Keith Harrison's solicitor has Tusla file with 'unjustified referrals'

Trevor Collins says unnecessary inspections were carried out

Keith Harrison's solicitor has Tusla file with 'unjustified referrals'

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A solicitor for garda whistleblower Keith Harrison says he has a Tusla file of unjustified referrals made against his client.

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

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

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty 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."

In a letter released on Tuesday, Mr Harrison's solicitor Trevor Collins from Kilfeather & Company said: "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.

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

"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 Síochána."

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Collins said the partner of his client was compelled to make a statement against him.

"The Tusla part of it is the one that, from his point of view, is the most upsetting.

"He and his partner were subjected to terrible, terrible treatment whereby his partner was pursued by An Garda Síochána where they in effect forced her and compelled her to come into the station where she was interviewed for eight hours...where she was told that if she did not make a statement against Keith, that effectively her kids were in jeopardy.

"She was compelled to make that statement, she made it - it was only afterwards when she came out of the station that she realised what happened.

"And we have the Tusla file - a referral was sent to Tusla where it was suggested that abuse by Keith Harrison on her children.

"There is a referral from a senior officer with An Garda Síochána - in reply to that referral Tusla said, to be fair to them, wrote back and said there's no issue here to investigate".

But Mr Collins says this was not the end of the matter.

"Somehow - and this is the part that we do not understand - four months later, Tusla write to Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms and invite them to a meeting to discuss their children.

"That evening...they were telephoned by the social worker who had interviewed them and told, almost apologetically, 'I have to go and inspect your home'.

"The following day, Tusla social workers descend on the home of Keith Harrison, Marisa Simms and their children to carry out what is a formal inspection.

"All suggestive of something untoward and abusive on the part of Keith Harrison".

In reply to the latest allegations, Tusla said it does not comment on individual cases to protect the privacy and well-being of the children and families.