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.