Details of row which led to 999 call given to Charleton tribunal

Patrol car sent to home of garda whistleblower Keith Harrison on April 1st, 2013

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison with his partner Marissa Simms. Photograph: Leah Farrell/

Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison with his partner Marissa Simms. Photograph: Leah Farrell/


Lawyers for the partner of a garda whistleblower have given details to the Charleton tribunal of an argument which led to a 999 call in April 2013.

In its current module, the tribunal is investigating contacts between An Garda Síochána, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, and Garda Keith Harrison.

Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton had asked lawyers to clarify details of an incident which led to a Garda patrol car being sent to the house in Churchill, Co Donegal where Garda Keith Harrison and Marisa Simms lived in the early hours of April 1st, 2013.

In a statement to gardaí in October 2013, Ms Simms said Garda Harrison was “out of control”, and she was pulled by her arm from her bed and pushed out the front door in her pyjamas. She later withdrew this statement.

“There was certainly a row in the sense that there was an argument between these two,” Mr Hugh Hartnett SC said, responding to questions from the tribunal chairman. Mr Hartnett represents Ms Simms at the tribunal.

“Certainly voices were raised by both parties and there is no doubt about that,” Mr Hartnett said.

The barrister said a duvet was pulled off the bed, but Ms Simms was not pulled out of the bed by her arm.

“She went out onto the street in her pyjamas and a coat over them, as she awaited the arrival of Mr (Jim) Quinn,” Mr Hartnett said.

Not confused

Mr Quinn, a self-employed counsellor, earlier said he travelled to Churchill after receiving a telephone call from Garda Harrison. He said he was not confused about who had called him, and that the phone call had been from Garda Harrison, not Ms Simms.

Mr Hartnett said when Ms Simms was contacted by Gsoc, the Garda ombudsman commission, her reaction had been to withdraw her statement.

The barrister also said Garda Harrison did not bang a dashboard with his fist, but “there was a throwing of keys against the dashboard”. He said the statement Ms Simms had made to gardaí was “intrusive and unnecessary”.

Mark Harty SC said it was not Garda Harrison’s position that Garda HQ had directed Tusla to investigate him, but that such a direction could have come from gardaí in Donegal.