Wednesday 22 November 2017

Justice Minister cautions gardaí and watchdog

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has issued a warning over the strained relations between the gardaí and their watchdog, telling them they must have "cooperation".

Ms Fitzgerald warned both the gardaí and GSOC that "they have to work together" even if they did not "like one another very much".

She was speaking in the wake of the independent report from retired judge John Cooke, who found that an "atmosphere of frustration and tension" between the Gardai Siochana Ombudsman Commission and senior ranking gardai had influenced the watchdog's decision to carry out a security sweep of their offices after it was suspected of being bugged.

In an interview with the Law Society Gazette, Ms Fitzgerald said the decision to use an external agency to sweep the GSOC office is "now water under the bridge".

"We are where we are in relation to it. It had a lot of ripple effects in a variety of ways. I felt that Justice Cooke's report was excellent and really dealt with that issue. It's about moving forward now."

She acknowledged that there are "always going to be tensions between GSOC and the gardaí" but hoped this can be used in a "constructive" manner.

"What I say to the gardaí is that GSOC is 'the only show in town' in relation to complaints. It has to work - and they have to work together.

"I don't expect them to even like one another very much, but I expect them to work together and progress complaints and show the public that they and GSOC have their jobs to do."

Irish Independent

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