Harrison did eventually get permission to go to a station other than Donegal Town station.

However, on the matter of pay, and getting paid in arrears for the time he’s been on sick leave, An Garda Siochana did not budge – despite their own reports stating he was out because of work-related issues.

Also.

Garda Harrison’s legal team was told by mediator Kieran Mulvey that Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan will “face down” any complaints and had the support of every garda in the Donegal division.

A Garda press officer said the force does not comment on “remarks by other parties” but denied the Commissioner had ever made such a statement.

Previously: A Breathtaking Timeline

Listen to the This Week report in full here

Rollingnews, Irish Mirror

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 01.54.50

Solicitor Trevor Collins and Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins spoke to Miriam O’Callaghan about how Keith was also the subject of a referral to Tusla over a false abuse allegation.

From the interview…

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Garda [Keith] Harrison. Now, he too, I just want to read this to get it right. He was the subject of a referral to Tusla over abuse allegations that were later found to be untrue.”

Trevor Collins: “That is correct. It was a very, very disturbing and worrisome development for Keith Harrison and his partner, Marisa. As you can imagine the fact that someone is referred to Tusla – no matter what stage or what capacity in life, or office they hold – it is, by any measure, a disturbing, and something that would devastate a family and it had that effect on Keith and Marisa where they were, without any notice, invited to meet with Tusla, at a formal meeting, in the Tusla offices. And that came to them out of the blue.”

“It was, they were told during that meeting that they had no issue and no case to answer. That caused untold stress, upset, anguish. She worries, as a mother that someone is watching them.”

O’Callaghan: “I would assume Tusla would say they only went along and investigated and spoke to everybody because this complaint or allegation had been made.”

Collins: “That is fair and, to be fair, Keith and Marisa would be the first to say that the social workers from Tusla who visited their home, who then met with, were more than accommodating, understanding. The individuals who visited and conducted this investigation themselves, appeared to suggest to Keith – and this is in Keith and Marisa’s view – that they could see no reason why they were doing what they had to do but they were being told and that they had to carry out this duty.

O’Callaghan: “Now, in the end, they were found to be completely untrue, these allegations, isn’t that correct?”

Collins: “Absolutely, untrue. And there was no justification for this and no case to answer by anyone.”

O’Callaghan: “Now, Keith Harrison did try to make contact with the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, didn’t he?”

Collins:Keith Harrison has been writing continuously since June 2014, to the minister, about the issues he has suffered. He has brought, to her attention, the efforts – as he sees it – by senior management of An Garda Siochana to smear him, to destroy his credibility, to undermine the very foundation that makes him a partner, the things that make a person, outside of their employment…I suppose, really, what I’m trying to explain to you, is, look, their fundamental being was being attacked.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: “The Similarities Cannot Be Ignored”

‘Why Are Nine Garda Whistleblowers Out Sick?’

Related: Second Garda whistleblower referred to Tusla (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

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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