Monday 23 April 2018

Cooke Report says GSOC overstepped mark in setting up bugging investigation


Fionnan Sheahan, Group Political Editor

THE report into the alleged bugging of the Garda Ombudsman’s Office has found GSOC overstepped the mark in setting up a special investigation into their suspicions of surveillance, has learned.

The Cooke Report also says the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission should have notified the Department of Justice and Garda Siochana about the allegations.

The report has “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 GSOC office in Dublin city centre.

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

The report says GSOC went too far in setting up a public interest investigation into the alleged bugging.

And it finds GSOC did have an obligation to report the issue to the Garda Commissioner and the Justice Minister.

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”.

The report concludes there is "no evidence to support the contention" there was surveillance.

The report also says there is "no evidence" to support the claim gardai were involved in the bugging.

Meanwhile, a statement from GSOC at 9pm this evening said: "We have just downloaded the report by Judge Cooke, following his Inquiry."

"We are reading it now and will make a statement as soon as possible, once we have read it fully."

Meanwhile, Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan commented tonight on the publication of the report by Judge John Cooke.

"Judge Cooke's detailed and comprehensive report is currently being reviewed closely by myself and my senior management team. Following this review, our response will be provided to the Minister for Justice as requested.

"An Garda Síochána acknowledges Judge Cooke's finding that 'the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance...took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána'."

Ms O'Sullivan said An Garda Siochana is committed to building on its relationship with GSOC.

"An Garda Síochána also acknowledges that the working relationship between An Garda Síochána and GSOC needs to be more constructive."

"The relationship does continue to improve and An Garda Síochána is committed to building on that positive engagement with GSOC so as to ensure that there is an independent, objective and effective relationship between us, which is vital for maintaining public trust in policing. Proposed revisions to the Garda Síochána Act 2005 in this regard are welcome."

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