Ireland: Disclosures Tribunal whistleblower: Allegations were ‘drummed up to discredit me’ - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Ireland Disclosures Tribunal whistleblower: Allegations were ‘drummed up to discredit me’

18:10  15 october  2019
18:10  15 october  2019 Source:   independent.ie

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The Disclosures Tribunal was established to investigate allegations of an organised campaign against That closed-door inquiry was set up to examine allegations of Garda wrongdoing highlighted by Sgt Another issue is why several emails were not initially disclosed to the Tribunal .

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

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a brick building: Garda Nick Keogh outside the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle Photo: RollingNews.ie © RollingNews.ie Garda Nick Keogh outside the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle Photo: RollingNews.ie

A GARDA whistleblower has claimed efforts were made by other gardaí to discredit him after he made a protected disclosure alleging collusion by a colleague with a heroin dealer.

Garda Nick Keogh’s collusion allegations prompted an internal Garda investigation in 2014, led by then assistant commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin.

But he told the Disclosures Tribunal today that allegations he was rounding up witnesses were later drummed up against him to affect his credibility in the Ó Cualáin probe.

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The Disclosures Tribunal is investigating allegations made by Garda Nick Keogh. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times. A garda’s claim that he was targeted and discredited after he alleged that a colleague was involved in an improper relationship with a heroin dealer in Athlone forms the focus of

Garda Nick Kehoe claims he was harassed and bullied by management after he made a protected disclosure about colleagues.

Under examination from tribunal counsel Diarmaid McGuinness SC, Gda Keogh claimed “the chief’s office in Mullingar is behind stirring this”.

Gda Keogh’s allegations have been rejected by Chief Supt Mark Curran, who is due to appear as a witness at a later date.

In a protected disclosure in May 2014, the whistleblower alleged a colleague, known as Garda A, was in a relationship with a female drug dealer in Athlone, known as Ms B, and colluded with her so she could avoid detection.

Neither Garda A nor Ms B can be identified by order of tribunal chairman Mr Justice Sean Ryan.

Today the tribunal heard how later that month a woman called Olivia O’Neill came to Athlone Garda Station seeking to make a statement about an alleged assault on her daughter by Ms B.

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Public hearings for the Disclosures Tribunal are due to begin at 10.30 am this morning at George's Hall in Dublin Castle. First on the list is the case of Garda Keogh and the alleged mistreatment of the Athlone-based garda. He claims to have been bullied after making allegations of garda collusion with

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Gda Keogh was on duty in the public office that night and told her he could not take her statement.

But the tribunal heard there is a dispute over the content of their exchange.

According to Gda Keogh, Ms O’Neill proceeded to allege, spontaneously and of her own volition, there was police collusion in Athlone in the drugs trade and that Ms B was “doing favours for guards”.

He told the tribunal there would have been a conflict of interest if he took her statement, as he had made similar collusion allegations, and in any event the public office was busy.

He asked his sergeant to designate another garda to speak to Ms O’Neill. 

Gda Stephanie Treacy was designated and later reported that Ms O’Neill told her Gda Keogh advised her [Ms O’Neill] of the information to include in her statement, including allegations concerning gardaí and Ms B.

However, the tribunal heard both Gda Keogh and Ms O’Neill deny this.

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A garda whistleblower has told the Disclosures Tribunal that he was like a "sitting duck" after making a protected disclosure about alleged wrongdoing in the force. Garda Nicholas Keogh was giving evidence as the tribunal resumed for its final phase at Dublin Castle.

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A report compiled on the matter by Inspector Nicholas Farrell said “the advice allegedly given” by Gda Keogh was “not appropriate in the circumstances and projects the image of An Garda Síochána in an unfavourable light. It also places Ms B in a vulnerable position from persons currently under investigation in the Athlone area.”

Under examination today, Gda Keogh said: “I didn’t do anything wrong here.”

He went on to say: “What they are trying to do here is discredit me.”

Gda Keogh suggested the intention was to “get across” he was rounding up witnesses against Gda A, when this was not true, in an effort to impact on his credibility.

The tribunal also heard of another garda report, which contained a claim Gda Keogh tried to get someone to make a false allegation against fellow officers.

a man holding a bottle: Dónall Ó Cualáin conducted an investigation into the concerns. Photo: Colin O'Riordan Dónall Ó Cualáin conducted an investigation into the concerns. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

The report was made by Gda Aidan Lyons of Athlone Garda Station in June 2014.

In it, Gda Lyons said he was approached by a man called Liam Hughes on the street in Athlone who told him “the bald garda”, a reference to Gda Keogh, asked if he remembered being searched by three guards and having €800 stolen from him, which the officers later spent in a pub, a bookies and a casino.

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“He [Gda Keogh] said if I wanted to make a complaint about it then he would back me up,” the report quoted Mr Hughes as saying.

According to the report, Mr McHugh said the incident described had never actually happened.

The tribunal heard Gda Keogh was called into the office of his superintendent, Noreen McBrien, and that the matter was reported to Chief Supt Curran.

Gda Keogh told the tribunal he was not initially given the details of the Liam McHugh allegation and was not made aware who wrote it.

He said he later discovered it was a report by Gda Lyons, who was a partner of Gda A at the time.

In his statement to the tribunal, Gda Keogh said there was “no rigourous follow-up or conclusion” to the allegation against him in the report.

“It appeared to be just another false allegation left in the ether and used to blacken and cause apprehension in me. It was inscrutable, was dropped out of nowhere and went nowhere,” he said in his statement.

Under questioning from Ms McGuinness, Gda Keogh said he did not believe there was any meeting between Gda Lyons and Mr McHugh.

He also said he believed other gardaí got Gda Lyons to write the report.

“Aidan Lyons at the time would have been a clean pair of hands and they got him to write this nonsense,” Gda Keogh said.

Mr McGuinness said the tribunal would be hearing from Gda Lyons later.

Garda 'a sitting duck' after making drug collusion claim

  Garda 'a sitting duck' after making drug collusion claim Garda 'a sitting duck' after making drug collusion claimThe claim was one of a number of serious concerns about policing issues in Athlone detailed by Garda Nick Keogh in a protected disclosure.

The Disclosures Tribunal is not over. It will resume in 2019 to deal with other Garda whistleblowers who allege they have been the subject of smear campaigns. However, Mr Justice Charleton will not be the chair. He will return to the Supreme Court while Mr Justice Sean Ryan takes over.

The Disclosures Tribunal found all politicians who were interviewed, or who gave evidence, in relation to various alleged smear campaigns against Sgt My perception was that whatever the allegation was it wasn’t a major issue.” In his report, Mr Justice Charleton has said the “ tribunal fully accepts

The tribunal heard Mr McHugh did not engage with efforts by gardaí to investigate further the matters detailed in Gda Lyons’ report.

Asked if he believed it was reasonable for Chief Supt Curran to require an investigation into the allegation, Gda Keogh said it should have been referred to the Ó Cualáin investigation.

In a statement to the tribunal Chief Supt Curran defended his actions.

“Given the serious nature of the information contained within the report, it was necessary and incumbent upon me to cause inquiries to be carried out in respect of the matter,” he said in his statement.

“I reject Gda Keogh’s assertion that this was an attempt to target him or discredit him.”

The Ó Cualáin investigation ultimately found that some of Gda Keogh’s allegations were plausible and had substance but the evidence, which was circumstantial, fell short of what was required to bring a criminal prosecution.

Gda Keogh has alleged there were “serious and deliberate flaws” in the Ó Cualáin investigation.

The tribunal’s latest module is investigating if Gda Keogh was targeted or discredited by senior officers after making his protected disclosure.

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