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Thursday 14 December 2017

Gardai created 'profile' of garda whistleblower, fresh documents reveal

Garda chief Noirin O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins
Garda chief Noirin O’Sullivan. Photo: Collins

Rebecca Lumley

Gardaí created a “profile” report of a prominent whistleblower shortly after he complained about alleged mismanagement in the force, according to documents released to RTE’s This Week.

The profile of Garda Keith Harrison was brought to light as part of a heavily redacted email sent to Mr Harrison’s solicitors as part of a large volume of documents released under a data protection request made by the legal team.

According to Mr Harrison’s solicitor, a profile is generally only created when an individual is a suspect in a criminal or gang-related crime, or become of interest to the gardaí.

Speaking to RTE, Mr Harrison’s solicitor Trevor Collins said it was “unheard of” that a serving garda would be subject to profiling.

He said they would raise the issue directly with Mr Justice Peter Charleton, who was appointed to look into the claims that senior management were aware of targeted campaigns against whistleblowers in the force.

Mr Collins described his understanding of a profile as: “A document where they create a profile of a person where they are targeting a suspect, that is a criminal akin to someone who is in gangland crime, of that nature, where they want to know this person's background, investigate every aspect of their lives, family, associates, movements, accounts, social welfare interactions, every layer of their life is investigated, information is compiled".

He said Garda Harrison’s knowledge was that compilation of a garda profile document typically involved knowledge at a high level of the force, with collaboration of local and national intelligence units.

This comes months after another Garda whistleblower, Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe, alleged that he had been the subject of a dedicated profiling and surveillance operation.

The former head of the force’s press office, Superintendent David taylor, has also alleged that whistleblowers were targeted. These allegations will form the basis of Charleston’s inquiry. 

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

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