independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

I was wrong about watchdog – Enda Kenny

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has conceded that the Garda Ombudsman was not strictly legally obliged to tell the Government about the suspected bugging of its offices.

However, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) bugging affair has continued to be see bitter exchanges between the Coalition and Opposition.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail clashed as to whether the GSOC was obliged to report the bugging and a conversation between a garda whistleblower and a confidential recipient of information on wrongdoing within the Garda Siochana.

The GSOC has said it regrets that it did not report the matter to Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

And the Government has been critical of GSOC's failure to report the matter, claiming it was in breach of the law.

However, Mr Kenny admitted the GSOC legislation says the Ombudsman "may" report such matters.

"I accept that the wording of the legislation in respect of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission does not require GSOC to report to the minister but the provision in the law means the commission may report to the minister," he said.

EXCESSIVE

"If my words were excessive in their meaning, then I regret that," he added.

Mr Kenny has also asked the Department of Justice for a report on a transcript of a conversation between the Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly and garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

Mr Martin quoted from the transcript, which alleged Mr Connolly told Sergeant McCabe the minister would come after him if his complaints became public.

Mr Kenny said there was no evidence Mr Shatter had a conversation with the confidential recipient. However, the Taoiseach said it was a matter of public interest and he was concerned about it.

Irish Independent

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