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 it 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
  • 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
  • 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. An Garda Síochána Employee Assistance Service is a confidential service to discuss any life situation causing concern. Read More
  • Can GSOC get the Garda Síochána to return my property?

    No. If your property is part of a Garda investigation, it will be held until the investigation is complete. Then you must ask the Garda Síochána for it back directly. If you cannot get your property back at that stage, GSOC can look into whether any gardaí were in breach of discipline for not returning it. However, while this could result in disciplinary action against a garda, it is not guaranteed to get you your property back. Read More
  • 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
  • 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