A Donegal-based garda whose claims of malpractice against senior officers were rejected by the Disclosures tribunal has made new claims to the inquiry about garda wrongdoing when he was stationed in Athlone, Co Westmeath.
Keith Harrison has made a 106-page statement to the tribunal, which is examining claims that garda whistleblowers were targeted by their superiors for highlighting allegations of corruption and malpractice.
The tribunal, which is now led by Seán Ryan, a former president of the Court of Appeal, has been provided with information on a series of scandals involving gardai in the midlands.
The Sunday Times yesterday reported how officers are alleged to have colluded with heroin dealers, tipped off criminals about raids and engaged in fraud.
Senior gardai have been accused of failing to take action when wrongdoing was brought to their attention.
An internal garda investigation has found evidence to support some collusion allegations. Two officers are currently suspended.
In his latest statement to the tribunal, Harrison has made specific allegations about the handling of a case when a garda was allegedly caught drunk driving. He has also made allegations about the seizure of a vehicle from a man who drove through a garda checkpoint. Harrison has alleged he was instructed to return the vehicle to the driver by a senior garda as a favour to another.
Harrison was transferred to Donegal in 2011 from Westmeath after he made a protected disclosure about his knowledge of events in Westmeath. He was investigated by senior gardai in Donegal after they received confidential information to say he had threatened to kill his partner Marisa Simms.
Harrison accused the senior officers of instigating what he described as spurious inquiries into his personal life and reporting him to Tusla, the child and family agency, to discredit him. These allegations were included in the tribunal’s terms of reference after the Labour Party TD Alan Kelly raised them in the Dail.
Harrison’s allegations were rejected by Peter Charleton, the Supreme Court judge who chaired the tribunal’s previous hearings, however. Charleton described Harrison’s evidence as “utter nonsense”. Charleton found senior gardai and Terry McGinn, the chief superintendent for Donegal, had acted in the public interest at all times.
Barry O’Brien, the assistant commissioner for the northern region, is conducting a “scoping exercise” into the findings of the tribunal’s first report. No disciplinary action has been taken against Harrison.
The Sunday Times was unable to contact Harrison for comment yesterday.