A Garda whistleblower has told a tribunal that he has a "huge issue" on whether or not his complaints were being investigated in good faith because of an "incredible" admission by a heroin dealer that was "sat on for five months".
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 third 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, undermined or bullied after he made his protected disclosure on 8 May, 2014.
The tribunal was hearing of Gda Keogh's complaint that a disciplinary investigation carried out by Assistant Commissioner Ann Marie McMahon had amounted to discrediting or targeting him.
Gda Keogh told Judge Ryan that he believed that during the course of Asst Comm. McMahon's disciplinary investigation into members that she became obliged to make an arrest.
Mr Shane Murphy SC, for An Garda Síochána, said that the "focus of Asst Comm. McMahon's investigation was disciplinary" and that it was "not a criminal investigation".
"It was not her job to make arrests," he said.
Gda Keogh disagreed, saying: "It's not as simple as that. This is a conspiracy to supply heroin. John Gilligan, I could be corrected, is the only person in this country convicted for something like this."
Mr Murphy said that "nothing" in Asst Comm. McMahon's investigation "required arrest" and her focus was solely on disciplinary matters, which she carried out "appropriately" and "diligently".
"Miss B made a statement of admission in March 2018 - an incredible document," said Gda Keogh.
"That was sat on for five months and then passed to Detective Inspector Coppinger.
"It was a hot coal and they were juggling it," he added.
Asst Comm. McMahon made her disciplinary recommendations on 27 February, 2019, and said in her statement to the tribunal that she had no information regarding interaction between Garda A and Miss B until 8 March, 2019, as it was with the office of the Chief State Solicitor.
"I still argue that it's incredible," said Gda Keogh. "Asst Comm, McMahon makes her recommendation on 27 February, 2019, and new information comes to light in March '19? And, An Garda Síochána is, now, aware of the Disclosures Tribunal."
Asst Comm, McMahon recommended a board of inquiry be set up on foot of her disciplinary investigation but this was not deemed warranted and a peer review was to be carried out.
The peer review noted Asst Comm, McMahon's investigation as "thorough and complete".
In her statement, Asst Comm, McMahon said that "my investigation was conducted with absolute professionalism, complete impartiality and progressed as expeditiously and as diligently as possible".