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Tribunal hears Garda whistleblower accuse superintendent of undermining his work in effort to discredit him

A whistleblower garda has accused a superintendent of "massaging" down crime figures and of trying to discredit him by undermining his police work.

The Disclosures Tribunal is hearing from Garda Nicholas 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.

The tribunal, which is investigating how Gda Keogh was treated after he made a 2014 protected disclosure, heard that four investigations by Gda Keogh were criticised by Superintendent Patrick Murray.

Gda Keogh maintains that the various criticisms were unjustified and that his own sergeants did not comment adversely and that it was "inconsistent and unreasonable" of Supt Murray to single him out for alleged policing deficiencies.

In his statement, Gda Keogh says his "police work was again irrationally scrutinised and minutely criticised by Pat Murray" and that "the queries from Supt Murray were oppressive and irrational".

Supt Murray, in his statement, says "the queries I generated in this case were not in any way directed at Gda Keogh personally but were instead to ensure the investigation was carried out to a high standard".

In the case of a robbery from the person in Athlone in August 2015, Gda Keogh states that he recorded it as such on Pulse but it was subsequently re-classified downwards to 'Attention and Complaints'.

Gda Keogh says in his statement:

"[Supt] Pat Murray, who expressly classified the incident as 'serious' [in a letter to Gda Keogh], has simultaneously and self-contradictorily, declassified it on pulse on the very same day [23 September, 2015] as 'not serious', when he downgraded the robbery to 'attention and complaints' - in other words, to a non-crime.

"Supt Murray was - with only the inconvenience of self-contradiction - massaging the crime figures downwards while simultaneously increasing the importance of this same incident when he wanted to blame me."

Supt Murray, in his statement, disputes the accusation, saying he was "not targeting Gda Keogh in any way."

Supt Murray, in his letters to Gda Keogh, criticised the lack of detail in crime reports and the manner in which statements were taken regarding two theft, one criminal damage investigations and the robbery of a person in Athlone.

Gda Keogh said he made a detailed Pulse entry for the robbery, wrote in his report that the incident was "serious" and urged the attention of the detective branch, as he was going on leave.

When he returned to work he learned that the injured party did not want to pursue the incident.

It was later re-classified downwards but Gda Keogh still received letters about his "scant" report, which "did not indicate investigative steps taken" in the case.

"All queries and questions were answered in detail on Pulse," Gda Keogh told Judge Ryan.

"I said it was a serious incident and that I was going on leave and requested the detective branch to look at it," he said.

He wrote a letter in response to the query of Supt Murray saying the criticisms were "nothing short of a form of harassment towards me".

"If they didn't look at Pulse then that's negligence on their behalf," he told the tribunal.

"It was wrong and it should never have been re-classified."

Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, put it to Gda Keogh that the investigation was re-classified as the injured party was not pursuing and that Supt Murray felt it "the right thing to do".

Mr McGuinness asked how the re-classification amounted to harassment or bullying of Gda Keogh.

"Firstly, it's the massaging of crime figures," said Gda Keogh.

"Then, there's the 'to-ing and fro-ing' between the superintendent and myself [by letter].

"Then, there's the date of the re-classification that Supt Murray had done - that comes at the time that he is still writing to me about the 'serious' incident of the robbery of a person. Yet the case is gone to 'non-crime'.

"He [Supt Murray] had it closed down. It's a month of reams of paper to me and it's only that I go into Pulse to check it that I find out that it's been re-classified and he's had it closed off.

"Other incidents I put on Pulse were also re-classified."

Gda Keogh told the judge that the re-classifications and the scrutiny his work received amounted to the "discrediting of my policing work".

"In October, Garda A was suspended and every day I'm coming into work to be met with questions and explanations, even on the taking of statements, which is ridiculous.

"So, whatever I do at work, it'll be scrutinised so much that I won't be able to function."

Judge Ryan suggested that "fiddling" of crime figures might be what Gda Keogh was alleging, to which Gda Keogh said: "I'm not alleging corruption."