2014 Press Releases and Witness Appeals Archive

31 Dec 2014

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File Type File Name File Size Last Updated

7th November 2014 - Press Release

GSOC welcomes publication of Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill.
271.45 KB 7 Nov 2014

24th October 2014 - Press Release

UPDATED: Fatal road traffic incident in Co. Kildare.
269.41 KB 24 Oct 2014

17th October 2014 - Press Release

Increase in complaints dealt with by GSOC in 2014.
280.01 KB 17 Oct 2014

30th September 2014 - Press Release

UPDATED: Fatal road traffic incident in Co. Louth.
267.16 KB 30 Sep 2014

10th September 2014 - Press Release

Report of a fact-finding investigation into the possible disclosure of confidential information from within GSOC.
278.47 KB 10 Sep 2014

28th August 2014 - Press Release

GSOC responds to referral of road traffic incident in Dublin 22.
225.37 KB 28 Aug 2014

20th August 2014 - Press Release

GSOC welcomes publication of Garda Síochána (Amendment)(No.3) Bill.
287.91 KB 20 Aug 2014

23rd July 2014 - Press Release

GSOC responds to the referral of a road traffic incident in Co. Laois.
185.68 KB 23 Jul 2014

10th July 2014 - Press Release

Report, pursuant to Section 103 of the Garda Síochána Act (2005), into allegations of provision of alcohol to certain Gardaí and related issues.
414.74 KB 10 Jul 2014

3rd July 2014 - Press Release

GSOC publishes Annual Report for 2013.
338.89 KB 3 Jul 2015

11th June 2014 - Press Release

Inquiry into Reports of Unlawful Surveillance of Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
339.94 KB 11 Jun 2014

17th April 2014 - Press Release

GSOC's submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.
424.41 KB 17 Apr 2014

14th May 2014 - Press Release

GSOC has today made a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality about the effectiveness of legislation relating to oversight of An Garda Síochána.
640.54 KB 14 May 2014

Thursday 25th September 2014

GSOC investigating referral of Road Traffic Incident in Parteen, Co. Clare

GSOC investigators are currently investigating a road traffic incident in the village of Parteen, Co. Clare in which three male pedestrians were injured.
The Garda Ombudsman received the referral of a collision where gardaí had been pursuing a vehicle that had been linked to an earlier incident shortly after 5pm.
The pursued vehicle was then in collision with a stationary car and three pedestrians were injured. The three male pedestrians have been transferred to hospital.
GSOC are seeking witnesses to the pursuit and subsequent collision. Anyone with information that may be of assistance to the investigation is asked to contact GSOC at 1890 600 800.
The incident was referred to the Garda Ombudsman for independent investigation in accordance with Section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act.
ENDS.

Suzie Rafter,
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Thursday 3rd July 2014

GSOC publishes Annual Report for 2013

GSOC has published its Annual Report for 2013 on its website today, 3 July 2014.

The following are the main subjects covered in the Annual Report:

Notable events in 2013

  • The agreement of revised Protocols with the Garda Síochána covering, among other matters, the exchange of information – which is critical to the efficiency and effectiveness of GSOC investigations. (The revised Protocols are available on the GSOC website here)
  • Submission in May 2013 to the Minister for Justice and Equality, and the subsequent publication by the Minister, of a Special Report by the Garda Ombudsman. The report arose from issues identified during a long-running Public Interest Investigation. The recommendations made in the Special Report are set out on pages 26 – 29 of the Annual Report. (Full report is available on the GSOC website here)
  • The Ombudsman Commission’s appearance in July 2013, for the first time, before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions. This was to discuss our Annual Report 2012, the Special Report mentioned above and certain day-to-day operational issues. (A transcript of the appearance is available on the Oireachtas website here)

Key statistics from 2013

  • In 2013, GSOC received 2,027 complaints from members of the public (2,089 in 2012). The number of allegations of misconduct by gardaí made in these complaints was 5,299 (several different allegations may be included in a single complaint).
  • The four most common types of allegation related to abuse of authority (34%); neglect of duty (27%); non-fatal offences (13%); and discourtesy (11%).
  • The Garda Commissioner referred 41 incidents to GSOC for independent investigation, down from 72 in 2012.
  • GSOC opened three investigations in the public interest.
  • Statistics for 2013 in relation to context and location described in complaints, as well as division, rank and sex of garda members complained of, are available in the Annual Report.

Moves towards greater effectiveness in the future

  • Dealing with less serious matters more efficiently: In May 2012, GSOC had submitted proposals to the Department of Justice and Equality in relation to changes to the Act that we believed were necessary to improve GSOC’s ability to deliver effectively on its remit. In 2013, we engaged in discussions with the Garda Síochána to seek to introduce new ways of dealing with some less serious matters, largely of a quality-of-service nature. (Those discussions had not, at end 2013, resulted in any changes.)
  • Informing police practice: GSOC believes that the ability to pass on to the Garda Síochána recommendations, as a result of potential systemic issues highlighted during investigations, is a valuable element of oversight, as it may contribute to long term improvement of service and reduction in complaints. In this context, the feedback is not specific to individual members but to the Garda Síochána as an organisation. Throughout 2013, GSOC sought to identify opportunities to provide the Garda Síochána with such feedback, to inform policing practice constructively. The recommendations are outlined in the Annual Report from page 23.

Public attitudes
An independent survey of public attitudes to GSOC was commissioned. The main findings for 2013 were:

  • 69% of people perceive GSOC to be an independent body: an increase of 3%.
  • 47% agree that GSOC goes about its work in an efficient manner. While this figure is down on the 2011 results by 3%, 40% of respondents stated they had no opinion; the net result is that 13% feel that GSOC is not efficient – this figure is unchanged since the last survey in 2011.
  • 61% perceive GSOC as being effective in making Gardaí more accountable for their actions. This figure is down 11%. The Commission knew that bringing some of the problems we have had in doing our job effectively to public attention over the last year, in particular in last year’s Annual Report, would have a detrimental effect on people’s perceptions in this regard. But we hope that ultimately it will improve GSOC’s effectiveness, and that public perception will again improve.
  • 53% agree that GSOC deals with complaints in an impartial manner and 61% express confidence in the fairness of GSOC.

GSOC is committed to a continuous focus on our mission, vision, values and objectives. We believe that our independent role is a key element in police accountability. 2013 was a year of very frank exchanges with various interested parties. We hope that those exchanges have borne fruit in new awareness and that the public and gardaí will be the beneficiaries in the future.

ENDS.

For any clarifications, contact:

Lorna Lee
Head of Communications,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Wednesday 11th June 2014

GSOC’s response to the Cooke Report

GSOC welcomes the fact that, after months of controversy, the Cooke report finds that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission “acted in good faith”.

The report has found that, while certain anomalies raised concerns about security within GSOC –one of which “remains unexplained” – “the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance of the kind asserted in the Sunday Times article took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána”. This in fact mirrors key findings of our own investigation which stated, as per our press release of 10th February, that GSOC was “satisfied that our databases were not compromised” and that “there was no evidence of garda misconduct.”

We agree with the Judge’s observation that in the “world of covert surveillance and counter surveillance techniques, it is ultimately extremely difficult to determine with complete certainty whether unexplained anomalies of the kinds identified in this instance were or were not attributable to unlawful intrusion”. We encountered exactly the same difficulty in our own investigation, which we explained in the public discourse in February of this year. Therefore GSOC decided, at a certain point, that further investigative steps were not reasonably practicable. The Judge subsequently conducted further enquiries, and has drawn more definite conclusions than GSOC’s own investigation, with regard to two out of three of the anomalies.

While the report says that our recourse to section 102(4) of the Garda Síochána Act (2005) may possibly have been premature, that opinion should be read, as the report states, “in view of the additional information that has come to light in this Inquiry”. We note the clear qualification that “the existing wording is undoubtedly open also to the interpretation hitherto given to it by GSOC”.

We note the recommendation that consideration should be given to clarifying certain aspects of the Garda Síochána Act (2005). We are actively engaged in discussions regarding legislative change: we have been calling for examination of that Act for a considerable period of time and have recently made a submission on this to the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Justice & Equality.

We will consider carefully the further recommendations contained in the report in relation to security arrangements. We are happy that the Judge is satisfied that the steps taken by GSOC to rectify security deficiencies that came to light as a result of our investigations are adequate. We agree fully with his recommendation that we should “more frequently carry out a thorough and suitable counter-surveillance examination” of our offices and we plan to do so, in order that complainants and gardaí alike can be fully confident of the security and privacy of data held by GSOC.

ENDS.

For any clarifications, contact:
Lorna Lee, Head of Communications,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

Thursday 29th May 2014

GSOC name woman who died in road traffic incident this morning

GSOC has identified the woman who died following a road traffic incident this morning in Fairview. She is Sinéad Maguire, 43 years old, of Bayview Avenue, Dublin 3.

The other two people travelling in the car at the time remain in hospital.

The investigation is on-going.

ENDS.

Suzie Rafter
Communications & Research Officer
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Friday 16st May 2014

GSOC investigates death following incident in Dungarvan

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission received a referral at 1:59am on Friday 16 May 2014 from the Garda Síochána, in accordance with section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act (2005).

This is a case in Co. Waterford in which an 18 year old man has died. The death occurred some hours previously, following the response of gardaí to an incident in a housing estate in Dungarvan.

A team of GSOC investigators is in Dungarvan since the early hours of this morning and the investigation is underway.

Anyone with information can contact GSOC at 1890 600 800.

No further details available.

Ends.

Suzie Rafter
Communications & Research Officer
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Tuesday 18th February 2014

In light of the Government’s very recent announcement of its intention to appoint a retired High Court Judge to inquire into recent events involving GSOC, the Commission wishes to make no further comment at this time.

ENDS.

Tuesday 18th February 2014

GSOC wishes to re-iterate that during a security sweep, it received reports which identified two potential threats to its security. During further investigation a third potential threat was identified. In a briefing note to the Minister for Justice and Equality on 10th February 2014, a note which subsequently appeared in the public domain, GSOC said that analysis of these threats was inconclusive. GSOC did not rule out that there could be reasonable explanations for any or all of these issues.
The briefing note also stated that a Wi-Fi device, located in the Boardroom, was found to have connected to an external Wi-Fi network. Access to this Wi-Fi device was protected by a password; absent this password, the device should not have been able to connect to that external Wi-Fi network. Its connection to an external network was, therefore, a concern. This device, although Wi-Fi enabled, was unable to communicate with any of GSOC’s databases or electronic systems.
The investigation was completed on 17 December 2013 and concluded that no definitive evidence of unauthorised technical or electronic surveillance was found. It did, however, confirm the existence of the three technical and electronic anomalies that could not – and still cannot – be explained. These raised concerns among the investigation team in terms of the integrity of GSOC’s security.
GSOC would wish to point commentators towards a public statement issued by Verrimus Ltd., in response to this morning’s newspaper coverage.
ENDS.

Sunday 16th February 2014

The current controversy has dominated the Ombudsman Commission’s focus for the past week. The Commission believes that it is now time to prioritise the important work we were appointed to undertake as an independent statutory agency.

ENDS.

Friday 14th February 2014

GSOC responds to Minister for Justice & Equality

We received last night at 19:00 a detailed letter from the Minister. We have this evening, delivered a letter to the Department of Justice & Equality. The letter attempts to address fully and to clarify issues raised by the Minister.

With regard to an internal inquiry into a potential unauthorised release of information from this organisation, the Ombudsman Commission has engaged legal advice and is working through terms of reference and scope.

ENDS.

Ms Suzie Rafter,
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Monday 10th February 2014

Security at and surveillance of Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

In the course of our operations the Commission has always been conscious of the need for appropriate confidentiality and proper levels of security. The Commission has brought this to the attention of staff from time to time. On two occasions, since commencing operations, security experts have been consulted. A sweep of the building, and tests on the integrity of our telecommunications security, have been undertaken.

A security sweep of GSOC’s offices was conducted on the evenings of 23 to 27 September, 2013. This was conducted by a specialist UK security firm that had been recommended. The overall cost of the security checks undertaken was just under €18,000.

As well as the general check of our building, the Commission also sought expert advice on the sorts of capabilities that exist in relation to the interception of communications, including telephones.

The investigation was completed on 17 December, 2013. It confirmed the existence of three technical and electronic anomalies. These could not be conclusively explained and raised concerns among the investigation team in terms of the integrity of GSOC’s communications security. However GSOC is satisfied that its databases were not compromised. Since the investigation concluded, we have been working to review and enhance our security systems in the light of what the investigation revealed.

There was no evidence of Garda misconduct. The Commission decided to discontinue the investigation on the basis that no further action was necessary or reasonably practicable.

Given the outcome of the investigation, GSOC recognised the need to reinforce the security of our telecommunications systems in the light of the specialist’s advice. We took the difficult decision not to report this matter to other parties. We did not wish to point fingers unnecessarily and we did not believe that widespread reporting would be conducive to public confidence. We took the decision not to report in good faith. We regret that now and this was communicated to the Minister for Justice and Equality by Simon O’Brien, Chairman of the Commission, this afternoon.

Ends.

Ms Suzie Rafter,
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Thursday 6th February 2014

GSOC name man who died in the river Corrib, Galway

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has named the man who drowned in the river Corrib on Wednesday evening, 5th February, as 43-year-old David Johnston of Sleepzone Hostel, Galway.

Ends.

Ms Suzie Rafter,
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Thursday 6th February 2014

Garda Ombudsman seeking witnesses to incident at Bridge Street, Galway

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is seeking assistance from anyone who may be able to assist our inquiry into the death of a man in Galway last night, Wednesday 5th February, to contact us at 1890 600 800.

This follows an investigation into an incident which occurred around 6.20pm yesterday evening, Wednesday February 5th 2014 in the Bridge Street area of Galway. A 43-year old male subsequently drowned in the River Corrib. His body was recovered from the water by the Coast Guard helicopter and was pronounced dead at the Galway University Hospital at 7.50pm yesterday evening. A post mortem is planned for today.

The incident was referred to GSOC by the Garda Commissioner in accordance with section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Anyone with information can contact GSOC at 1890 600 800.

No further details available.

Ends.

Suzie Rafter
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Wednesday 5th February 2014

GSOC welcome Minister’s statement to the Dáil on access to PULSE.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Justice & Equality that he and the Garda Commissioner are agreed that GSOC will have direct access to the PULSE system for any investigation in which the Garda Ombudsman Commission is engaged.

ENDS

Ms. Suzie Rafter,
Communications & Research Officer,
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Monday 27th January 2014

GSOC to investigate penalty points issues.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) are awaiting formal referral from the Minister. On the presumption that we receive the referral shortly, we will commence what will be a very wide-ranging investigation.

We welcome very much, the Minister’s call for parties to allow us to proceed with our work unhindered.

We expect and will be demanding full and immediate co-operation from all parties.

The investigation will be referred to GSOC by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

No further details are available at this time.

ENDS.