The mobile phone records of two journalists have been accessed without their knowledge or consent as part of a criminal inquiry into a third party.
The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) scrutinised the phone records of the Dublin-based journalists after a friend of deceased model Katy French lodged complaints about gardaí allegedly leaking information.
The commission was granted Garda-style powers last year to access phone records if required during the investigation of serious offences.
The inquiry into the complaints represents the first time the commission’s use of the new power has emerged publicly. Accessing journalists’ phone records has always been contentious and has traditionally only occurred in exceptional circumstances.