Monday 19 August 2019

Garda probe into bullying complaint after seven months

Stock photo
Stock photo

Alan O'Keeffe

An assistant Garda commissioner will head an internal investigation into allegations that Garda whistleblower Nicky Keogh was the target of harassment after he reported concerns of serious criminality within the force.

The whistleblower's solicitor, John Gerard Cullen, told RTÉ's 'This Week' programme that his client wants to know why it took seven months for his complaint to get to the investigative stage.

The RTÉ programme reported yesterday that Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn has been put in charge of the investigation recently, and that he has informed a number of senior gardaí they will have to address the claims made by Gda Keogh.

Last month, Mr Cullen told 'This Week' that Gda Keogh had no idea what had happened regarding a bullying complaint he had lodged six months earlier.

The RTÉ report stated that the head of Garda human resources, John Barrett, took over responsibility for the case last month, after it came to his attention.

Mr Barrett reportedly wrote to the Policing Authority, which oversees promotions in the force, in which he repeated a question raised by Gda Keogh about whether it was possible a bullying complaint against a senior garda could have been suppressed to conceal it from the authority.

Gda Keogh, who has a distinguished record with the force, has made allegations about collusion within the force, with a Midlands drugs gang.

He also made a bullying claim in March.

According to documents seen by RTÉ, Mr Barrett was reported to have asked the CEO of the Policing Authority if she had any knowledge about whether a bullying investigation could have been "lost" or delayed, in order to permit a senior Garda officer, who was accused of bullying, from having to answer questions as part of the promotions process.

Mr Cullen wrote to senior Garda management and the Policing Authority to ask why there has been no obvious development in the bullying and harassment case.

When asked by this newspaper last night to comment on the reports, a Garda spokesperson said: "It is our policy not to comment on complaints of this nature made by individual members of An Garda Síochána nor on any internal investigation that may occur as a result of such complaints."

Irish Independent

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