Senior garda in Donegal tells Charleton Tribunal she did not deliberately omit making a note

The most senior garda in Donegal has said she did not deliberately omit making a note at the time of a decision to begin an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse against whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison, writes Gerard Cunningham.

Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn directed that Inspector Goretti Sheridan begin an investigation on 29 September 2013, following a report from the mother of Garda Harrison's partner Marisa Simms.

In the current module, the tribunal is looking at contacts between gardaí and the HSE/Tusla relating to Garda Harrison.

On 6 October 2013, Inspector Sheridan took a statement from Ms Simms which led to referrals to the HSE/Tusla and GSOC. Ms Simms later withdrew her statement.

Mark Harty SC, on behalf of Garda Harrison, said there was no contemporaneous record of the Chief Superintendent making the decision, or recording the reasons for the decision, in her own written record.

Garda Keith Harrison

The barrister said that Chief Superintendent McGinn's evidence should not be accepted by the tribunal.

Mr Harty said that after the Morris tribunal, new garda directives required officers to keep daily journals, and to record the reasons for any arrests, reasons for warrants issued, and "all matters and incidents of importance."

The barrister said that Chief Supt McGinn, who had worked as the garda liaison to the Morris tribunal, would have been more familiar than most with its recommendations, and the reasons for them.

Chief Supt McGinn said it was not possible to write down every decision that is made at the time.

"If every time I had a conversation I was to write it down I would become paralysed with notes," Chief Supt McGinn said.

The Chief Supt said that in her statement prepared for the tribunal in March 2017, she was giving an outline of events and contextualising them.

"I didn't leave it out deliberately. I didn't leave it out intentionally. I didn't include it. There was no ulterior motive. It was quite clear that I appointed her," Chief Superintendent McGinn said.

Mr Harty said the only contemporaneous record of Inspector Sheridan's appointment was in Supt Eugene McGovern's journal, which was then noted in his subsequent statement.

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