GSOC are 'answerable to nobody but themselves'
INVESTIGATION officers from the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) have been accused of failing to maintain the high standards they "religiously" expect from members of the garda force.
The allegation was levelled yesterday at the Garda Representative Association's annual conference.
The conference heard that there was more than a perception that by cloaking the Ombudsman in a "title of independence", they had been made answerable to nobody except themselves on how they interacted with gardai.
Outgoing association president John Parker (inset) said: "We are told gardai should have faith in the ability of GSOC to investigate a complaint impartially, but GSOC do not appear to show any faith in An Garda Siochana". He said GSOC had undermined the role of An Garda Siochana as the primary crime investigative body in the country.
Mr Parker said that after concluding its own investigation into allegations of bugging of the GSOC headquarters, the Ombudsman should then have handed over the case to the gardai. By not doing so, he claimed, GSOC had publicly convicted the gardai of the alleged offence.
Mr Parker said GSOC chairman Simon O'Brien had also acknowledged it had a persistent leak in its office and that it pointed to one of its staff at senior level "having committed offences under the Official Secrets Act".
He wanted to know why this also had not been handed over to the gardai to investigate.