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Ireland Former Garda commissioner denies urging officers to ‘alienate’ drugs collusion whistleblower

17:40  14 october  2019
17:40  14 october  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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The Garda Commissioner (Irish: Coimisinéir an Gharda Síochána) – officially known as the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána – is the head of the Garda Síochána, the national police force of the Republic of Ireland.

a person walking down the street talking on a cell phone: Former Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan   Picture: Collins Former Garda Commissioner Noírín O’Sullivan Picture: Collins

Former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has denied making a phone call to suggest other gardaí should “pull away from” and “alienate” a Garda whistleblower who raised concerns about alleged collusion with a heroin dealer.

The alleged intervention of Ms O’Sullivan is one of 22 allegations being probed by the Disclosures Tribunal, which is investigating if Garda Nick Keogh was targeted or discredited by senior officers after making a protected disclosure.

Opening the tribunal’s latest module this morning, its counsel Patrick Marrinan SC said Garda Keogh made allegations about a member of the force, Garda A, and his relationship with people involved in the sale of drugs in Athlone, in particular a woman known as Ms B.

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Garda whistleblower scandal. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Jump to navigation Jump to search. McCabe was found to be subject to a smear campaign orchestrated by senior Garda officials, namely Dave Taylor, the Garda Press Officer , and former Commissioner Martin Callinan.[1][2][3]

Neither Garda A nor Ms B or any other persons accused of criminal activity can be named by order of tribunal chairman Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

In a Pulse entry, Garda Keogh described Ms B as being seriously involved in the heroin trade in Athlone, with a turnover of approximately €2,500 per week.

Garda Keogh has claimed he was targeted in a number of ways after raising concerns over the conduct of Garda A.

These include claims of “inappropriate interference” by senior management after Garda Keogh made a Garda Pulse entry in which he said Ms B had been “aided and abetted for years by a senior member” of the Athlone drugs unit.

Garda Keogh claims he was placed under the micro supervision of three sergeants, confined to office duties, incorrectly docked pay after his sick leave was incorrectly categorised, targeted for a disciplinary investigation over the category of tax he was paying on his car, and irrationally charged with being absent without leave while off work sick.

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Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan has denied that he was trying to blacken the character of whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe. Mr Callinan is giving evidence to the Disclosures Tribunal, which is examining the claim made by Supt Taylor, the former garda press officer

A whistleblower (also written as whistle - blower or whistle blower ) is a person who exposes secretive information or activity that is deemed illegal, unethical

Also among the allegations being probed by the tribunal is a claim former Garda commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan intervened in his case by telephoning his Superintendent, Patrick Murray, in April 2015.

a man standing in front of a brick building: Garda whistleblower Nick Keogh. Picture by Barry Cronin © Barry Cronin Garda whistleblower Nick Keogh. Picture by Barry Cronin In a statement to the tribunal, Garda Keogh alleged he was made aware that Ms O’Sullivan had personally phoned Supt Murray, apparently between April 2 and 10 that year.

“Thereafter, I was confidentially advised that Supt Pat Murray told other guards in Athlone station to pull away from and alienate me,” Garda Keogh’s statement read.

However, Mr Marrinan said Ms O’Sullivan had told the tribunal that the phone call never took place and that the allegation was “completely untrue and without foundation”.

He also said Supt Murray stated he had never spoken to Ms O’Sullivan about Garda Keogh.

“She did not phone me in April 2015 and I never suggested to anyone that they should pull away from or alienate Garda Keogh, nor would I have any reason to,” Supt Murray told the tribunal.

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The tribunal has previously investigated complaints made by former sergeant Maurice McCabe and Garda Keith Harrison, producing two interim reports.

Its latest module is focused on the alleged mistreatment of other whistleblowers who made protected disclosures prior to February 16, 2017. The first of these is Garda Keogh, a member of the force since July 2000.

He has been on sick leave December 2015 due to work-related stress and has initiated civil proceedings for bullying and harassment. 

In his opening statement, Mr Marrinan said the focus of the tribunal’s mandate was not on the substance of any wrongdoing reported in Garda Keogh’s disclosure, no matter how serious the allegations, but rather the alleged conduct towards the garda subsequent to the disclosure being made.

It will examine whether that alleged conduct was condoned, tolerated or known about by senior members of An Garda Síochána.

Mr Marrinan outlined how Garda Keogh started his career in Bray and was allocated to the Westmeath Division in October 2006.

Three years later he successfully obtained a post in the district drugs unit for Athlone, where he served from October 2009 to August 2011 before returning to regular policing duties.

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Attorney Charles Goetsch has nearly 40 years' experience protecting injured railroad workers, pursuing claims of whistleblower retaliation, and prosecuting If you have been injured by a railroad, suffered retaliation for blowing the whistle , or have knowledge of false claims against the government, you can

Mr Marrinan said Garda Keogh made a protected disclosure on May 8, 2014 in a meeting with the Garda Confidential Recipient at the time, Judge Patrick McMahon.

On the same day, then Independent TD, now MEP, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan spoke in the Dáil, raising serious issues that Garda Keogh had reported in relation to policing matters in Athlone.

According to Mr Flanagan, Garda Keogh’s concerns included “a systematic and orchestrated effort by high-ranking Garda officers” to induce and coerce people with no previous criminal record to buy drugs and sell them to undercover gardaí.

Mr Flanagan said another concern Garda Keogh had was that a “well-recognised drug dealer in the area” who has long been associated with a garda was excluded from a list of individuals to be targeted for investigation.

Tribunal counsel Mr Marrinan said Garda Keogh raised concerns about the operation of the drugs unit in Athlone and, in particular, an operation codenamed Operation Loki and inquiries and prosecution that followed it.

An investigation of the protected disclosure was commenced under confidential reporting regulations in May 9, 2014. Ms O’Sullivan, who was acting commissioner at the time, appointed then assistant commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin to investigate the issues raised.

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Mr Ó Cualáin would later serve as acting Garda commissioner for a year following Ms O’Sullivan’s resignation in September 2017.

The Ó Cualáin report was finalised on November 24, 2015 and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It stated that some of the allegations made by Garda Keogh were plausible and had substance but the evidence, which was circumstantial, fell short of what was required to bring a criminal prosecution.

On March 3, 2016, the DPP directed there be no prosecution.

Among the issues being investigated by the tribunal is an allegation by Garda Keogh that there were “serious and deliberate flaws” in the Ó Cualáin investigation.

These criticisms include that there was a delay in commencing the investigation during which evidence disappeared and mobile phone evidence was erased.

It is alleged there was a failure to suspend any person suspected of wrongdoing, with consequences for potential witnesses.

Garda Keogh also complained that statements were taken from gardaí in inappropriate circumstances, at a time when a colleague accused by him was on duty and was able to be seen by witnesses.

He claimed there was a failure to revisit a crucial witness who came forward with vital information.

Garda Keogh also alleged side investigations were conducted by local management and that there was a failure to deal with a complaint he made in relation to this.

Mr Marrinan said Mr Ó Cualáin and his investigators had answered these complaints in detail, but that it was unnecessary at this stage in the tribunal to outline all of their responses.

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Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan informed Justice Minister Alan Shatter of his decision to resign on Tuesday. Mr Callinan told a parliamentary committee the claims were "disgusting", but he was urged to withdraw his remarks after an independent report recommended major reform of the system.

He said, however, that two points may be mentioned.

Mr Marrinan said Mr Ó Cualáin says that when Garda Keogh complained about the circumstances of interviews, the then assistant commissioner directed they be conducted away from the Garda station.

In relation to the side investigations complaint, Mr Ó Cualáin said his inquiries concerned complaints made by Garda Keogh and not allegations made against him.

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