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Gsoc leak source didn't understand 'bug' investigation


Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

An investigation into the leak of details of alleged bugging at the headquarters of the Garda Ombudsman Commission has concluded that the source did not understand what was being revealed.

The leak, which was reported by the 'Sunday Times' last February, created uproar and led to a series of events that ultimately resulted in the resignations of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Justice Minister Alan Shatter and the transfer of Justice Department Secretary General Brian Purcell.

The article indicated that the gardai were responsible for bugging the commission's (Gsoc's) headquarters.

A Government-ordered inquiry subsequently found there was no evidence of any bugging.

Last night, Gsoc published a second statement on the outcome of its internal inquiry, carried out by Senior Counsel Mark Connaughton, after Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald called for further details.

It showed that Mr Connaughton concluded that some of the content of the article was so inaccurate that either the actual findings of a security sweep by British firm Verrimus, on behalf of Gsoc, were deliberately exaggerated and conveyed that way to the 'Sunday Times' journalist or there was a lack of understanding on the part of the source.

Mr Connaughton said he believed the latter option to be much closer to the truth.

He was satisfied that at some stage after the security sweep began the 'Sunday Times' had received confidential information from somebody associated with the investigation, that assisted in the preparation of the article.

He had not been able to establish when or from whom that information was received, or the exact nature of the information disclosed.

He was also satisfied that the journalist did not have a copy of the confidential report and it was possible there might have been a number of sources, some of which could have been external.

The number of people within Gsoc who had knowledge of the sweep extended beyond its three commissioners.

Irish Independent