Saturday 22 July 2017

Garda whistleblower was subject of 'profile report' by fellow officers

Whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor said a profile report was compiled about his client.
Photo: Rollingnews.ie
Whistleblower Keith Harrison’s solicitor said a profile report was compiled about his client. Photo: Rollingnews.ie

Ian Begley

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison was the subject of a profile report soon after he complained about misconduct in the force - something that would be "unheard of" in relation to a serving officer, it has been claimed.

Gda Harrison's solicitor, Trevor Collins, said his client's profile came to light following a data protection request which also included a large volume of new documents.

The solicitor said a profile report is normally created when an individual is a suspect in crime, where gardaí want to investigate "every aspect of their lives, family, associates, movements, accounts, social welfare interactions".

The Donegal-based garda and his partner claim to be the victims of a five-year intimidation campaign after arresting a fellow officer for drink-driving in Athlone in 2009.

Mr Collins, of Kilfeather and Co solicitors, said it was "unheard of" that a serving garda would be subject to profiling.

According to RTÉ's 'This Week', he wrote directly to Mr Justice Peter Charleton, who is responsible for investigating claims that members of senior Garda management were aware of orchestrated campaigns against garda whistleblowers.

Application

The Galway-based solicitor also intends to make an application to the High Court to seek the release of the full profile report in an effort to find out who ordered its creation, what its contents were, and to whom it was circulated.

Labour TD Alan Kelly last night said: "The revelation that there is a Garda 'Profile' file on serving garda and whistleblower Keith Harrison is quite astonishing.

"There are a huge amount of questions to be asked as a result of this revelation."

He asked whether the file was still in existence, "and are gardaí still gathering intelligence on Gda Harrison, his family and associates - even though he is a serving garda and is part of the Charleton inquiry?"

Mr Kelly added: "How can Gda Harrison be expected to continue working in the Garda knowing this profile exists on him and not knowing whether it was ever closed?

"Is he currently under surveillance?"

Gda Harrison has been on sick leave since 2014 and without pay since 2015.

In April, it emerged that, despite warnings from the Garda medical officer, Keith Harrison was instructed in writing on January 20 to return to Donegal Town garda station.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan has said she was unaware of any targeting of Garda whistleblowers.

Irish Independent

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