Garda's partner says she did not intend to make statement to gardaí

The partner of garda whistleblower Keith Harrison has told the Disclosures Tribunal that she did not go voluntarily to agarda station and that she never intended to make a statement about him.

Marissa Simms said she was told that gardaí would call to her house if she did not come to Letterkenny Garda Stationand that the garda chief wanted her to come in - writes

She said she was told she was coming in for a chat at the station on 6 October 2013 and she did not realise until afterwards that it had amounted to a statement of complaint.

The statement alleged that Garda Harrison had threatened her. It was sent by gardaí to the child and family agencyTusla, and to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and fed into a criminal investigation.

The tribunal is investigating contacts between gardaí and Tusla about Garda Harrison.

Ms Simms withdrew the statement in January 2014 but at that time, she said the contents were true.

Today, Ms Simms said she never wanted garda intervention in her life.

When at the station, she said she felt afraid when one sergeant told her to "think of the children".

She said it was said more than once and that if she was wavering, if they did not get what they wanted from her, think of the children was mentioned.

She was exhausted and confused at the end of the eight and a half hour interview and she said she was just nodding along to questions. She said words like "abusive" and "aggressive" were not her words and she may have just nodded in agreement.

There were elements of the statement that she said she would never have shared with anyone including details of her partner's suspected infidelities.

Ms Simms disputed several aspects of her statement.

She said there were 14 amendments that she never initialed.She said she had never been put out of her home by Garda Harrison and that she left voluntarily.

Ms Simms also said Garda Harrison had not said he would burn and bury her and that what he said was that she would get burnt by the disagreements with her family.

Counsel for the Tribunal Kathleen Leader said there was a big dispute between the gardaí and Ms Simms about how she went to the station and the statement itself.

Ms Leader asked her about a text she sent to Inspector Goretti Sheridan at 11.15pm that night which said "thanks for everything". Ms Simms said she was not happy giving the statement.

The tribunal also heard that she texted her sister and her ex-husband while she was at the station saying that she was okay.

Ms Leader said the texts could suggest that Ms Simms was ok and was happy at the station but Ms Simms denied this.

The next day, she also texted Inspector Sheridan saying that she asked Garda Harrison to stop calling her or she would get a safety order.

She was also questioned as to why she gave her phone to gardaí two days later if they had treated her badly and pried into her personal life.

Ms Simms said it could have been that she was happy that they investigate Garda Harrison's behaviour towards her.

She said she did not know why she handed it over. Ms Simms said they just asked her for it and she passed it on.

The tribunal also heard of several internet searches conducted by Ms Simms the day after the garda interview.

Ms Simms looked up barring and safety orders and news stories about gardaí or policemen harassing their partners.

Ms Simms said Insp Sheridan had suggested a safety order to her and she was just looking it up. She also said she was just looking up the definition of harassment.

Ms Leader said Ms Simms' phone evidence showed that she seemed determined to pursue a family law matter in terms of safety orders or a criminal investigation by handing over her phone. Ms Simms denied this.

Ms Simms was visibly upset during parts of her evidence and said her life was being torn apart at the tribunal.

She also said the inquiry was only getting "a snippet" of what herself and Garda Harrison had to endure over the past few years.

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