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Another garda whistleblower says Tusla investigation also opened in his case

Keith Harrison issued a very strongly worded statement today.

Image: RollingNews.ie

GARDA WHISTLEBLOWER KEITH Harrison has demanded his case be included in the just-announced Tribunal to be held into allegations that a smear campaign was waged against Maurice McCabe.

He also alleged that Tusla opened up an investigation into the wellbeing of his family after he raised issues within the police force.

In a statement issued through his solicitors this afternoon, Harrison – whose story has been raised numerous times in the Dáil – called for “truth and justice”.

“We have been writing to the Tánaiste, in her capacity as Minister for Justice, continuously since June 2014 to bring our concerns to her attention, but we never received a response that gave us hope,” he wrote with his partner Marisa Simms.

Harrison, in his statement, said he suffered whistleblower reprisal for “speaking out about malpractice within the force”.

In doing so, they tried to discredit me, and also reported ‘concerns’ regarding the wellbeing of my partner’s children, leading to a Tusla investigation, which revealed no risk whatsoever.

He added that contrary to statements issued by Frances Fitzgerald and Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, he did not receive support and encouragement.

“We have lost complete confidence in the ability of both to address our concerns and bring our living hell to an end,” the pair continues.

Harrison claims that the incidents of alleged black propaganda contained in the protected disclosures of Superintendent David Taylor and McCabe are “not isolated”.

He says the treatment of his family included:

  • Unwarranted and prolonged overt and covert surveillance;
  • Victimisation and bullying;
  • Intimidation and harassment levelled at family members;
  • Referrals to Tusla;
  • Dissemination of rumour, innuendo and malicious falsehoods to members of the media, politicians and garda colleagues;
  • Deliberate frustration of Gsoc’s investigation of disclosures;
  • Disciplinary action and threat of criminal action.

His story

Harrison was stationed in Athlone, Westmeath in 2009 when he arrested a fellow officer – another member of the drugs unit – for drink-driving.

Subsequently, he was confined to desk work for two years and eventually sought a transfer to Buncrana in Donegal.

Speaking about Harrison’s case last June, Clare Daly told the Dáil: “During that time, this serving garda, who lives down a boreen in Donegal, 25km away from the nearest garda station had a patrol car at his house twenty times between January and May.

He has also had his post opened. If he had been suspended from duty he would be on full pay. He has been out sick because of the stress of the situation and his pay has been reduced.

In December 2015, Deputy Mick Wallace also raised Harrison’s case.

“He made his complaint in May 2014,” he told the Dáil.

“The case has gone on for so long that he is no longer getting any pay from An Garda Síochána. He is on social welfare. After he made his complaint, the garda initiated proceedings against him, dragged in a domestic, family matter and made dirt of the individual.

Will anyone be answerable for how he has been treated?  It is a given that this man will be proven correct in the long term. The Minister must realise that. In the meantime, some of the gardaí he complained about are suspended on full pay in Athlone and the midlands area. I understand that is the normal process.

“However the whistleblower is getting no money from An Garda Síochána because of how things have been dragged out.”

Mentioning him again during Leaders’ Questions today, the Wexford TD added:

“Nóirín O’Sullivan talked yesterday of a campaign of false accusations against her. Is she saying that Maurice McCabe was lying?

Is she saying that David Taylor, Keith Harrison, Nick Keogh, Sinéad Killian, Eve Doherty, Donal O’Connell and others are all liars?

“If she genuinely did not know how whistleblowers were treated, she is not fit for the job because she did not know what was going on in the force.”

Today, Harrison said he is coming forward publicly to ensure the current attitude towards whistleblowers comes to an end.

“I did not become a whistleblower lightly, given the devastating effect it has had on our family,” the statement continues.

“Whistleblowers are a fundamental part of any organisation and should be encouraged and supported to do the right thing without fear or favour, otherwise they will not come forward into the future.”

He believes that as his and Sergeant McCabe’s stories bear similarities, restricting the tribunal to just one story, will allow An Garda Síochána be ‘forever tainted’ by the results of ‘an orchestrated system and culture’.

Harrison concluded the statement: “I demand that my case be included in any Inquiry/Commission of Investigation by the government and political establishment. We will not rest until this happens.”

The gardaí and the Department of Justice have been approached for comment but none was forthcoming at time of publication. Tusla told TheJournal.ie that it does not comment on individual cases.

“This is to protect the privacy and wellbeing of the children and families with whom we work. Tusla screens and assesses all child protection concerns received in line with ‘Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children’,” it said in a statement.

LIVE: There will be a Tribunal into alleged smear campaign against Maurice McCabe

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