Monday 26 September 2016

Majority of people have no confidence in us, admit GSOC

Robin Schiller

Published 19/07/2016 | 02:30

The Ombudsman’s office also said more than one third of complainants did not co-operate with investigations or withdrew their complaints, making investigation difficult.
The Ombudsman’s office also said more than one third of complainants did not co-operate with investigations or withdrew their complaints, making investigation difficult.

More than half of the population have no confidence in the ability of the Garda Ombudsman.

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The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) - which published its 2015 Annual Report yesterday - also found almost a third of people believe it is part of An Garda Siochana as opposed to being an independent body.

In its 'Public Attitudes' section of the 2015 report, the Ombudsman found "less than half of the population is confident of the ability of the Garda Ombudsman to resolve problems".

However, almost two-thirds of people have confidence in its fairness. The Garda Ombudsman - whose role is to investigate possible misconduct by members of An Garda Siochana - received 1,996 complaints throughout 2015. Of these, 803 were deemed inadmissible.

The Garda Ombudsman received 40 complaints relating to anti-water meter protests in a 12 month period between 2014 and 2015, of which 29 were seen as admissible.

Overall, GSOC felt the garda response to water protests was "proportionate" and that there was no clear evidence of garda misconduct in the majority of cases. One incident was referred to the DPP, who eventually directed no prosecution.

The Ombudsman's office also said more than one third of complainants did not co-operate with investigations or withdrew their complaints, making investigation difficult.

"There was insufficient evidence in many of the other investigations to warrant criminal or disciplinary action".

The Ombudsman's office also ordered a survey of public attitudes to its work at the end of 2015, which found only half of people are confident the watchdog can resolve a problem.

It found 83pc agreed or strongly agreed the Garda Ombudsman makes gardai more accountable for their actions

Last year the Ombudsman's chair, Simon O'Brien, stepped down and was replaced by High Court Judge Ms Justice Ellen Ring.

Last year, GSOC was allocated with an additional €1m to investigate the alleged cancellation of penalty points.

Irish Independent

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