A former Athlone garda has been named as the latest whistleblower in the Dáil today by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty.
During a debate on the Guerin Report, the Donegal-based TD claimed that Gda Keith Harrison had been victimised after arresting a colleague who had been drink driving while he was stationed in Athlone.
“Over a month ago I was contacted by a serving member of An Garda Siochána who relayed to me very disturbing allegations in relation to garda practices in the Westmeath division, but not exclusive to that division. I subsequently met with him and have had a number of phone conversations with him since,” the TD told the Dáil today.
He continued: “On the day that former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter resigned he called me and he told me as a result of that resignation he had more confidence in the confidential recipient process and was going to arrange to meet with him. That meeting took place today. Gda Keith Harrison claims that as a result of arresting a member of the drugs unit in Athlone for drunk driving that garda management maliciously set about targeting him, while the arresting garda was afforded protection by garda management”.
The guard, now based in Donegal, also alleges that a management review of his high work returns and practices was instigated and persons with past interactions with him in the execution of his duties were invited by gardai to make complaints against him.
“He claims that during this period from September, 2009 until March, 2011 that he was officebound, while the garda that he arrested who had been found with high concentration of alcohol was still driving official vehicles and carrying an official firearm.
“Gda Harrison makes serious claims about how the drunk driving case was struck out in court on dubious rulings and how evidence relating to the case was stolen by a member of the gardai. He also claims that a member of the gardai of officer rank stationed in the Westmeath district prevented successful prosecutions in a number of cases,” Pearse Doherty stated today.
At a meeting attended on Monday by another Athlone whistleblower, Gda Nicky Keogh, and former garda John Wilson, the TD said he was given copies of sworn affadavits by both officers.
“Gda Harrison claims that he had suspicions about a member working in the drugs unit who may have been knowingly allowing the sale and supply of drugs in the Athlone district, and he raised this with management but he claims that it fell on deaf ears.
“At that meeting I was also presented with a written record of a meeting between Gda Nicky Keogh and a civilian who has come forward in recent days who corroborates the claims that have been made by Gda Keogh of heroin dealing and a member of the gardai,” the Donegal TD stated.
He concluded: “Where there is wrong it must be rooted out, where there is cover-up the truth must come to the surface and where whistleblowers come forward they must be protected.”