GSOC receives sanction for additional staff
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has recently been informed by the Department of Justice and Equality in conjunction with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that posts for four investigators along with a support staff member have been sanctioned to assist in the investigation of protected disclosures made to GSOC.
In 2014 the passing of the Protected Disclosures Act brought into effect a very important safeguard across Irish society to encourage and protect people who wished to bring out bad, sometimes illegal, practice that they were, and/or are still experiencing, in their work lives. This legislation was aimed to uncover the actions of an unknown number of people in many areas and we have already seen the effects of such disclosures in the intervening years.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was given a role under this legislation in relations to the actions of An Garda Síochána. There had been procedures in place in relation to “whistleblowers” via the Confidential Recipient system. However the 2014 Act promised more structure and protections than previously provided to gardai and their civilian colleagues in An Garda Síochána.
In passing the 2014 Act there appears to have been no regard for the provisions of Part 4 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and this has led to investigative complexities which have been challenging to reconcile.
Following from the 2014 Act GSOC began receiving disclosures under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014. In early 2017 in particular we saw an increase in such disclosures. To date there have been 24 disclosures under the 2014 Act made to GSOC since 2014.
In the almost three years since the legislation was passed GSOC has not received any additional personnel or accompanying resources to carry out the necessary investigations. GSOC has had to “add on” this important work to an already congested workload.
The allocation of 5 staff members is welcomed by GSOC and the steps are already underway to fill the posts. The commission further welcomes the commitment by the Tánaiste that it is hoped to build on this starting allocation of personnel in the context of the Estimates for 2018. This is a commitment GSOC will pursue into the future.
Communications and Research
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission