Garda claims he was denied commendations for police work because he became whistleblower

Garda claims he was denied commendations for police work because he became whistleblower
Garda whistleblower Nicholas Keogh leaving the Disclosures Tribunal at Dublin Castle today. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A Garda has said he and other gardaí were denied commendations for police work by Garda management because he became a whistleblower, a tribunal has heard.

Garda Nicholas Keogh is giving evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal, where counsel for An Garda Síochána are cross-examining him.

The tribunal is in its second week hearing from Gda Keogh, who alleges that a senior member of the Athlone drugs unit, identified to the tribunal as Garda A, was in an improper relationship with a heroin dealer, identified as Ms B, who had a then-estimated €2,500 a week income.

The tribunal, chaired by Judge Sean Ryan, is investigating if Gda Keogh was targeted, harassed or bullied after he made his protected disclosure on 8 May, 2014.

Gda Keogh has stated he was denied Garda commendations in four cases, including the rescue of a woman from the River Shannon in September 2015 and the stabbing of a 77-year-old taxi-driver in Athlone in August 2015.

He told the tribunal that in the latter case he seized the blood-stained clothes and the car for technical examination.

"I was the investigating Garda but then I was taken off Pulse completely,” he said.

Mr Shane Murphy SC, for An Garda Síochána, said that the investigation "morphed" into a larger one when a second stabbing "fifteen hours apart" was discovered, bringing other gardaí into the case.

Four members of a "juvenile gang", said Mr Murphy, were later identified, interviewed, charged and brought before the courts, where they pleaded guilty.

Mr Murphy told Judge Ryan that the four youths were identified by two other gardaí and subsequent searches recovered an imitation firearm and a baseball bat. In the three days after the stabbing of the taxi-driver, Gda Keogh was on rest days.

Mr Murphy said that Gda Keogh "did not play any part that was materially important" in the investigation. Gda Keogh disputed the claim.

He replied: "There could be evidence in the car. At that point we don't know there's a second robbery."

He said his connection with the incident was “totally removed” from Pulse.

Judge Ryan asked if Gda Keogh's position was that gardaí "from top to bottom" would normally receive commendations in such successful investigations and the witness said it was.

Asked who made the decision regarding commendations, Gda Keogh said Superintendent Patrick Murray took a “hands on” role.

In his statement to the tribunal Supt Murray said he had no knowledge of Gda Keogh's involvement in the investigation of the stabbing.

A report of those involved was compiled by Detective Sergeant Eamonn Curley, the tribunal heard.

Gda Keogh said: "I put it on Pulse, I was the investigating officer, originally. I have no issue with detective branch taking over. That's normal. But to be removed completely off and not be even an assisting member?"

"Those who first responded were excluded from commendations because you were involved?" asked Judge Ryan.

"Yes," replied Gda Keogh.

Mr Murphy accused Gda Keogh of having a "fixation of blame" concerning Supt Murray and that Gda Keogh had "no evidence", only "supposition" in the matter.

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