Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cooke Report finds no evidence of bugging of Garda Ombudsman

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

The report into the alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman’s Office has found “no evidence” to back up the claim there was surveillance, learned.

The Cooke Report is due to be discussed by ministers this evening and published by the Government tonight.

The report says there was no evidence members of the Garda Siochana were involved in the bugging of the GSCO office in Dublin city centre.

But the report is critical of the poor working relationship between the Gardai and GSOC.

Retired High Court Judge John Cooke was tasked with examining allegations that the offices of the GSOC on Abbey Street in Dublin were subject to “unlawful surveillance”.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny received copies of the report on the highly anticipated Cooke report at the weekend.

Mr Kenny discussed the outcome of the report examining the alleged bugging of the Office of the Garda Ombudsman with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The allegations, which first emerged in February, sent shockwaves through justice and political circles.

Mr Kenny has said he will ensure the report is deliberated on by the Government in the shortest time and then published.

The Cooke report is expected to identify the sequence of events and facts leading up to the inquiry and aims to review and assess any evidence of a security breach or attempted security breach at GSOC.

If necessary, the inquiry will make recommendations on how to improve the existing security arrangements of GSOC. There could also be recommendations with regard to legislation.

GSOC was not given a right of reply to the Government-ordered investigation into allegations of the bugging of its headquarters.

However, it is understood that Mr Cooke did meet with officials from GSOC in recent weeks but has not given the Garda Ombudsman’s Office a copy of the report.

The terms of reference for Mr Cooke’s report do not oblige him to report back to GSOC.

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

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