Sunday 20 April 2014

Complaints range from discourtesy to alleged assault

THE thousands of complaints received by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission range from discourtesy to death in custody.

In the first year since opening its doors, the body has received 2,905 complaints from members of the public and 294 referrals from the Garda Commissioner.

At present, 761 allegations of criminal conduct are being investigated.

Since the inception of the office, the GSOC has sent nine files to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), five of which the director decided not to proceed with prosecution. A decision on the other four has not yet been reached.

Seventeen of 294 garda referrals were about the death of an individual -- 11 in traffic accidents and six in or after garda custody.

Most complaints emerged from the Dublin and Louth/Meath garda divisions as well as Mayo, due to the number of cases resulting from protests against the construction of the Shell gas pipeline.

The GSOC wrote to Justice Minister Brian Lenihan regarding a possible examination of the management of incidents protest, but the minister did not feel it was appropriate to proceed.

Chairman of the GSOC Mr Justice Kevin Haugh said the body was seeking amendments to its governing legislation to concentrate its resources.

Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) director Mark Kelly said the commission should be "given the additional resources it needs," said Mr Kelly.

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