Monday 26 February 2018

Tribunal hears social worker not instructed to investigate whistleblower and partner

Harrison and Marisa Simms arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins
Harrison and Marisa Simms arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle. Photo: Gareth Chaney / Collins

Gerard Cunningham

A social worker has told the Charleton tribunal that she was not instructed by her line manager to investigate whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison and his partner or visit their family home.

Social worker Donna McTeague also said she did not tell Gda Harrison and his partner, Marisa Simms that she would not need to visit their home after an initial assessment with the couple following reports of child welfare issues in 2014.

Ms McTeague told the tribunal that she was satisfied there were no child welfare issues after meeting with Gda Harrison and Ms Simms in February 2014, but said that she would still need to visit the couple at home and see their children before closing out the file.

Ms McTeague, who was being cross examined by counsel for Gda Harrison, said she did not apologise to Gda Harrison and Ms Simms for having invited them to meet in her office.

"I didn't apologise for the work that I was doing, I didn't apologise for inviting them into my office." Ms Simms said.

"I don't apologise for my role or for doing my job," she said.

Ms Simms said she was not acting under pressure from superiors or An Garda Siochana at any time.

A garda complaint by Ms Simms in October 2013, which alleged that Gda Harrison threatened her in front of one of her children, was notified to the HSE (later Tusla) by Sgt Brigid McGowan. Ms Simms later withdrew the complaint.

Ms McTeague said that after meeting with Gda Harrison and Ms Simms in her office, she was satisfied "that they had insight and understanding into what had happened."

Mr Mark Harty SC, appearing for Gda Harrison, said that his client made no personal criticism of Ms McTeague.

The tribunal, which is chaired by Mr Justice Peter Charleton, continues this afternoon.

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