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Sunday 21 September 2014

Preperations for Garda phone recording probe will take several weeks

Phone-recording probe preparations to take several weeks, say officials

John Downing Political Correspondent

Published 28/03/2014 | 02:30

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PREPARATIONS for the Statutory Commission of Inquiry into the recording of garda station phone conversations are set to take several weeks at the very least.

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Government officials said that a senior judge will be chosen to head the statutory probe and terms of reference will then be laid down.

"But we must first await the outcome of a garda investigation into these tapes along with a review by the Department of Justice.

"Things will proceed from there," a government spokesman told the Irish Independent.

Officials insist that they are very aware of the urgency of dealing with the matter, which could disrupt cases currently before the courts, as well as delay upcoming cases, and cause a review of matters already dealt with.

"This business could not be more urgent and that is why the Government moved so promptly to announce the inquiry. But preparations are needed and will take time," the spokesman added.

Terms of reference, or ground rules and conduct guidelines, were very quickly laid down for two other 'reviews' recently announced to investigate garda issues.

Retired High Court Judge John Cooke is looking at alleged surveillance at the HQ of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, while senior counsel Sean Guerin is examining allegations about quashing of driver penalty points and more serious alleged malpractices.

Both these 'reviews' are expected to deliver results within weeks.

But officials are keen to stress that the Statutory Commission of Inquiry into the tapes is a far more complex task.

Irish Independent

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