Thursday 22 August 2019

Tribunal to hear whistleblower was bullied over collusion claims

Garda alleged colleague was in relationship with drugs suspect

Keith Harrison
Keith Harrison
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Disclosures Tribunal is to investigate allegations a garda was bullied and harassed after blowing the whistle on a colleague's alleged sexual relationship with a suspected drug dealer.

The allegations by Garda Nicholas Keogh will be the first matter dealt with when it resumes hearings in June, tribunal counsel Diarmaid McGuinness revealed.

The cases of other, as yet unidentified, whistleblowers will be dealt with after the Keogh matter and the tribunal could run into 2020.

Details of Gda Keogh's allegations were not outlined when the tribunal met at Dublin Castle yesterday. But many of his claims have previously been disclosed in the Dáil.

Athlone-based Gda Keogh made allegations of Garda collusion with a drug-dealing operation in the midlands.

Among his claims is that a garda who was having a relationship with a female drug suspect tipped her off ahead of a search of her home in 2009.

Gda Keogh has also claimed gardaí coerced people with no prior convictions to procure drugs and sell them to undercover officers.

He alleges that after raising concerns he was subjected to harassment by senior gardaí who, he claims, unsuccessfully sought to manufacture complaints against him.

The retired judge overseeing the current and final module of the tribunal, Mr Justice Seán Ryan, made a short opening statement in which he said it was important to outline the limits of the inquiry.

He said the tribunal's focus was not on the wrongdoing outlined by gardaí in protected disclosures, but rather on how they were treated after making those disclosures.

The tribunal has previously investigated complaints made by former Sergeant Maurice McCabe and Gda Keith Harrison. In its latest module, it is considering complaints from gardaí made prior to February 16, 2017 that they were targeted or discredited with the knowledge or acquiescence of officers of superintendent rank or above after making protected disclosures.

Gda Harrison is likely to feature again in the current module, having alleged there was a campaign of intimidation against him after he arrested a colleague for drink driving.

He also says concerns he raised with superiors, that a garda may have been allowing the sale and supply of drugs in the Athlone area, fell on deaf ears.

Irish Independent

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