Garda inspector tells tribunal how it took witness eight hours to make statement against whistleblower

A garda inspector has denied forcing a witness to make a statement against her partner, garda whistleblower Keith Harrison, at the Charleton tribunal.

Inspector Goretti Sheridan faced cross-examination from Hugh Hartnett SC, representing Garda Harrison's partner Marisa Simms, today.

On October 6, 2013, Ms Simms made a lengthy statement in Letterkenny garda station to Inspector Sheridan and Sergeant Brigid McGowan.

In the statement, Ms Simms outlined her relationship with Garda Harrison.

"If Marisa Simms wants to make a statement she could make a statement," Inspector Sheridan said.

"I wouldn't force Marisa Simms or anybody else to make a statement."

Mr Hartnett said the inspector "set out as best you could to get a statement using the wiles of an investigating officer".

Goretti Sheridan arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal today. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

Inspector Sheridan said her job was "to talk to her and ask if she wants to make a statement".

"I'm not going to force her to sit down and make a statement," said Inspector Sheridan.

Inspector Sheridan said that "very, very serious allegations" had been made about Garda Harrison by third parties - Ms Simms' mother, sister, uncle and a cousin - who had already come forward to gardaí.

Mr Hartnett said that Ms Simms was "exhausted" and "dead tired" at the end of the statement, which was made over an eight-hour period.

Mr Harnett said this was an "exceptional length of time" to take a statement.

"Even the best of Donegal seanachaís would find it difficult to talk in a stream for eight hours or more," Mr Hartnett said, referring to traditional storytellers.

Inspector Sheridan said that statements in cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse or rape often took a long time.

She said that Ms Simms was "alert and knew what she was doing".

Inspector Sheridan said that there had been a general conversation for two or three hours with Ms Simms, following which she made the statement.

Inspector Sheridan said her "key concern" was the welfare of Ms Simms' children.

On January 11, 2014, Ms Simms called to Letterkenny garda station and withdrew her statement.

The tribunal continues.


Related Articles

Garda Keith Harrison 'disappointed' but not surprised at Disclosures Tribunal conclusion

Sinn Fein motion to widen terms of Reference of Disclosures Tribunal rejected

Absence of records on whistleblower Maurice McCabe looked like cover-up, Charleton tribunal hears

Charleton tribunal hears of threats made against the life of Garda whistleblower Keith Harrison

More in this Section

Celebrities and activists to hold singing protest against homelessness outside the Dáil today

HIQA to be put in charge of issuing hospital licences if bill passes

Traffic moving more smoothly in Dublin after yesterday's Luas gridlock

150 new jobs as tech company Pluralsight sets up European HQ in the capital


Today's Stories

Hospitals face closure under new targets law

‘This feud is only starting’: 30 pellets left in baby’s leg after shooting

Kelp-harvesting plan to go ahead in Bantry Bay

Cocaine-related overdoses rising, figures show

Lifestyle

No wee feat: Daniel back in the charts with new album this Christmas

The League Of Gentlemen sketch troupe back on TV screens after 15 years

Get ready for the Jedi in latest Star Wars instalment

A heavy burden for such young shoulders caring for parents this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner