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.

  • Will GSOC send my complaint back to the Garda Síochána?

    If your complaint is dealt with by informal resolution or if it is a criminal matter, it will be dealt with by a GSOC officer. If it is about a possible breach of Garda discipline, then it will most likely be dealt with by a senior Garda officer on our behalf. Sometimes GSOC will decide to supervise these investigations. If we do not supervise and you are unhappy with the outcome, you are entitled to ask us to review how the investigation was undertaken by the Garda officer. Read More
  • How will I be notified of a complaint made against me?

    Depending on whether the complaint is admissible or inadmissible, and depending on how it is to be dealt with if it is admissible, there are different notification processes set out in the Act. Read More
  • How long do complaint investigations typically take?

    The time taken to close an investigation depends on the level of complexity of the case, but to get an indicator, you can look in the Publications section of the website to find the median time taken to close investigations by type, per quarter. Read More
  • Can I make a complaint about a GSOC staff member?

    Yes. We have a complaints process, whereby complaints about our staff are handled in line with the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour. This Code sets out the standards required by all civil servants, including GSOC staff. Read More
  • Can GSOC have my car released?

    Cars can only be released on payment of the relevant fine. Depending on who issued the fine, there are different appeals processes in place to try to get your money back if you believe the fine was unjustified. Read More
  • Can GSOC get the Garda Síochána to investigate the matter I reported?

    No. We can look into whether any gardaí were in breach of discipline for any neglect of duty, or lack of action. We cannot oblige them to take any action. Read More