Tag Archives: GSOC

From top: The Herald cover of September 18, 2015; Store Street Garda Station

Michael Clifford, in the Irish Examiner, reports:

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) has opened a public interest investigation into the prosecution of a brother and sister for allegedly producing false sick notes.

The investigation follows an unprecedented referral from the Policing Authority to Gsoc on foot of concerns about media reports of the case of Lynn and Tony Margiotta. This is the first time the authority has used its power to refer a matter to Gsoc for a public interest investigation.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was repeatedly asked about the matter at private Policing Authority meetings between March and May this year, before the Authority decided a full investigation was required.

Former female civilian guard Lynn Margiotta has been seeking an inquiry into how she was treated by her employer after she made a verbal complaint of bullying against a Garda member.

Michael Clifford, in The Irish Examiner, previously reported how Lynn Margiotta and her brother Dr Tony Margiotta ended up before a judge in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in March over sick notes she produced to her employer – An Garda Síochána – saying she was unfit to work.

It had been the prosecution’s case that Ms Margiotta had obtained the sick notes by deception as Dr Tony Margiotta had used the stamp of other GPs on the sick notes.

Ms Margiotta was arrested at her home in Navan, Co Meath, by three gardai from her own station, Store Street Garda Station, on August 11, 2014 – three weeks after she made the bullying complaint.

She was told she was under arrest for fraud.

Ms Margiotta was arrested a second time on September 18, 2015 – despite an expert in GP stamps Professor Colin Bradley, of University College Cork, having completed a report for the gardai seven months previous, in February 2015, in which he outlined there was no requirement for doctors to use their own stamp and, furthermore, locums are likely to use stamps of other doctors.

Ms Margiotta and her brother were later arrested at their homes without notice in June 2017, and charged.

However, the case against Ms Margiotta collapsed on March 26, 2019, after Judge Patricia Ryan ruled her rights had been abused as she had been denied access to a solicitor while in custody, and her privacy breached as her medical records had been accessed without her consent.

The case against her brother Dr Margiotta – who worked between two practices in 2014 and was a locum in one of the practices – was also dropped.

Ms Margiotta’s second arrest was reported on the same day, on the front page of The Herald with the headline “Dublin based garda employee arrested for using ‘fake sick certs’.”

Gsoc to investigate Garda treatment of civil employee over sick notes (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

Unanswered questions in Garda sick cert case (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner)

Previously: Malingering Odours

Questions, No Answers

From top: Oireachtas justice committee this morning; GSOC chair Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring; RTÉ Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds

This lunchtime.

RTÉ’s Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds – who is at the Association of Garda Superintendents annual conference in Naas, Co Kildare today – reported on the group’s response to comments made by the chair of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring at a meeting of the Oireachtas justice committee this morning.

Ms Justice Ring told the meeting:

“GSOC has noted in it submission to this committee that we have become aware, along with the public, of allegations of Garda wrongdoing through the media.

We are aware that the gardai continue to conduct criminal investigations of its own members without the knowledge or the participation of GSOC and we find that troubling.”

This practice runs the risk of allegations of cover-up or bias or corruption when it becomes known that such investigations had been carried out internally.

“It runs the risk that fair and independent investigations are not seen as such by the public because they were not notified outside the organisation.

“Most importantly they run the risk of undermining public trust significantly if such internal investigations go wrong.”

Ms Justice Ring also told the committee that GSOC has set up a separate unit to deal with protected disclosures and has increased its staff for this purpose.

She said GSOC received 24 new protected disclosures from gardai in 2018 and “they have continued in 2019”.

The committee heard 13 cases have been discontinued while GSOC has 36 lives cases, some going back more than four years, with none yielding prosecution or recommendation of disciplinary action.

Following this, Mr Reynolds reported that the President of the Association of Garda Superintendents Noel Cunningham has claimed Ms Justice Ring’s comments “don’t make sense”.

During his report, Mr Reynolds said:

They can’t see how or why someone could or would want to cover up the fact of such an investigation. And therefore they want clarity.”

He added:

There’s no statutory obligation on the gardai to inform the Garda Ombudsman if they are carrying out criminal investigations into other members, suspected criminal activity carried out by other members of the gardai. They’re not statutorily obliged to do that.”

Mr Reynolds also raised Ms Justice Ring’s comments about protected disclosures.

He said:

What the superintendents are saying is that they think the protected disclosures system needs to be looked at, particularly in relation to vexatious complaints.

“That while, of course people should be allowed make protected disclosures, but there is a need for sanctions or for a system whereby sanctions can be imposed on people who make vexatious complaints.”

“And if you look at those figures, and this was pointed out by Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire – he said it was quite poor and it was disappointing that whereby GSOC had 36 of these cases on their books they still hadn’t been a sanction against one member of the gardai and the Superintendents here raising the possibility that surely there must be some, there must be a possibility of some vexatious complaints in there.”


Listen back to RTÉ’s News at One in full here

Last night.

Edgeworthstown, County Longford

Via Sceal Doire:

Shortly before 6pm, A garda allegedly helping a friend remove a van that the repairs on it hadn’t been paid for…When the man who repaired it tried to stop the van from being taken, the garda, shoving the man and his wife and when his tie was grabbed, raised a pistol and shot the man having already allegedly shot and killed his dog…


‘The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is to investigate the circumstances of a shooting incident at a house in Co Longford yesterday after a man was injured when a garda firearm was discharged.

The man was later treated in hospital for his injuries which are not said to be life-threatening

Gardaí say they were at the scene as part of another investigation and were being assisted by a member of the public when they were confronted.

In the moments that followed a garda discharged his firearm in the direction of a guard dog, which was killed and a man nearby also sustained shotgun wound injuries to his leg.’

Usual health warnings apply to the veracity of the above text.

More as we get it.

GSOC to investigate shooting incident in Co Longford (RTÉ)


The dog at the centre of a garda shooting – previously thought dead – has vanished and investigators are trying to track down the injured hound.

The Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and garda investigators are probing the shooting of a man in Longford by an on-duty Detective Sergeant.

Witnesses said that a large German Shepherd was shot during the incident.

Sources have said that the dog is missing, having run from the scene.

….The site of the incident is close to a location where €500,000 of suspected stolen industrial plant, tools, trailers, vans, cars engine and vehicle parts was recovered.

Last Thursday gardai carried out a search operation at the alleged “chop shop” in a large industrial unit last Thursday…

GSOC probes Longford shooting incident as dog previously thought dead ‘vanishes’ (The Irish Mirror)

Thanks Dave Wilson

The Garda watchdog GSOC has been asked to investigate the single vehicle collision which happened at the junction with the Malahide Road at around 1.10am this morning.

The van came to the attention of officers prior to the crash so the case has been referred to the Garda Ombudsman Commission.

Man Dies And Woman And Boy Injured In Fairview Crash (Newstalk)

The late Dublin-born blogger and journalist with the Dublin Inquirer Dara Quigley

On Saturday, Conor Feehan, in the Herald, reported that the guard suspected of recording video footage of Dara Quigley being arrested and dragged into a Garda car while walking naked in Dublin city centre “will not face prosecution”.

Dara, who was battling mental health issues, took her own life within days of the video being shared on Facebook by a separate person.

An investigation by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) into the incident is ongoing.

Mr Feehan reported:

“The matter was referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and an investigation into the conduct of the garda began.

“It is believed the garda at the centre of the investigation was suspended at the time of the incident.

“A spokesperson for the GSOC said the investigation was still ongoing. However, the Herald has learned from other sources that the garda who is suspected of recording the footage is not to face criminal prosecution.

“The garda could, however, still face disciplinary action when the GSOC investigation is completed.

“It is understood that when the investigation was first launched, the possible criminal aspect of it was looked at first, and the decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions that there would be no criminal charge stemming from the incident.”

Garda who filmed tragic blogger Dara to avoid prosecution (Conor Feehan, The Herald)


Sam Tranum, of Dublin Inquirer – where Dara worked – has contacted An Garda Síochána, GSOC, the Department of Justice, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson TD Jim O’Callaghan and Sinn Féin’s justice spokesperson TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire to check this story’s veracity.

Mr Tranum has also contacted the Director of Public Prosecutions.

He is tweeting his responses, as he gets them, here.

Clockwise from top left: Supt Eugene McGovern; Garda Keith Harrison, Marissa Simms; Chief Supt Terry McGinn; Judge Peter Charleton


At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Judge Peter Charleton continued to examine matters pertaining to Donegal-based Garda Keith Harrison.

Garda Harrison claims his working life has been difficult since he raised concerns about a garda being involved in the distribution of drugs in Athlone in 2008, and subsequently arrested the same garda for drink-driving in 2009.

It is his contention that the gardai manipulated domestic incidents involving him and his partner Marissa Simms that resulted in a referral being made to Tusla in February 2014.

This has been rejected by both An Garda Siochana and Tusla.

The decision to make a referral in respect of Garda Harrison to Tusla was made during a meeting about a statement made by Ms Simms on October 6, 2013, following a row on September 28, 2013.

At this meeting, it was also decided that a Section 102 referral should be made to GSOC.

A Section 102 referral concerns matters that indicate “the conduct of a member of the Garda Síochána may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person”.

Serious harm, the tribunal heard, is defined as: “injury that creates a substantial risk of death, causes serious disfigurement or causes substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or of the function of any particular bodily member or organ”.

Today, Dan Wright, of GSOC, who told the tribunal he was involved in setting up GSOC and writing many of its policies, told the tribunal that, in all his time at GSOC, he can’t ever recall taking a referral such as the one that was sent in to GSOC in respect of Garda Harrison in October 2013.

Ms Simms had neither died nor was seriously injured in the row.

The two rationales communicated to Mr Wright for the Section 102 referral were from Supt McGovern, who said it was due to the “psychological harm” element of the incident and, from Chief Supt Terry McGinn, that it was their belief that Garda Harrison may cause either death or serious harm to Ms Simms in the future.

Mr Wright told the tribunal that GSOC is concerned about matters in the past not the future and that the protection of life and property is a matter for An Garda Siochana and not GSOC.

But first to recap.

Readers will recall the following sequence of events:

September 28 2013: Marissa Simms and Garda Harrison had a row.

October 2, 2013: Ms Simms’ mother Rita McDermott made a statement to Inspector Goretti Sheridan and Sgt Jim Collins about Garda Harrison.

In her statement, Ms McDermott is recorded as saying: “Marisa has said that Keith threatened to burn her and the children…She is scared for her life. He said something about burning her and the children and something about take a good look at them children and you will only see them at weekends.”

October 6, 2013: Ms Simms made a statement to Inspector Goretti Sheridan and Sgt Brigid McGowan in Letterkenny Garda Station over 8.5 hours.

In that statement, it’s recorded that Ms Simms claimed Garda Harrison threatened to burn her during a row on September 28, 2013.

Also in her statement, Ms Simms is recorded as saying that, during texts and emails, during the week after their row and that he: “…didn’t mean that he was physically going to burn me but meant that he was going to destroy me.”

Ms Simms has since told the tribunal that Garda Harrison never threatened to burn her and that he told her she was going to ‘get burnt’ if she didn’t stop trying to please everyone.

October 8, 2013: A meeting is called by Chief Supt for Donegal division Terry McGinn in Letterkenny Garda Station. Those present at the meeting were: Inspector Goretti Sheridan; Chief Supt Terry McGinn; Supt Michael Finan, Detective Inspector Pat O’Donnell and Carl Campbell, of Garda internal affairs.

Also on October 8, 2013, Ms Simms handed her phone into Letterkenny Garda Station. However the tribunal has heard it was not analysed until the start of the tribunal in March 2017.

As mentioned above, at this meeting of October 8, 2013, it was decided that the statements of Ms Simms and Ms McDermott would be forwarded to both the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and a referral would be made Tusla and that an investigation would get under way.

The tribunal has heard evidence from Dan Wright of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission, who was the senior investigating officer on call for Section 102 referrals on October 8, 2013.

This morning, he told the tribunal that he received a phonecall from Supt Eugene McGovern at around 12.35pm in which Supt McGovern informed him of a referral over threats by a garda to kill a female.

The tribunal has already heard that, on the same day, an email was sent from Chief Superintendent Anthony McLoughlin of the ‘B’ Branch , or Garda human resources, to Chief Supt Terry McGinn at 12.53pm.

The email stated:


RE: above and discussion on same. I know that the Supt will inform GSOC. But I am of the view that GSOC should be informed pursuant to S85 of the Act and at this time it is not a S102 referral.

However, Chief Supt McGinn wrote back at 13.14pm:

The situation has been assessed and Supt McGovern has already made a referral pursuant to S102. We await a response from GSOC.

The tribunal has already heard that George O’Doherty, Head of Corporate Services and Human Resources at GSOC, rang Ms Simms about the statement GSOC received on October 9 – at which point she was in hospital with an infection – and that they shared another phone call on October 11, 2013, during which Ms Simms told Mr O’Doherty she did not want GSOC to deal with the matter.

Mr O’Doherty told the tribunal that Rita McDermott’s statement was hearsay as it was third party evidence.

This morning.

Mr Wright told the tribunal that GSOC is compelled to receive every Section 102 referral and there is “clear blue water” between a decision by An Garda Siochana to send a referral and whatever decision GSOC makes in respect of that referral.

Mr Wright told the tribunal “neither group will trespass on the remit of the other”.

Mr Wright said he had heard evidence over the past few weeks that there was this “notion” that GSOC could reject or decline referrals. He said this isn’t true and that once a Section 102 referral is made, GSOC have to deal with it.

He also said there is no power within An Garda Siochana to revoke such a referral.

Mr Wright said that when he spoke to Supt McGovern on the phone he made it clear to him that the protection of life and property is a matter for An Garda Siochana and not for GSOC.

In terms of Mr Wright being aware of Chief Supt McGinn’s rationale for the Section 102 referral – any possible future chance of Garda Harrison harming Ms Simms – Mr Wright said he couldn’t recall where he got that information from.

In terms of Ms Simms telling Mr O’Doherty that she did not wish GSOC to deal with the matter, Mr Wright confirmed to the tribunal that GSOC is not precluded from looking into a matter that it feels would be in the public interest.

Similarly, under cross-examination from Mark Harty SC, for Garda Harrison, Mr Wright confirmed that there is no law in the Garda Act to preclude members of An Garda Siochana from carrying out its own investigation into claims referred to GSOC.

He said:

“You don’t just stand back and do nothing. There are steps to be taken and we would expect those steps to be taken.”

Mr Harty has already told the tribunal that 15 months passed – from the day Ms Simms made her statement – before any garda asked Garda Harrison about the claims.

Last week, while cross-examining Supt McGovern, Mr Harty accused the gardai of not treating the ‘burn’ threat seriously but Supt McGovern said this wasn’t true and that “All threats that come to our attention are assessed.”

The tribunal also heard that Mr Wright wrote to Kevin Clarke, principal officer of the Garda Division in the Department of Justice, on December 10, 2013, in respect of the Section 102 referral.

The correspondence stated:

“I refer to incident referred to GSOC by Supt Eugene McGovern of Milford Garda Station, Co Donegal under Section 102 on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. An examination under Section 91 of the Garda Siochana Act 2005 has been conducted in relation to the above incident and following the examination, the matter has been discontinued.

“The examination of the circumstances clearly shows that at the time of this referral being made, there was no death or serious harm and the matter should have instead been notified to the Garda Ombudsman pursuant to Section 85 of the Act in the normal way. GSOC accepts, however, that the decision to make such a referral is a matter entirely for the Garda Síochána as per current protocol agreement.”

Ms Simms withdrew her statement  on January 11, 2014.

In February 2014, Superintendent Mary Murray was appointed to carry out an independent investigation into Garda Harrison.

On May 14, 2014, Garda Harrison made a protected disclosure.

Chief Supt Terry McGinn confirmed to the tribunal that Supt Murray didn’t take any action until December 2014.

Supt Murray has yet to give evidence.

The tribunal continues.

Previously: ‘It Is A Case Of The Tribunal Blowing Figuratively A Bugle As Loud As It Possibly Can’


Paul Murphy TD, of Solidarity, in Leinster House as Joan Burton TD, of the Labour Party speaks to the media on the Dáil plinth after Tuesday’s budgetary oversight committee

…. Confidence in the Garda Siochána is not an optional extra. It is the bedrock of public compliance and a properly functioning society. As a succession of scandals wash over the force, it is essential the public are assured that when gardaí give evidence in court, they speak nothing but the truth in accordance with their best recollection of sometimes fraught situations.

A Garda statement, saying a senior officer was conducting a review of organisational practices and policies arising out of Jobstown and “other issues of note”, may also have created the misleading impression that it would include evidence given in court. The Garda Commissioner made clear yesterday that this was not the case. A full Gsoc investigation is needed and Paul Murphy, if he is serious about anything other than crass political advantage, could usefully seek it.

A Case For Gsoc To Investigate (Irish Times editorial)



Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan at the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday

At the Public Accounts Committee in respect of financial irregularities at the Garda College on Tuesday, some TDs spoke of how convenient it was that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan had referred a report on the alleged placement of EU funds into an AIB bank account in Cabra, controlled by a retired senior officer, to GSOC, on Monday.

The move largely precluded Ms O’Sullivan from discussing the matter in detail.

Ms O’Sullivan specifically told the committee:

I am conscious that the matter has been referred to GSOC and now forms part of its consideration and examination. I will be precluded from discussing a lot of a detail but I am happy if I can assist the Deputy with his questions.”

Further to this.

Broadsheet understands GSOC generally does not investigate retired members of An Garda Siochana.

This is because GSOC operates under the Garda Siochana Act 2005, and it’s basically a disciplinary procedure for serving Garda members.

In addition, if GSOC did uphold a complaint against a retired member, it can take little or no action against retired members in terms of reduced rank or pay.

Earlier: ‘It Might Be Useful To Ask The Central Bank To Have A Look At This’

Previously: A Templemore Timeline

The Public Accounts Committee this morning

This morning.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has told the Public Accounts Committee that she has referred suspicions of fraudulent activity related to the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary – made by Head of Internal Audit Niall Kelly – to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

It follows a verbal briefing made by Mr Kelly to Ms O’Sullivan on Friday, when she requested a written report about the matter. This report was given to Ms O’Sullivan yesterday.


Fianna Fáil TD Marc Mac Sharry (above) repeatedly asked Ms O’Sullivan for the identity of the signatory of an AIB account in Cabra, Dublin.

This account is being investigated by the Garda Internal Audit Section after it found large sums of public money were sent to credit union and bank accounts opened and controlled by gardaí.

Ms O’Sullivan refused to name any signatory or signatories.

Mr Mac Sharry said: “We’re now not entitled to know that because, very conveniently, it was kicked into GSOC yesterday evening and we’re not going to know. It’s on the never never. God knows who’ll be on the Public Accounts Committee when that information comes out?”

In response, Ms O’Sullivan said: “Under no circumstances was this matter referred to GSOC to keep it from the view or the public view of this committee. It was referred to GSOC because that is the appropriate, impartial and objective statutory body that are there to carry out examinations and investigations…”

Watch proceedings live here

Earlier: A Templemore Timeline



From top: Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission office; Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan; and Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan

This morning, the Irish Examiner reported that GSOC cannot obtain documents in relation to the O’Higgins Commission which investigated complaints made by Sgt Maurice McCabe.

In addition, it also reported that Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan cited legal restrictions under the Commission of Investigations Act 2004 as reasons for why she could not give GSOC certain documents in relation to a public interest investigation regarding Sgt McCabe’s claims.

This is despite the fact that it was Commissioner O’Sullivan who originally called on GSOC to carry out such an investigation.

Further to this…

After recently telling RTÉ’s Six One News that he had “confidence” in Ms O’Sullivan. Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan spoke to Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News at One about his proposal to get around the legal issues.

Áine Lawlor: “Jim O’Callaghan is proposing a change in the Commission of Investigation’s Act that would overcome this hurdle and he joins us now from our Dáil studio. Good afternoon, Jim O’Callaghan.”

Jim O’Callaghan: “Good afternoon.”

Lawlor: “The specific problem. What is it? That nobody basically can have access to the private papers, the private recordings, or testimonies given to a private commission of inquiry – even though there’s public interest investigation going on by GSOC. Is that it?”

O”Callaghan: “Yes that is the problem. In June of this year, the Tanaiste referred to GSOC, the issue about the two conflicting accounts of the meeting in Mullingar, in 2008. She made that reference under Section 102 of the Garda Siochana Act. We now learn that GSOC wrote to An Garda Siochana, seeking access to all documents, including transcripts. Now the Garda aren’t allowed to provide those transcripts because of Section 11 of the Commission of Investigation Act 2004. So I would have thought that if the story in the Examiner today is correct that there is a relatively simple method of getting around this problem which would be by amending Section 11, to provide for one other provision whereby the information could be provided. And that would be if there’s an ongoing investigation being conducted by GSOC under part 4 of the Garda Siochana Act.”

Lawlor: “And, indeed, you’ve sent us a copy of your proposed Commission of Investigation amendment bill. It’s nice and short. We understand this matter has been referred to the Attorney General. Do we know if she is looking at a simple legislative change, like yours, would unblock this roadblock?

O’Callaghan: “Well, we had a similar roadblock, in respect of the Judge Cregan inquiry [into IBRC transactions and write-offs] when Judge Cregan said that the underlying legislation didn’t allow him access to confidential information. And there was a small amending piece of legislation introduced in order to facilitate him. So the alternative here is that the GSOC inquiry doesn’t go any further. I don’t think that’s an option. Consequently, I think we should give consideration to amending the legislation. Obviously, it’s all dependent on the story in the Examiner being correct. If the story is correct, well then I think the only solution to it would be to provide for some amending legislation.”

Lawlor: “And, should it be true, would it not have dawned on anyone back in June, particularly given that this kind of roadblock around the privacy of commission of inquiries that that had cropped before, that might be an issue in this case.”

O’Callaghan: “Well, I have to say, I was slightly surprised when I heard that GSOC hadn’t commenced there investigation into this. They were asked to investigate two conflicting accounts of a meeting that took place in Mullingar and they say they need the transcripts, they’re the investigator. But I would have thought they should be able to commence the investigation even if they didn’t have access to the transcripts. So, it’s an investigation that could, in my opinion, be conducted without the transcripts. However, they’re the investigator. They said they need them and they’re not going to commence unless they get them and I think we need to respond to what they state.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Untold Damage