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Findings of Disclosures Tribunal on Donegal whistleblower's claims welcomed by An Garda

Staff Reporter

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Garda Keith Harrison

An Garda Síochána has welcomed the findings of Mr Justice Peter Charleton who has rejected allegations of serious misconduct against the force and staff at child and family agency Tusla made by Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms.
In the second report of the Disclosures Tribunal, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the allegations made by the couple were not only without foundation but had been damaging and caused great distress and upset.
He praised those Garda members and social workers who had been wrongly accused.
The couple had claimed the Garda in Donegal had coerced Ms Simms into giving statements of complaint in October 2013, detailing allegations of abuse at the hands of her partner.
They also claimed gardaí had ensured Tusla interfered in their family home, including investigating the parenting and safety of Ms Simms’s children, who the tribunal was told Garda Harrison treated as his own.
In the report, published on Thursday evening, Mr Justice Charleton said the claims made by Keith Harrison and Marissa Simms that have been examined by the tribunal “have no validity”.
“They have claimed to have been the victims of a malicious procession of events. That is not so,” Mr Justice Charleton said of the couple’s unfounded allegations. “It is appropriate here to exonerate everyone in social services and in policing accused by them of discreditable conduct.
“Those serving in the gardaí in Donegal demonstrated seriousness and genuine concern in the context of domestic violence allegations.
“There was no breakdown in the Garda command structure. Instead, allegations were treated seriously, properly reported up the line and diligently pursued.
“There was no shortage of police officers well capable of leadership and the application of intelligence to their task.
“The witnesses from Tusla stood out as paying proper regard to independence, professional standards and pride.”
In a statement issued today, An Garda Síochána said it welcomed the finding that
Garda members individually in Donegal and the organisation as a whole acted correctly in dealing with the issues under examination in the module examined. The statement pointed out that Mr Justice Charleton found that "those serving in the gardai in Donegal demonstrated seriousness and genuine concern in the context of domestic violence allegations” and that "allegations were treated seriously, properly reported up the line and diligently pursued.”
Mr Justice Charleton also found that there was "no break down in the garda command structure” and his finding of the critical importance of An Garda Síochána’s command structure in its ability to operate effectively is also welcomed.
An Garda Síochána said it will now consider Mr Justice's Charleton's recommendations in relation to disciplinary procedures.