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Barrister says that evidence of Donegal's most senior garda should not be accepted by Tribunal

Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn did not make notes when she directed an investigation into alleged actions of Keith Harrison.

Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn was giving evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal today.
Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn was giving evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal today.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

THE MOST SENIOR garda in Donegal has said she did not deliberately omit making a note at the time of a decision to begin an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison.

Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn directed that Inspector Goretti Sheridan begin an investigation on 29 September 2013, following a report from the mother of Garda Harrison’s partner Marisa Simms.

In the current module, the tribunal is looking at contacts between gardaí and the HSE/Tusla relating to Garda Harrison.

On 6 October 2013, Inspector Sheridan took a statement from Simms which led to referrals to the HSE/Tusla and GSOC. Simms later withdrew her statement.

Mark Harty SC, on behalf of Garda Harrison, said there was no contemporaneous record of the Chief Superintendent making the decision, or recording the reasons for the decision, in her own written record.

9/10/2017. Disclosures Tribunals Garda Keith Harrison arriving at the Tribunal with his partner, Marisa Simms. Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

The barrister said that Chief Superintendent McGinn’s evidence should not be accepted by the tribunal.

Harty said that after the Morris tribunal, new garda directives required officers to keep daily journals, and to record the reasons for any arrests, reasons for warrants issued, and “all matters and incidents of importance”.

The barrister said that Chief Superintendent McGinn, who had worked as the garda liaison to the Morris tribunal, would have been more familiar than most with its recommendations, and the reasons for them.

McGinn said it was not possible to write down every decision that is made at the time.

“If every time I had a conversation I was to write it down I would become paralysed with notes,” McGinn said.

The Chief Superintendent said that in her statement prepared for the tribunal in March 2017, she was giving an outline of events and contextualising them.

“I didn’t leave it out deliberately. I didn’t leave it out intentionally. I didn’t include it. There was no ulterior motive. It was quite clear that I appointed her,” Chief Superintendent McGinn said.

Harty said the only contemporaneous record of Inspector Sheridan’s appointment was in Superintendent Eugene McGovern’s journal, which was then noted in his subsequent statement.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons

Read: Disclosures Tribunal: Retired garda can’t provide statement as he’s ‘on the far side of the world’

Read: Tribunal chairman asks for new statements from four senior gardaí

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Gerard Cunningham

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