Tuesday 19 February 2019

Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan sends bugging allegations to GSOC

Garda Commissioner sends bugging allegations to GSOC
Garda Commissioner sends bugging allegations to GSOC
John Downing

John Downing

THE Garda Ombudsman is expected to probe allegations by former gardai that witnesses’ homes were illegally bugged.

But the Fennelly Commission - already tasked with investigating the bugging of phone calls by gardai - is understood to be powerless to act on the claims due its restrictive terms of reference.

Two former gardaí complained to the Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Nial Fennelly, that they witnessed the unauthorised bugging of witnesses’ homes and at other sites as far back as 1992.

The allegations by the two un-named gardai were reported RTÉ radio's This Week programme today.

Garda sources said Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan forwarded the men's claims to the Garda Síochóna Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

The two, one of whom is a former garda and the other a garda former sergeant, were based in Cork. They say the unauthorised bugging occurred in the course of murder investigation.

They specifically say a device was illegally put in a family home to listen in on conversations between a woman and her father, who was a suspect in the case.

The former gardai further allege that an authorised device was later placed in a garda station to eavesdrop on other conversations.

It is understood that the Fennelly Commission can only examine alleged phone bugging by gardai.

The two former gardai put their allegations in 2007 to the Morris Tribunal which examined garda misconduct in Donegal.

But their claims were ruled to be outside the remit of that inquiry also.

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