Sunday 28 December 2014

'No evidence at all' of bugging at GSOC - Justice Minister Alan Shatter

Published 18/02/2014 | 21:03

Alan Shatter
Alan Shatter

THERE is 'no evidence at all' that the Garda Ombudsman's offices were bugged, Justice Minister Alan Shatter has said.

In a strongly-worded speech to the Dail Mr Shatter said he had a new report which clearly showed that there were simple explanations for matters which caused suspicions that the Garda supervisory body was under surveillance last autumn.

The Justice Minister also confirmed reports in the Irish Independent that one of the concerns about interference with the Ombudsman's wifi system was more likely to be a harmless and random link to another wifi system in a coffee shop in the same building.

He also utterly dismissed allegations of wrong-doing by An Garda Siochana.

But Mr Shatter also said the Government was going ahead with its decision to appoint a retired High Court Judge to examine all the issues surrounding the 10-day-old allegations concerning the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) headquarters in central Dublin.

He was doing this because of the intense controversy and  to allay any remaining public concerns.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan , inset, Simon O'Brien, chairman of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission

Rejecting Sinn Fein criticisms of his role as Justice Minister, he said he had always been a strong advocate of independent supervision of An Garda Siochana and had recently moved to strengthen GSOC powers.

Mr Shatter said a whole raft of new information had come into his possession over the last week to cause him to initiate an independent examination of all documents by a former High Court Judge.

The Justice Minister said the original report for GSOC done by British security consultants Verrimus had been reviewed by another firm RITS.  The RITS reports challenged Verrimus conclusions and found there was no evidence of surveillance. "That is no evidence at all, not merely definitive evidence," Mr Shatter said.

Read more: Opposition critical that Shatter will set terms of judicial inquiry

Read more: Cabinet: High Court judge to lead probe into 'bugging' affair at GSOC

Read Paul Williams' report on GSOC: Paul Williams: All sides want to draw a line under this sorry mess

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