Statement on references to GSOC in the final report of the Commission of Investigation on certain matters relative to the Cavan/Monaghan Division of An Garda Síochána by the Hon. Mr Justice O’Higgins (the O’Higgins Commission)

11 May 2016

GSOC was mentioned in the report of the O’Higgins Commission because we had received complaints in relation to two of the matters examined by Justice O’Higgins.

In relation to the first matter, after examining GSOC’s actions, Justice O’Higgins, found that the matter “was carefully and competently dealt with by GSOC” (4.30)

In relation to the second matter, “…the GSOC investigations were thorough and necessarily lengthy.”(6.206).

In relation to the length of investigation into the second matter, the O’Higgins Commission found that
“The GSOC investigations were thorough, and necessarily lengthy. Certain aspects of the investigation are ongoing and further comment on them would be inappropriate. However, Mr. Roche Kelly was not well served by the fact that a considerable period of time elapsed in deciding who should investigate his complaints, and under what statutory provision those complaints might be investigated.”(6.206)

It should be noted that a significant element of the “delay in deciding who should investigate” relates to the appointment of a Garda Síochána Investigating Officer. This appointment is not made by GSOC but is the responsibility of the Garda Síochána. The delay is also partly attributable to the fact that while GSOC initially gave the investigation the Garda Síochána, we subsequently decided to take it back.

In relation to this delay, Justice O’Higgins had, in the same chapter commented earlier that
 “However, it is clear that part of the delay is attributable to the fact that when GSOC handed the matter over to the gardaí, time was lost because of the inability to find a suitable deciding officer to deal with the matter. The fact that GSOC had divested themselves of the matter in October 2009 and then retook responsibility for examining the complaint on 31st May 2010 following representations on behalf of Mr. Roche Kelly was also a factor in the delay. In circumstances where members of GSOC were not challenged on this delay by any of the parties appearing before the commission, it would be wrong to attribute blame to GSOC or to any one individual.“ (6.176).

GSOC welcomes the Commission’s recommendations at (15.6) on Supervision; (15.7) on Note-taking and at (15.11) on the use of PULSE. GSOC has made similar recommendations to the Garda Commissioner (available in our Annual Reports) in relation to these same areas.


Suzie Rafter
Communications Officer
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission