Monday 19 March 2018

Editorial: Hard to heal rift between gardai and watchdog

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission offices in Dublin
The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission offices in Dublin

THE inquiry into the so-called GSOC scandal carried out by retired High Court Judge John Cooke has found no evidence that the offices of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was bugged, let alone that such surveillance was the work of the gardai. "It is clear that the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance of the kind asserted in the 'Sunday Times' article took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Siochana," it says.

Despite Judge Cooke's robust and decisive findings, there are still many commentators who refuse to accept these conclusions, preferring to believe in conspiracy theories and hold firm to the belief that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry were not broad enough. However, it is clear that Mr Cooke examined all the evidence and despite the controversy that dragged on for weeks, decided that there was nothing in the allegations.

Indeed, he went a step further when he found that there was a "mandatory obligation" on GSOC to inform the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and the Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan of its suspicions, something GSOC failed to do until the matter was already in the public domain.

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