Gilmore insists no State institution authorised to ‘bug’ Garda watchdog
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore today insisted no institution of the State was authorised to put the Garda Ombudsman's office under surveillance.
During angry Dail exchanges, the Labour leader said that the Garda Ombudsman should also have told Justice Minister Alan Shatter of its suspicions about surveillance late last year.
Mr Gilmore said the Garda Ombudsman Commission itself acknowledged it should have told the Justice Minister before he was left to read about it in a Sunday newspaper last week.
Under pressure from Fianna Fail's Niall Collins and Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald, the Tanaiste said the Government fully accepted that the Garda Ombudsman's office was completely independent.
He said the Government was concerned that there were even suspicions of surveillance being carried out on the Ombudsman's offices.
FF's Niall Collins said the Government had tried to downplay a very serious issue from the start and contradicted its own statements.
SF's Mary Lou McDonald challenged Mr Gilmore to say clearly if he believed that no organ of State was authorised to spy on the Garda Ombudsman.
The Labour leader emphatically replied: "Am I satisfied that no organ of State was authorised to put the Garda Ombudsman's office under surveillance? Yes I am," Mr Gilmore told the Dail.