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Monday 11 December 2017

'Ireland has work to do'

Caroline Crawford

Caroline Crawford

FINANCIAL Services Ombudsman Bill Prasifka said Ireland has more work to do to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the country's ombudsmen.

Pointing in particular to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Mr Prasifka said he believed it did not have "effective powers".

Mr Prasifka stressed that the principle of any ombudsman office was independence and effectiveness.

"If you are handling complaints against the executive you must be independent of the executive for that to work," he said.

He said a serious issue hampering GSOC was that it does not have powers to deliver redress to the injured party.

"They do the investigation and then report to the Commissioner, who decides where to take it from there. Nothing is ever done to give redress to the injured party and that really limits their effectiveness. It fell down on issues of effectiveness," he said.

Speaking at the Burren Law School, Mr Prasifka also pointed to the fact that despite legislation being passed in 2009, a Legal Services Ombudsman has yet to be appointed.

"The Legal Service Ombudsman was never established and I think the Department of Justice is now going in a different direction in that regard. But the bodies we do have should be effective and we have some work to do with them," he added.

Irish Independent

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