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Harris appointment sparks complaint to Justice Minister

Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig.

A Donegal councillor has written to the Justice Minister over ‘deep concerns’ he has about the appointment of Drew Harris as Garda Commissioner.

The PSNI Deputy Chief Constable was appointed to the State’s top policing post following an international selection process.

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Drew Harris’s appointment has not been without its critics however, among them Glenties Municipal District Councillor Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig.

He has written to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to raise concerns he has over Mr Harris’s links to MI5 and his failure to reopen an investigation into collusion between the security forces and a loyalist murder squad during the 1970s.

In his letter, Councillor Mac Giolla Easbuig said his issues were two-fold – state security and the risk to transparency in policing.

“In the first instance, it is a matter of record that in the course of Mr Harris’s duties with the PSNI he was tasked to liaise closely with the British intelligence agency MI5,” the independent elected member wrote.

Ireland’s new Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris.

“It is difficult to believe that such a connection can ever be definitively terminated, thereby potentially putting Irish state security at risk of being compromised by a foreign intelligence agency.”

Councillor Mac Giolla Easbuig said he also had grave concerns over a decision in 2010 by Drew Harris not to reopen an investigation into the so-called Glennane Gang, a loyalist death squad believed to have murdered over 100 Catholics during the 1970s.

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“While this action by Mr Harris raises questions about state collusion, it also points to a disdain for transparency.

“In light of what I have raised, I would therefore ask that you reconsider the appointment of Mr Harris and to replace him with an officer more likely to command the confidence of the citizens of this country,” Councillor Mac Giolla Easbuig urged Minister Flanagan.

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