A serious allegation against former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan should be withdrawn as there is no evidence to support it, resumed sittings of the Disclosures Tribunal heard on Monday.
The tribunal has begun hearing evidence about claims by Garda Nick Keogh that he was targeted and discredited after he made a protected disclosure on May 8th, 2014.
In his disclosure Garda Keogh alleged that a colleague in Athlone had inappropriate dealings with a heroin dealer who, despite selling drugs worth €2,500 a week, had never been convicted of an offence. The tribunal is referring to the woman as Ms B, and to the Garda member as Garda A.
Patrick Marrinan SC, for the tribunal, outlined in an opening statement 22 complaints from Garda Keogh which the Garda is alleging formed part of a campaign to target and discredit him after he had made his protected disclosure. The complaints are all being disputed.
The Garda has indicated through his legal team that he is not going to pursue one complaint, that his phone was bugged, as he accepts he has no evidence to support it.
Shane Murphy SC, for the Garda Commissioner and other Garda witnesses, asked that a complaint against Ms O’Sullivan should be withdrawn on the same grounds.
Garda Keogh has claimed that Ms O’Sullivan phoned Supt Patrick Murray in 2015 and that after the call the word went out in the Athlone station that members should “step back from, and alienate me”.
Garda Keogh, Mr Murphy said, originally said he had been told this by colleagues he was not prepared to identify, and then said he believed he had been told about the call by Sgt Andrew Haran. However the sergeant had told the tribunal the claim was not true.
The tribunal chairman, Mr Justice Sean Ryan, said he was wondering about the fairness of putting an allegation to a witness when there was no suggestion of a source for the claim. He is to hear further submissions on the matter on Wednesday.
The tribunal heard that in May 2014, Garda Keogh made an entry on the Garda Pulse system where he said he had observed Ms B smiling and sticking out her tongue when she saw him.
“Ms B is seriously involved in the heroin trade in Athlone with a turnover of approximately €2,500 per week,” the Pulse entry read.
“She has no previous convictions for drugs due to the fact that she has been aided and abetted for years by a senior member of the drugs unit who himself is a close associate of a high-ranking Garda officer. Fact.”
In his evidence, Garda Keogh said that he interpreted the gesture from Ms B as “saying to me that she was untouchable”.
He also said he gave a copy of his protected disclosure to then TD Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, knowing its content would be disclosed in the Dáil. It would be “hard to do a cover up on it, if it was out in the open,” he said.
The tribunal chairman has made an order that neither Garda A nor Ms B, nor persons who may be mentioned at the tribunal in relation to alleged criminal activity, are to publicly identified.
The focus of the tribunal sittings is the allegation by Garda Keogh that he was targeted and discredited, and not the matters that he alleged in the protected disclosure.
Garda Keogh will continue his evidence on Tuesday.