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.

If the complaint against you is deemed inadmissible, you will be notified in writing by the Garda Ombudsman that a complaint was made against you but it was inadmissible and no action will be taken. (See the question on inadmissible complaints for the reasons for this.)

Prior to an admissibility decision being made, cases are recorded by GSOC on its case management system as ‘queries’. At this stage GSOC may consider the query suitable for Local Intervention. GSOC will contact the complainant asking if they are willing to try to resolve the matter in this way. If the complainant is willing, a nominated Garda Inspector, who manages the process on behalf of the Garda Síochána, contacts the complainant by phone to identify what actions or outcomes he/ she is seeking to achieve. Typically, the Inspector then has a discussion with the garda member concerned to explore what may have led to the issue. The process is not about apportioning blame, it is about addressing the issue raised and learning from what has happened in order to prevent a re-occurrence.

(See the FAQ on Local Intervention for more information on this.)

If it is deemed admissible and not considered suitable for informal resolution or local intervention, GSOC will send a notification to An Garda Síochána, Internal Affairs. This notification will be forwarded to you through your Divisional/Regional Office. The notification will tell you the nature of the complaint, the name of the complainant, and the type of investigation to be carried out. This may be:

  • an investigation under section 98 (an investigation into allegations of any behaviour that may amount to a criminal offence). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a GSOC investigator. You can expect to be contacted by them during the course of the investigation to get your account of the incident, ask you about any independent witnesses or evidence that you may be aware of, etc. The investigator will give you their contact details so you can ask any questions or raise any concerns directly with them.
  • an investigation under section 94 (an investigation into allegations of any behaviour that may amount to a breach of the Discipline Regulations). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a Garda Síochána Investigating Officer (GSIO). It may, in a minority of cases, be supervised by a GSOC investigator. You will be contacted by, or on behalf of, the GSIO.
  • an investigation under section 95 (an investigation into noncriminal matters). If this is the case, it will be carried out by a GSOC investigator. You can expect to be contacted by them during the course of the investigation to inform you of the nature of the allegations and your rights and obligations, get your account of the incident, ask you about any independent witnesses or evidence that you may be aware of, etc. The investigator will give you their contact details so you can ask any questions or raise any concerns directly with them.
  • 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
  • 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. 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
  • What happens following a referral under section 102?

    If a matter is referred to GSOC 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
  • 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
  • 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