Why am I told that an inadmissible complaint has been made against me and nothing more?


If you receive a letter saying a complaint was made against you but was deemed inadmissible, this means that no action will be taken in relation to it by the Garda Ombudsman, that is, it will not be admitted for investigation.

The single biggest reason why complaints are deemed inadmissible is because whatever they allege happened would not, even if proven, be a breach of discipline, that is, you acted within your rights and duties.

A common example is a complaint by a person who was lawfully issued parking fines and is unhappy about this. They are told that this does not constitute a breach of discipline and that GSOC will not take any action in relation to the complaint.

Section 88 of the Act goes into a lot of detail around admissibility procedures.

  • In relation to admissible complaints, it states that we must notify the Garda Commissioner and provide a copy of the complaint, and that the Garda Commissioner must in turn notify you “and specify the nature of the complaint and the name of the complainant”.
  • In relation to inadmissible complaints, it states that we must notify you directly and “include in the notification the reason for the determination”.

In the context of such specific instructions in relation to notification procedures, we understand that the fact that “the nature of the complaint and the name of the complainant” is specifically included in the Act in relation to admissible complaints, but is omitted from it in relation to inadmissible ones, means that this information should not be given to gardaí in relation to inadmissible complaints.

We think that, because giving this information was not provided for by the Act in relation to inadmissible complaints, to do it could be considered a breach of confidentiality (a breach of section 81 of the Act).

This matter has been the subject of numerous proposals for legislative change, as we understand how frustrating notification without further information can be for a Garda member.

  • What happens following a referral under section 102?

    If a matter is referred to GSOC under section 102, GSOC must investigate, with a view to establishing the facts of the situation and clarifying whether it may have resulted from garda misconduct. In many cases, this will require a GSOC investigator or team of investigators to attend the scene of an incident and work closely with An Garda Síochána teams there. Read More
  • Can GSOC get a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice cancelled?

    No. You need to contact the FCPN office to appeal an FCPN which you believe is unjustified. Read More
  • Can I make a complaint to GSOC about garda misconduct myself?

    Under the Garda Síochána Act, 2005, a Garda member cannot make a complaint about Garda behaviour in the same way that a member of the public can. However, under the Protected Disclosures Act, 2014, gardaí and others working for the Garda Síochána may now confidentially disclose allegations of wrongdoings within the Garda Síochána, to a member of the Ombudsman Commission. Find out more information by clicking the Protected disclosures link on the right hand side of the page. Read More
  • Can GSOC prosecute or impose penalties or sanctions?

    No, GSOC is an investigative agency only. Following a criminal investigation by GSOC, the DPP takes a decision based on the investigation file whether to prosecute or not. Following disciplinary investigations, the Garda Commissioner takes decisions on any appropriate sanctions or actions. Read More
  • If a matter is referred to GSOC, does An Garda Síochána have no further involvement in its i

    Chapter 4 and Appendices A and B of the Protocols between the two organisations are about investigations that coincide. Where a referral is made to GSOC by An Garda Síochána, GSOC has a responsibility to investigate the matter, and this may include investigation of civilian behaviour as well as garda behaviour. Read More
  • Who can I talk to if I am concerned about a GSOC investigation?

    If you have any general questions about the way GSOC operates which are not answered here, we will do our best to answer them. Your GSOC case officer can discuss any case-specific concerns with you. Read More