Monday 16 July 2018

Tusla and gardaí say they have 'no case to answer'

Garda Keith Harrison. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Garda Keith Harrison. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Gerard Cunningham

Lawyers for Tusla and gardaí have told the Charleton tribunal their clients have no case to answer in relation to complaints by whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison.

The lawyers were making their submissions at the end of the current module which is looking at contacts between gardaí and the HSE/Tusla relating to Gda Harrison.

Paul Anthony McDermott SC, on behalf of Tusla, said a letter sent to Children's Minister Katherine Zappone in February was intended to "attack and undermine the credibility, reputation and good standing" of his clients.

Mr McDermott said that when Gda Harrison's partner Marisa Simms came to give evidence to the tribunal under oath, she did not stand over the central allegation in the letter, that Tusla social workers were investigating her family because of pressure being applied by gardaí.

"This module of the tribunal was set up on the basis of an allegation that not only isn't true but wasn't stood over by the witness," Mr McDermott said.

He said the tribunal's terms of reference for the module were set up on the basis of a very specific allegation that wasn't true, and there was no evidence Tusla acted in anything other than a proper manner.

Micheál P O'Higgins SC, on behalf of the Garda Commissioner, said Garda officers acted properly and that there was no "campaign" against Gda Harrison.

The barrister said that if there had been malicious intent, there would have been an enthusiasm to discipline Gda Harrison, but that many things were let pass.

Mr O'Higgins said any troubles in Gda Harrison's domestic life were of his own making, and his relationship with Ms Simms was complicated and difficult in 2013.

Mark Harty SC, on behalf of Gda Harrison, said the search for documents by gardaí had been too limited in the search terms used, and asked the tribunal to conduct a "broader" search of all documents relating to Gda Harrison during the period August 2013 to March 2014.

Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the inquiry had examined 2,837 documents, a "mammoth undertaking".

He said he believed all the relevant information had been aired by tribunal counsel.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News