If a matter is referred to GSOC, does An Garda Síochána have no further involvement in its investigation?


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.

However, in practice, a division of responsibilities is generally agreed between the senior officers of GSOC and An Garda Síochána at the scene and, based on this, there are generally parallel investigations by the two organisations. GSOC’s main concern will be to establish whether there is evidence that conduct by a garda member, be it criminal or non-criminal, may have contributed to death or serious harm.
An Garda Síochána will generally retain responsibility for the investigation of any possible criminal offences by other individuals involved.The above sections of the Protocols say that, if one organisation has what is considered to be a more urgent investigation, based on organisational or evidential requirements, that organisation will take the lead; and where both organisations are investigating matters of equal importance, the lead will generally rest with GSOC.
This will be kept under review by the Senior Investigating Officers of each organisation. Where there is an issue in determining the level of seriousness of the investigations, the matter will be resolved at a more senior level. If it is agreed that a GSOC officer should take responsibility for the scene, it may be necessary for garda members to operate under their direction at the scene. Instruction will normally be via the most senior garda officer at the scene, but may be direct if appropriate.

  • What information can GSOC disclose about its investigations

    In deciding what and to whom certain information is disclosed, GSOC must balance its confidentiality and privacy obligations with its duty to be transparent and open in its work. People directly involved in GSOC investigations—including the people who make complaints and the gardaí who are the subject of investigations—have a legal right to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation which relates to them (click below for more information). Read More
  • Will GSOC send my complaint back to the Garda Síochána?

    Complaints involving criminal matters are dealt with by a GSOC officer. If it's about a possible breach of Garda discipline, then it will likely be dealt with by a senior Garda officer on our behalf. Sometimes GSOC supervise these investigations. If it's about a possible breach of Garda discipline, and it's deemed suitable, you may have the option of having the matter resolved through Local Intervention. If you agree to this your complaint will be sent to a Garda Inspector. 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
  • What are my rights and obligations if a complaint is made against me?

    Your rights and obligations depend on the nature of the complaint and the way that it is investigated, or dealt with. 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