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Security sweep at GSOC 'was not routine'

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Row: Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins

Row: Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins

Row: Justice Minister Alan Shatter. Photo: Collins

THE Garda Ombudsman Commission ordered a security sweep because their internal business was getting into the public domain, their chairman Simon O'Brien said last night.

Mr O'Brien's assertion contradicts the version of events given by the Taoiseach and the Justice Minister Alan Shatter to the Dail on Tuesday, who said it was a "routine" security sweep.

The Ombudsman Commission chairman also said he suspected that his organisation's Dublin headquarters were "under some form of surveillance" and he had at one stage suspected members of the Garda Siochana were involved.

Apology

But he also paid tribute to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, with whom he met for two hours on Tuesday, and the gardai generally.

Former London police commander Mr O'Brien, who heads the commission in charge of Garda oversight, spent three hours answering queries before an Oireachtas committee.

He repeated his apology for not alerting the Justice Minister to the surveillance report findings in September/October of last year.

Mr O'Brien said he made this "strategic decision" all on his own, before last Christmas.

He did not tell the minister because the report results did not meet the required evidence standard to conclude an offence had been committed and he did not want to make any allegations against the Garda.

"We have no evidence that An Garda Siochana was surveilling our organisation," he added emphatically.

The Ombudsman Commission chairman said he was "outraged" that the report of the British security consultants had been leaked to a newspaper.

He said up to seven people within his organisation had access to the report and he was now conducting an internal inquiry into this leak.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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