Garda claim of being targeted unfounded, tribunal says

Nicky Keogh ‘irrational’ and ‘paranoid’ after allegations in wake of protected disclosure

How Garda Nicky Keogh could have been wrong about all the allegations of targeting he made is a question that might strike a reader of the latest Disclosures Tribunal report, chairman Mr Justice Sean Ryan has said.

Garda Keogh alleged that after he made a disclosure alleging corruption, he was targeted by senior officers, but the tribunal has found this was not the case.

Mr Justice Ryan said Garda Keogh made his corruption allegation in good faith, and that it was not frivolous or vexatious.

However, doing so was a cause of stress, and this stress increased after he made his disclosures public, with his colleagues in the Garda station in Athlone knowing that he made allegations, and most of them knowing the person against whom the principal allegation had been made.


Politics and alcohol

The garda "synchronised" his protected disclosure with then deputy, and now MEP, Luke Flanagan, who raised it in the Dáil, and when Mr Flanagan became an MEP, he introduced Garda Keogh to Deputies Mick Wallace and Clare Daly, who are both also now MEPs.

Garda Keogh’s involvement in political affairs, and his alcohol consumption, added to the garda’s stress, the judge said.

Garda Keogh believed that a number of Garda officers were part of a “cabal” that was working against him, Mr Justice Ryan said. His suspicions and distrust went beyond what was reasonable.

“The tribunal’s inference from all of the evidence is that suspicion, disappointment, stress and misunderstanding, against the background of long-term alcohol addiction, meant that Garda Keogh became irrational and even at times paranoid,” the judge said.

The Acting Garda Commissioner, Anne-Marie McMahon, has welcomed the tribunal’s report, including its finding that Garda Keogh’s corruption allegations “were taken seriously by the organisation and were investigated competently and with integrity”.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent