Yesterday John Mooney, of the Sunday Times [Behind paywall], reported that the Garda Síochana Ombudsman Commission hired a British security consultancy firm to investigate if their offices [above] were bugged last year.
The firm found a speaker phone in a room regularly used by GSOC – to hold case conferences on sensitive investigations – was bugged.
The Garda Ombudsman is responsible for dealing with complaints made by members of the public in relation to Garda conduct.
It’s not known what prompted GSOC to have this investigation carried out.
Mr Mooney reported that the surveillance was more than likely organised after Justice Minister Alan Shatter appointed Simon O’Brien, Kieran Fitzgerald and Carmel Foley, appointed for a second time, to the Commission.
Simon O’Brien and Kieran Fitzgerald replaced former editor of The Irish Times, Conor Brady, and Demot Gallagher, ex-secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs. These appointments were announced by Minister Shatter on December 1, 2011 with their positions taking effect on December 13, 2011.
GSOC’s 2011 annual report states that, as of December 31, 2011, it had four investigations under section 102(4) of the Garda Act, or in the public interest, ongoing.
An investigation into the adequacy of the Garda investigation into a road traffic incident involving a fatality and the compilation of the subsequent Garda report to the DPP.
An investigation into allegations of collusion between members of the Gardaí with convicted drug dealer Kieran Boylan in the movement and supply of controlled drugs, and into the nature and extent of any relationship/s between members of the Garda Síochána and that named individual.
An investigation arising from concerns regarding the quality of Garda evidence expressed by Judge Frank O’Donnell of the Criminal Circuit Court during a criminal trial.
An investigation concerning alleged comments by Garda members on March 31, relating to female protestors arrested at a “Shell to Sea” demonstration at or near Aughoose, Erris, Co Mayo.
In January 2012, it was reported that the Garda Ombudsman had begun an investigations into the manner in which gardaí handled aspects of the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder probe – following a complaint from Mr Bailey.
In the same month it was reported that the Garda Ombudsman had finished an investigation into how, during the 2009 European elections in the North West, 3,000 votes belonging to Independent candidate Fiachra Luain were mistakenly awarded to Declan Ganley.
In its 2012 annual report, GSOC reported that it had four investigations under section 102(4) of the Garda Act, or in the public interest, ongoing.
The report stated the investigation into the road traffic incident involving a fatality, mentioned above, was the subject of judicial review proceedings that were ongoing on December 31, 2012.
It said a file was prepared and sent to the DPP in relation to the investigation into allegations of collusion by Gardaí with a named individual in the movement and supply of controlled drugs, and into the nature and extent of any relationship/s between members of the Garda Síochána and that named individual.
It said an investigation into the quality of Garda evidence expressed by Judge Frank O’Donnell of the Criminal Circuit Court during a criminal trial was ongoing on December 31, 2012.
In relation to an investigation into alleged comments by Garda members to female protesters at a Shell to Sea demonstration near Aughoose, Erris, Co Mayo, a file was prepared and sent to the Garda Commissioner in April 2012 recommending that disciplinary proceedings be instituted against one garda.
The annual report also said GSOC opened one new investigation “in the public interest” during 2012 into matters arising from the Commission of Investigation Report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne. This investigation was ongoing on 31 December 2012.
In addition but not included in the report was the investigation into Garda handling of the investigation into the death of Kate Fitzgerald.
(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)