independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Watchdog to get more teeth when old office shuts

GARDA whistleblowers will make their complaints in the future about alleged wrongdoing in the force to the Ombudsman Commission.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has disclosed he intends to shut down the office of the confidential recipient, who up to now has been handling complaints from members of the force.

But changes in legislation have to be introduced to allow the Ombudsman take over.

The Ombudsman Commission was set up by the Garda Siochana Act 2005 to deal with complaints from the public.

Mr Shatter revealed he intended to make amendments to the legislation to give the power to the Ombudsman to investigate allegations lodged by members of the force.

These will form of part of the Protected Disclosures Bill, which was introduced in the Dail on Tuesday, and is intended to offer protection to whistleblowers, including serving gardai.

Explaining his decision to axe the confidential recipient, Mr Shatter said: "It's an office created by my predecessor, which gives rise to all sorts of difficulties and allegations and conflicts, which are unfair to members of the force and to a member of the force, who has a valid complaint to make."

Irish Independent

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