Garda whistleblower welcomes expanded inquiry terms

Keith Harrison says the inclusion of his complaints in the inquiry's terms of reference comes after a "long and difficult battle"

Garda whistleblower welcomes expanded inquiry terms

Keith Harrison. Image: RollingNews.ie

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison has welcomed the announcement that the inquiry into the Maurice McCabe controversy will also investigate allegations of ill-treatment of other whistleblowers.

The terms of reference for the Charleton Inquiry were agreed in the Dáil today.

Priority will be given to allegations against Sergeant McCabe, with an interim report to be provided within three months.

Other whistleblowers will be looked at later, and the tribunal will be asked to investigative any negative links between Gardaí and the child and family agency Tusla.

The terms of reference specifically call for the inquiry to examine "contacts between members of An Garda Síochána and Tusla in relation to Garda Keith Harrison". 

On Tuesday, Mr Harrison came forward to demand his own treatment be included in the inquiry into allegations of a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe.

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

Mr Harrison's solicitor Trevor Collins from Kilfeather & Company told Newstalk Breakfast yesterday that Mr Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms "were subjected to terrible, terrible treatment".

In a statement this evening, Mr Harrison said: "After a long and difficult battle to have all my complaints investigated I would like to acknowledge the publication today of the expanded terms of reference of the Tribunal of Inquiry that finally includes an investigation of the ill-treatment of my family and I.

"It remains the case that I am out of work on sick leave without any pay. I continue to await the restoration of my pay so that I may financially support my family. It remains my wish to return to active duty serving my community as a member of An Garda Síochana."

He says he hopes the inquiry will bring about a change within senior Garda management.

Mr Harrison acknowledged the support he has received from the public, and also thanked a number of individual TDs he has met with.

"Special thanks to Ms Clare Daly TD and Mr Mick Wallace TD for their exhaustive efforts over the years in highlighting the ill-treatment of whistleblowers within An Garda Síochana," he adds.

He 'especially' thanks Labour's Alan Kelly for his 'wholehearted support'.