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