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Friday 22 August 2014

Cooke Report: ‘The evidence does not support claim of surveillance’ of Garda Ombudsman

Fionnan Sheahan and Philip Ryan

Published 10/06/2014 | 21:17

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Mr Justice John Cooke
Mr Justice John Cooke

There is no evidence to support claims the Garda Ombudsman’s office was bugged, the official report into the allegations has found.

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The Cooke Report says there’s no evidence back up the claim there was surveillance carried out by Gardai.

“It is clear that the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance of the kind asserted in the Sunday Times article took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána,” the report says.

The report is critical of the poor working relationship between the Gardai and GSOC.

The report into the alleged surveillance has also found the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission also says GSOC should have notified the Minister for Justice of special investigation into the allegations.

“Having commenced, conducted and then closed an investigation in the public interest pursuant to section 102(4) of the Act, there was an obligation upon the Commission to furnish information in relation to its results to both the Minister and the Commissioner. This was the mandatory obligation that arises under Section 103(1) (b) of the Act and not the discretion which the Commission has under Section 80(5) of the Act to make a special report to the Minister drawing attention to matters of gravity or exceptional circumstances that have come to its notice,” it says.

The Cooke Report was published by the Government last night after being discussed by minister.

Retired High Court Judge John Cooke was tasked with examining allegations that the offices of the GSOC on Abbey Street in Dublin were subject to “unlawful surveillance”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny received a copy of the report at the weekend and discussed the contents with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The allegations, which first emerged in February, sent shockwaves through justice and political circles.

The Cooke Report sets out the sequence of events and facts leading up to the inquiry and assessed the evidence of a security breach or attempted security breach at GSOC.

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