Saturday 18 November 2017

Confirmed: 'Inappropriate contact' between Tusla and gardai, evidence of other whistleblowers among areas covered by inquiry

Watch Dáil proceedings live as motion on establishment of a tribunal inquiry takes place

From left to right: Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe
From left to right: Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe

Brian Hutton, Press Association

A PUBLIC inquiry into allegations that Garda chiefs orchestrated a smear campaign against a high-profile whistleblower has been extended to cover other officers who exposed wrongdoing.

The tribunal will also investigate the State child and family agency Tusla for its role in the scandal, relating to its file containing false allegations of sexual abuse against Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

In terms of reference, agreed by the Cabinet, the inquiry will also look at allegations of "inappropriate contacts" between the force and Tusla in relation to garda Keith Harrison and other officers.

It will investigate any "pattern of the creation, distribution and use by Tusla of files containing allegations of criminal misconduct" against rank and file gardai who alleged wrongdoing in the force and of the use of the files "knowingly" by top brass to discredit whistleblowers.

Supreme Court judge Peter Charleton, who will head the tribunal, will have to issue an interim report within three months.

He previously worked as senior counsel to the Morris Tribunal, which spent years examining corruption and negligence among some gardai in Donegal in the 1990s.

Superintendent Dave Taylor made the allegation of a smear campaign against Mr McCabe in a protected disclosure last year.

He returned to work on Tuesday after being suspended for almost two years while a separate investigation ran into the alleged leaking of information to the media.

Mr Harrison, who has been on extended sick leave from the force, claims he and his girlfriend endured covert and overt Garda surveillance, referrals to Tusla and that they were the victim of rumour, innuendo and malicious falsehoods.

The officer, who was previously nominated for a Scott Medal for bravery, was stationed in Athlone when he stopped a colleague on suspicion of drink-driving in 2009.

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison (holding his daughter) and his partner Marissa Simms going into Leinster House for meetings yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke
Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison (holding his daughter) and his partner Marissa Simms going into Leinster House for meetings yesterday. Photo: Tom Burke

He also raised concerns about drug-dealing investigations.

More to follow

Online Editors

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