Whistleblower Keith Harrison wants to be included in McCabe tribunal

The Labour Party has backed Garda Harrison's call for the tribunal terms of reference to be extended

Whistleblower Keith Harrison wants to be included in McCabe tribunal

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A garda whistleblower has come forward to demand his own treatment be included in the public tribunal of inquiry into allegations of a smear campaign against Maurice McCabe.

Keith Harrison says he was victimised by other gardaí after arresting a plain-clothes member of the drugs squad for drink-driving.

Pearse Doherty of Sinn Féin used parliamentary privilege in 2014 to outline his concerns.

Deputy Doherty said the alleged drunk-driver was free to go about his work, while Garda Harrison - who arrested him - was deliberately targeted.

"Persons that had past interactions with Garda Harrison in the execution of his duties were invited by the gardaí to make complaints against him.

"He claims that during this period, from September 2009 to March 2011, he was office-bound.

"While the garda that he arrested - who had been found with a high concentration of alcohol - was still driving official vehicles and carrying an official firearm."

Similar experiences

A letter from Mr Harrison's solicitor states: "Having read the heartfelt statement of the McCabe family, we share their heartache. We have similarly suffered at the hands of An Garda Síochána, have been reported to Tusla and have been ignored when we raised the issues with Government.

"We hope the McCabe family will get the truth and justice they deserve. We too feel that we deserve truth and justice in our case.

"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 any hope.

"The similarities between the experiences we have endured and the McCabes cannot be ignored by this Government or the political establishment.

"The treatment of Sergeant McCabe and myself bear similarities.

"By restricting the inquiry to only one story, a situation will be allowed to develop whereby the treatment of Sergeant McCabe will be found to have been a one-off when in fact our story and its striking similarities to that of the McCabes, show that this formed part of an orchestrated system and culture within senior management of An Garda Siochana.

"Unless and until this approach to whistleblowers itself is exposed, An Garda Siochana will forever be tainted.

"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 letter adds.

Mr Harrison's solicitor also claims his client was subject to victimisation and bullying, intimidation and harassment and dissemination of rumour.

He also says his client was subject to "unjustified referrals of our family to Tusla by An Garda Siochana". Tusla say they do not comment on individual cases.

Labour Party support

In a statement this evening Labour Party spokesperson on health, Alan Kelly said he fully supported Garda Harrison’s call.

He said he had already confronted the Tánaiste to suggest that she was aware in October of another garda whistleblower with concerns regarding how he and his family had been treated by Tusla.

"We now have two whistleblowers with concerns about the one agency,” he said. “The Statement today from Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms makes clear their views that what happened to their family must be examined and I fully support their calls.”

"The proposed Tribunal of Inquiry must be extended to include other Garda whistleblowers like Garda Harrison who have made similar allegations of victimisation, bullying and harassment by Garda management,” he said.

He said the need to extend the terms of reference takes on increased importance where there are “similar claims of dissemination of rumour and innuendo, to the media, politicians and Garda colleagues, in order to undermine their credibility."