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Controversial GSOC chairman Simon O'Brien quits


Simon O'Brien

Simon O'Brien

Simon O'Brien

The controversial chairman of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, Simon O'Brien, has resigned less than four months after he said that he had no intention of quitting.

Former senior London police officer Mr O'Brien will leave his position with GSOC at the end of the month and is due to take up a role as the chief executive of the Pensions Ombudsman Service for the UK in February.

Last night, a source close to Mr O'Brien insisted that he was not resigning because of his perceived unpopularity with gardai but because "he had been given an opportunity to go back home which will allow him to spend more time with his young family after working in Ireland for the last five years".

Mr O'Brien had been under pressure to step down after Judge John Cooke's report revealed that there was no evidence to back up his claims that GSOC's offices were bugged.

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter stated that he could not continue in his role, but Mr O'Brien said at the time he would not be resigning in the wake of the investigation.

Mr O'Brien, who did not wish to do an interview, said in a statement yesterday: "I have been in Ireland for five years in two posts. This is a significant opportunity and I am looking forward to the new challenge. The new post will bring me back home to be with my wife and young family in London."

A GSOC spokeswoman told the Herald that two other GSOC commissioners, Kieran Fitzgerald and Carmel Foley, have "no intention" of leaving their posts following Mr O'Brien's resignation.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald thanked Mr O'Brien for "the important contribution he made in his role as Chairperson of GSOC".