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Garda bugging claims report cost just €10k

THE Government's Cooke 
report, which found no evidence of surveillance at the offices of the Garda Ombudsman, cost the taxpayer over €10,000 to produce.

The majority of the expense incurred by former High Court judge John Cooke related to stenography - the transcribing of notes by a professional.

A total of €6,043 was spent on this service, while a further €4,242 was spent on secretarial and IT facilities.

The remainder of Mr Cooke's bill, which was paid for by the Department of Justice, related to mobile phone expenses, postage and stationery and office supplies.

The overall bill incurred by Mr Cooke and his staff totalled €10,474, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.

A separate government-
commissioned report into garda whistleblower claims has yet to be costed because its author, Sean Guerin SC, has not submitted his invoice.

Mr Cooke's report, published on June 10, found that the office of the Garda Ombudsman (GSOC) was never bugged and there was no basis for claims the gardai had put the watchdog under surveillance.

The investigation was established following a report by the Sunday Times which claimed that gardai bugged the GSOC offices on Middle Abbey Street.

The claims sent shockwaves through political and policing circles and created deep tensions between the force and GSOC.

Mr Cooke's report claimed that GSOC should have notified Mr Shatter that it had commissioned its own investigation into its suspicions of surveillance.

There was "no evidence" that any such surveillance took place, the retired judge concluded.

The detailed investigation by Mr Cooke was completed following the shock resignations of Mr Shatter and former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Whistleblower

Mr Guerin, whose report into whistleblower allegations is being challenged by Mr Shatter, has yet to submit his invoice to the Government.

"No invoice has been received to date in respect of the Guerin report," a spokeswoman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said last night.

The criminal lawyer recommended the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into claims by former garda Seargeant Maurice McCabe of serious garda misconduct.

Mr Guerin's findings are currently being challenged in the High Court by Mr Shatter, who claims that his failure to be interviewed represents an "abuse" of fair procedure.

hnews@herald.ie


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