What powers do GSOC officers have?


In criminal investigations, GSOC officers have all the powers, immunities and privileges conferred on, and all the duties imposed on, any member of the Garda Síochána. However, unlike members of the Garda Síochána.

If the complaint concerns a possible criminal matter and is being investigated under section 98 of the Act, GSOC officers have “all the powers, immunities and privileges conferred on, and all the duties imposed on, any member of the Garda Síochána”. However, unlike members of the Garda Síochána, GSOC cannot prosecute on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). At the end of a criminal investigation, a file may be sent to the DPP with a recommendation. The DPP takes a decision based on the investigation file whether to prosecute or not.

In disciplinary investigations under section 94(5), which are supervised, GSOC can require the GSIO to keep it informed of the investigation; require interim reports; be present during interviews; and direct the GSIO to investigate further any aspect of the complaint. When GSOC receives the investigator’s final report, if we believe that a breach of discipline may have taken place, we will send a report to the Garda Commissioner with a recommendation (in accordance with the provisions of section 97 of the Act). If there is no evidence of a breach of discipline, the matter may be discontinued and a report need not be sent.

In unsupervised disciplinary investigations under section 94(1), undertaken by a GSIO, GSOC has limited involvement. The Act gives a complainant the right to request GSOC to review the investigation if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. GSOC may write to the Garda Commissioner following a review, if any potential issue is found with the way the disciplinary investigation was conducted, but GSOC does not have the power to change the outcome.

In non-criminal investigations under section 95, GSOC has a number of powers, laid out in section 96 of the Act. Essentially, GSOC can compel a person to attend and provide information that it deems relevant to its investigation, and failure to comply may lead to criminal proceedings. At the end of such an investigation, GSOC must always send a report to the Garda Commissioner, whether there appears to be evidence of a breach of discipline or not.

Upon receiving a report from GSOC, the Garda Commissioner takes a decision regarding any breach of discipline and the application of any sanctions.

  • 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
  • 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 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 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
  • 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