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.

  • If GSOC wants to interview me, what can I expect?

    GSOC investigators will make every reasonable effort to accommodate gardaí they need to interview, in terms of date, time and location. Read More
  • Is GSOC part of the Garda Síochána?

    No, we are an independent body. 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
  • 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 investigate conduct of off-duty or retired gardaí?

    Sometimes. A complaint against a garda member can be admitted if it concerns conduct off-duty which would be likely to bring discredit on the Garda Síochána. Investigations following referral, or initiated in the public interest, can look into the conduct of off-duty gardaí. Read More
  • 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