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Wednesday 17 July 2019

Surge in number of whistleblower complaints to garda watchdog

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Rory Tevlin

Rory Tevlin

The Garda Ombudsman has seen a marked increase in the number of whistleblower complaints, with 13 disclosures so far this year.

This compares with 11 complaints by gardaí to the watchdog over the previous three years.

The figures come as the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) secured the sign-off for five extra staff from the Department of Justice to deal with a backlog of cases.

While GSOC welcomed the recruitment of extra staff, it pointed out that since the Protected Disclosures Act was passed in 2014, its office had not received any additional personnel.

This act replaced the existing 'confidential recipient' system for whistleblowers. A statement issued by the watchdog outlined that in the early part of 2017 the ombudsman had seen "an increase" in the number of disclosures under the act.

Since the legislation was brought in there have been 24 disclosures to GSOC. The statement said this "important work" had been added to an "already congested workload".

"The allocation of five staff members is welcomed by GSOC and the steps are already under way to fill the posts.

"The commission further welcomes the commitment by the Tánaiste that it is hoped to build on this starting allocation of personnel in the context of the estimates for 2018.

"This is a commitment GSOC will pursue into the future," the statement concluded.

Irish Independent

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