Monday 19 August 2019

Former Justice Minister Shatter says GSOC bosses should not 'remain in office'

John Downing

John Downing

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter launched a scathing attack on the bosses of the watchdog Garda Ombudsman service, claiming they cannot continue in their jobs.

Mr Shatter was himself forced to quit as Justice Minister on May 7 last after months of controversy about the Gardaí - including unproven allegations that offices of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) were bugged.

Today in the Dail Mr Shatter delivered a stinging attack on the three GSOC bosses singling out especially its main commissioner, Simon O'Brien, a former senior London policeman.

Mr Shatter accused the GSOC bosses of trying to cover up their own incompetence and their failure to uphold their legal obligations to keep him informed when he was Justice Minister.

The former Justice Minister said the three Commissioners cannot continue in office - especially as it was planned to give the watchdog additional legal powers.

Read more: GSOC secret bugging report was not leaked to journalist, says mole inquiry

Mr Shatter specifically criticised the most recent GSOC announcement that they had not been able to find out who leaked details of the suspected bugging to media last February.

He said that finding was not acceptable - nor was it acceptable for GSOC to simply say they were now abandoning their inquiry into the leaks.  

"I do not believe it tenable that the GSOC Commissioners remain in office nor is it acceptable that the matter of the leak now be abandoned," the former Justice Minister told the Dail.

Read more: GSOC's failure to identify its 'leaker' is a worry - Gardai

Mr Shatter again repeated criticisms of how GSOC had handled the suspected bugging from October of last year. 

He repeated his view that the GSOC bosses failed to fulfil their legal obligations to keep him up to speed with their investigations as Justice Minister. 

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