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Tribunal completely rejects former Athlone Garda's allegations

Story by Adrian Cusack

Friday, 1st December, 2017 1:36pm

Tribunal completely rejects former Athlone Garda's allegations

Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms (Image: RTE News)

The Disclosures Tribunal has found that allegations it examined by former Athlone Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms were "entirely without any validity."

In an interim report published yesterday (Thursday) the tribunal concluded its investigation of contacts between An Garda Siochana and TUSLA, the child and family agency, in relation to Garda Harrison. 

In a statement issued on behalf of Garda Harrison this afternoon, he said he was "disappointed" with the tribunal's conclusions and vowed to continue with High Court proceedings against the Garda Commissioner, the Minister for Justice, and the Attorney General.    

Garda Harrison (37) is originally from county Galway. He began serving in Athlone in 2003 and was stationed in the town until 2011, when he transferred to Donegal at his request.  

The tribunal's work in relation to Garda Harrison focused solely on allegations relating to his time in Donegal. 

Garda Harrison and his partner alleged that other members of the force, and social workers, had acted in an illegal and corrupt manner to undermine their credibility and reputation because Garda Harrison "had been publicly identified as a whistleblower." 

The report by Mr Justice Peter Charleton’s found that the claims made by Garda Harrison and his partner had "simply collapsed" at the tribunal. 

"All of the allegations of Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms examined by the tribunal are entirely without any validity. They have claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so. They claimed to have been the victims of others. There is another side to this. 

"The allegations which they made must have taken a considerable emotional toll on several of the persons accused by them of very serious misconduct."

The judge said the Gardai in Donegal had "demonstrated seriousness and genuine concern in the context of domestic violence allegations."

"There was no break down in the Garda command structure. Instead, allegations were treated seriously, properly reported up the line and diligently pursued."

The judge said that "imposing and maintaining proper discipline" in the Gardai was "not the same as bullying or harassment."

He added that "no order given and no action taken by Gardai in relation to this matter was illegal or morally wrong, yet so very many reasonable and ordinary commands were routinely questioned."     

The report emphasised that conclusions reached in relation to Garda Harrison had "no impact on the tribunal's investigation into the issues concerning Sergeant Maurice McCabe. This is an entirely different matter."  

The report can be read in full here

UPDATE:

The statement issued this afternoon on behalf of Garda Harrison said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the conclusions of the Tribunal.

"Garda Harrison is disappointed with the conclusions of the Tribunal, these conclusions were anticipated from the outset given the views adopted in the opening statement and come as no surprise to him," said the statement.

"In light of his dealings with and attendance at the Tribunal, where one of the issues of concern was the refusal to pursue parties who withheld documents, he did not anticipate the Tribunal would support his views regarding the actions of An Garda Siochana. 

"Garda Harrison's proceedings against The Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, The Minister for Justice & Equality, Ireland and the Attorney General before the High Court will continue. 

"He is confident that upon his calling of all relevant witnesses and receiving full discovery of all relevant documentation, the High Court will reach different conclusions in respect of many matters contained in the report of the Tribunal.

"In view of the fact that those proceedings are ongoing it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage," concluded the statement.      

 

 

 

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