Sometimes it makes most sense for the Garda Ombudsman to try to work with both parties to resolve a situation informally. This process is governed by s.90 of the Garda Síochána Act, 2005.
It is a means of resolving situations more quickly and effectively – which benefits the complainant – and without an official disciplinary process – which benefits the garda. It is much quicker than a formal investigation: median time taken to close these cases is approx. 100 days, versus over 250 days for formal disciplinary investigations (2016). It also allows more flexibility to achieve a constructive outcome.
There are GSOC staff members trained in mediation methods to manage this process. The usual method is that, once a signed consent has been received from both parties, the mediator will contact each one by phone to discuss the issue in question and how it might be resolved in a manner acceptable to both parties. Normally it is not necessary for parties to meet face-to-face. ALL conversations had after written consent are confidential and none of the information may be used outside that particular Informal Resolution process, e.g. in other investigations or court cases.
Under current legislation, Informal Resolution may only be used if both the complainant AND the garda being complained of give their consent.
You can download the leaflet about how informal resolution is conducted below.