independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Dispute over role of Defence Forces watchdog

A FORMER army officer cannot hold the post of Defence Forces Ombudsman, the High Court has heard.

The force's representative organisation, PDFORRA, has brought a challenge aimed at seeking the removal of newly appointed Ombudsman Patrick Anthony McCourt.

Earlier this month, President Michael D Higgins, on the recommendation of the Government, appointed Mr McCourt, a barrister and a former army officer.

The Ombudsman's role is to deal with complaints made by Defence Forces members after existing internal grievance procedures have been exhausted or not dealt with.

In its challenge, PDFORRA argues that Mr McCourt cannot hold the post as he is a former officer.

They say the person holding the post cannot be held by either a civil servant or member of the Defence Forces. They also claim that he was appointed on a part time basis.

Permission to bring the challenge was granted, on an ex-parte (one-side only) basis by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

Irish Independent

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