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GSOC bugging? Move along....Nothing to see here. Trust your government and the Gardai

category national | crime and justice | feature author Saturday February 15, 2014 02:20author by fred Report this post to the editors

Motive of bugging: Investigation by GSOC into high level corruption with Garda and State with Drug Crime

featured image
Garda Ombudsman, under fire
from forces of corruption?

It was suspected that offices of the GSOC (garda siochana ombudsman commission) were being bugged. Shrouded in secrecy, they brought in specialists from the UK under advice from their equivalent body in the UK, the IPCC. These specialists did a high tech sweep of their offices under cover of darkness and a report was created which suggests that it was extremely likely that highly sophisticated bugging of the office had occurred. Government and high ranking gardai have closed ranks and are trying to spin this as a problem with GSOC instead of addressing the strong possibility that GSOC was bugged and who would want to do that and have access to do so except the gardai themselves. If true this is a grave issue. It is believed in some circles that this bugging may be related to investigations by GSOC into the case of large scale heroin importer Boylan who it is alleged has been working with gardai and has "magically" evaded conviction in the face of overwhelming evidence of trafficking huge amounts of drugs. This affair may go right to the top and has the potential to sink this government

This whole storm arose from an article by John Mooney in the sunday times which seems to have originated from a leaked document from GSOC.
Without that leak, this would probably have sunk like a stone without a trace.
Hats off to Mr Mooney for his work on this and the Boylan case.
By contrast, our public broadcaster was in no hurry to cover the matter and it was not even mentioned until the 9pm news.

Other news outlets have chosen to prioritise unimportant trivia over what might turn out to be the usurping of the credibility and integrity of our garda force at the highest levels by large drug criminals with the collusion of top politicians.

However over the last few days some people with commendable tenacity on several popular Irish websites and chat forums have tried to keep the momentum going on this and it has snowballed out of the control of the government and it's spin doctors. Many thousands of views of the thread on P.ie for example.
Clearly this will not go away so the MSM have had no choice but to cover it properly now.

What was the Boylan case most people are asking?
The fact that people are now asking this is a testament to how little coverage it got in the mainstream media. This in itself is incredible given the size of the drug shipments in question and the very suspicious dropping of the case in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Rather than paraphrasing Here's a link and a quote from a previous article dealing with the Boylan case:


Kieran Boylan fidgeted nervously as he took possession of a drug shipment in the yard of his trucking firm in Ardee, Co Louth. It was October 6, 2005, and members of the Garda National Drugs Unit (GNDU) watched from a safe distance as the truck driver went about his business. Minutes later, Boylan was caught with heroin and cocaine worth €1.7m.

The size of the haul should have guaranteed a prison sentence of at least 10 years as Boylan was out on bail at the time. In December 2003, the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI) had mounted a similar operation at Dublin Port which caught him with heroin and cocaine worth €750,000.

Boylan was freed on bail despite having a previous drug trafficking conviction.

Last week, following two years of allegations and counter-allegations about his relationship with members of a garda unit, charges against Boylan over the Ardee drugs seizure were dropped.

The decision has raised more unanswered questions about his relationship with gardai.

It was shortly after Boylan’s arrest in 2005 that what seemed like a routine drugs seizure became complicated.

While he was in custody, Boylan claimed he was working for other gardai.

He admitted to possessing the €1.7m haul but claimed the other gardai knew he had the drugs and alluded to his involvement in extra-judicial operations.

After Boylan was charged, and committed to prison, Cormac Gordon, the then chief superintendent of the GNDU, wrote to Martin Callinan, an assistant commissioner in charge of operations, to clarify whether or not Boylan was an agent involved in a controlled delivery.

Weeks later, on December 2, Callinan confirmed in writing that Boylan was “not a registered source”.

Here is another transcript from Late Debate quoted from Broadsheet.ie from their article today:

Last night Mr Mooney, who broke the GSOC bugging story last Sunday; Padraig MacLochlainn, Sinn Féin Donegal TD; Michelle Mulherin, Fine Gael Mayo TD; and Mark Kelly, director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, appeared on RTÉ’s Late Debate with Audrey Carville last night to talk about the story.

During their discussion, Mr Mooney set out to explain what he believed was behind the surveillance, while also accusing the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of trying to cover up the story.

John Mooney: “This whole matter goes back to a collusion investigation, a Garda Ombudsman Commission investigation going back a number of years, I was actually involved in it. Actually, I suppose to quote Enda Kenny, when he was in Opposition, saying – this was the Kieran Boylan affair – where he was demanding that the Government of the day provide explanations: ‘I want to give the Government…to give a full explanation of these cases, I will be tabling questions on the nature of the inquiry into both Boylan and why he isn’t before the courts when he was caught with large amounts of drugs, heroin and cocaine’. This was a drug trafficker who was working with a group of guards in the Dublin area, who served their way to promotion on the basis of turning a blind eye to these activities, in return for setting up people, including very young men in the Dublin area for arrests, and GSOC were in the middle of a very, very sensitive investigation into that which revealed all sorts of wrongdoing and all sorts of what could only be described as corruption within the intelligence services. And this particular escapade or what’s been happening, to the Commission, followed on, as they were drawing to a close, their big, public interest inquiry into this. And there were various people within the State apparatus who were desperately needed to know what they knew. And if you’re asking me, and it’s a very well-informed opinion, this is what this is all about. To be perfectly frank, I’m astonished at what’s going on in Government level.
I remember Pat Rabbitte, when he was a justice spokesman in Opposition, screaming from the rooftops about Kieran Boylan getting given a haulage licence on the basis of false documentation and information to the Department of Transport. I remember when this individual, whom I should say whose associates were issuing threats against myself and others, was being brought up and being charged, and then the charges would be dropped secretly and then recharged again and again charges dropped secretly in discreet manners, to try and get this man off because he has so much dirt on the guards.
There was a lot of, there was a lot of people at risk over what had happened, because this all totally contravened the new rules that were brought in, following the Morris Tribunal. And I am actually astounded at what’s happening in Government at this level. Brendan Howlin himself, I was a witness in the Morris Tribunal, I’ve done a lot of work in security issues in the last 15 years, Brendan Howlin was one of, I remember he played a very noble role in exposing what happened there. And the silence of the Labour party in this matter is absolutely deafening. How anyone, at all, could suggest and you know, I’m just, I’m just speechless at these kind of defences that ‘well nothing can be proven’. Simon O’Brien was very categoric tonight [last night] right.
And I know modern surveillance, because I deal with this stuff for a living, it doesn’t leave traces, you can’t prove that someone has done something because it’s so high tech. We published a report last week, which has proved to be pretty accurate, despite Alan Shatter and Enda Kenny’s attempts to [inaudible] to cover this up…”

Audrey Carville: “And your implications, John, about who was behind it, is pretty clear as well.”

Mooney: “I’m not saying who is behind it because I think there’s two issues here: you have to differentiate between the guards as an organisation and elements within the State security forces that are doing their own thing and they’ve the know-how and the knack to do this stuff, on the QT and abuse State systems. I can hazard a guess, at this, because I’m pretty familiar with the types of people that may be suspected of involvement in this and what might be motivating them. But, at the end of the day, this has developed into something else now. We had the Justice Minister stood up in the Dáil yesterday and poured cold water on the most serious allegations to come out, concerning spying an espionage, illegal, I should say.”

Full radio show is available here but probably only for a week or two more:
The late debate episode 12-02-2014 with John Mooney and others

Broadsheet.ie have covered the GSOC case and posted this transcript of a previous interview between John Mooney and Fergal Keane on RTE's late debate, one of the few shows to run with this story early on.:

Fergal Keane: “John Mooney, this is some pretty extraordinary statements there by the Garda Ombudsman who were there given oversight of the gardaí, saying the gardaí didn’t cooperate with them, didn’t give them information. It’s an incredible state of affairs. And very, very serious?”

John Mooney: “Well, it’s not for anyone who’s familiar with the story. I began investigating Kieran Boylan’s activities…”

Keane: “Who is this alleged informant.”

Mooney: “He’s not an informant. He was an international drug trafficker who was operating in the State, between here, Britain, Northern Ireland and Holland, and Spain at one stage. This individual entered into a relationship with a handful of guards. That was unknown to anyone. So there’s a lot duplicity going on at the moment and a lot of, sort of, lots of people running for cover, particularly in the Government, because very senior figures within the Government screamed very loudly, over the years, about what was happening with this case.”

Keane: “Pat Rabbitte being one?”

“Yeah, Brendan Howlin, Enda Kenny himself actually. There were, the late Tony Gregory was very instrumental in highlighting this case. We began looking at this individual back in 2005, when I heard about his arrest with €2million worth of cocaine and heroin and he’d made certain claims, while in custody, he was on bail for a previous offence, he’d been caught with almost €1million worth of drugs, again heroin and cocaine being imported into the State. He seemed to have, he was suggesting at the time that he had high-level contacts within the guards. I didn’t actually believe the story but we commenced an inquiry into…”

“He made these claims in court?”

“No, no, he never…this never got to court unfortunately. He suggested this while in custody with the Garda National Drugs Unit who were part of an international operation, to take him out. He was part of a cartel operating between here and Manchester and with various other major players in the drugs trade in, in mainland Europe. And this guy was involved in transporting huge quantities of drugs. You’re not talking about a couple of kilos of heroin, ones every so often, we’re talking about mega consignments of heroin. So he’s an individual, under any policing operation, who cannot fit into an informant category. People don’t understand. the legislation surrounding this and they don’t understand the rules governing this. The idea of police informants is not to recruit people, who instigate crime and traffick drugs into countries, and destroy communities and everything else. They try get people, who’ve no knowledge of it. But this guy was an instigator, and quite a wealthy individual. So he was caught, the charges were dropped. We highlighted the case, the charges were reinstated. And then, famously, in the last day of a hearing in, what was it, two years ago, in an unannounced, an unscheduled case, the charges were dropped against him. The only way that ended up in the public domain was because I happened to be in…”

Keane: “Ok..on the last day of the court sittings in July 2008.”

Mooney: “Nine. Yes, that was it. And Kieran would have had various choice words with me outside the court that evening, as a result of that. But, we’d subsequently…”

Keane: “Where is he now?”

Mooney: “He’s living in county Louth at the moment. And he, then we, as the investigation commenced, continued, we, as you’re probably are aware, revealed that he’d managed to obtain an international haulage licence, on the basis of paperwork that said that he didn’t even have a criminal record, again provided by garda headquarters. There were other allegations, he had his passport changed into his Irish name, which allowed him to travel internationally without…”

Keane: “Ok, you highlighted all of this. The gardaí…It prompted the Garda Ombudsman to start an investigation…”

You can read the full transcript at the broadsheet.ie link provided.

It will be interesting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes on this one. Mr Alan Shatter was on RTE "prime time" tonight denying any hard evidence that GSOC had been bugged and spinning desperately.

This has the potential to be politically explosive so we can expect more dail confrontations such as the one by Mary Lou McDonald below.

I'm making lots of popcorn! :-)

Kieran Boylan, teflon large scale drug trafficker. Who has he compromised?
Kieran Boylan, teflon large scale drug trafficker. Who has he compromised?

Caption: Video Id: 9y-oHkLV2DQ Type: Youtube Video
Mary Lou gets stuck in. Usual Guff from Gilmore.

author by brian clarke - All Voicespublication date Fri Feb 14, 2014 09:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good article Fred, well done!

That's what real journalists report but they are all with the exception of a few, compromised prostitutes like the politicians of Drugs and Bankers !! It has been happening for more than 30 years on an organized scale now, with a lot of dead bodies to show for it. The only way top stop it, is to legalize drugs. Ireland is rotten to the core !

Most Fearsome Drug Lords of Europe
Most Fearsome Drug Lords of Europe

Related Link: http://irishblog-irelandblog.blogspot.com/
author by fredpublication date Fri Feb 14, 2014 14:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks BC

When I said the thread on P.ie on this had thousands of views, I meant it's up over 150,000 !!
It's now running to over 500 pages of posts.

Quite an Interesting post from JT on that P.ie thread. hope he doesn't mind me repeating it here. It might help explain the indo behaviour on this and other garda matters:

The indo got a bailout from the government.
It's editor Stephen Rae,was also the former editor of the Garda review magazine.
Mr.Rae it's said, got penalty points quashed by the Gardai.
We know where their reporting priorities lie.

Both The Irish Post and The Guardian report that Stephen Rae, had penalty points generated by driving offences removed by the police force itself. Rae, a former editor of The Garda Review, the in-house magazine of An Garda Siochana, oversaw the sacking (from the Irish Independent) of Journalist Gemma O Doherty. O Doherty was chasing up a story that the Garda commissioner himself Martin Callinan, had his own penalty points wiped off the system. There’s a wang of shyte of this of epic proportions. Its seems as if the editor-in chief of the state largest media corporation, who has previously worked for An Garda Siochana and seems to have had penalty points removed by them, sacked an investigative journalist who was investigating how the head of An Garda Siochana had his own penalty points removed. Whilst her sacking was officially described as part of “restructuring” within the paper, she was the only journalist forced out of here job. The sacking was framed to her in terms of “readjusting to digital the age”.


Some links from Broadsheet on Gemma O'Doherty

author by fredpublication date Fri Feb 14, 2014 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some good commentary and coverage in the Irish examiner by Michael Clifford:


"By Wednesday, the Indo had the whole thing nailed down: “Watchdog defies call to quit in ‘bugging’ scandal”. It was all about O’Brien limping on in this scandal that required inverted commas. Eyes front. No bugging in sight.

Later that day, at an Oireachtas hearing, O’Brien laid out the reality. He had been highly suspicious that somebody had at least been trying to breach the security of the agency. This position was at odds — certainly in emphasis — with that laid out by Shatter the previous day.

What angle is taken by RTÉ? That a major hunt was now on in GSOC to find out who leaked the story to The Sunday Times. Bugging, what bugging? The story had moved on from the failure to report to Shatter to the hunt for the leaker.

Quite obviously, some reporters who followed this thread have no grasp of irony.

Many crime reporters in this country, with some honourable exceptions, rely nearly exclusively on highly placed leaks within the force for their information. The relationship is grossly imbalanced, ensuring that reporters are reluctant to say or write anything that might not meet with approval in garda management. Yet now the GSOC story was the leak. What dastardly cur dared to leak information from a State agency concerned with security? It was a revealing week.

When faced with the prospect of upsetting their cozy cartel, garda management, government, and elements of the media moved swiftly to eliminate unpalatable truths. A possible scandal drawing in members of the gardaí would just not be tolerated by any of the parties. There is simply too much to lose. Lip service to democratic values is all very well, but when it comes to the crunch, everybody knows where their bread is buttered."

And from Alison O Connor:


There is clearly another issue at play here concerning a high level GSOC leaker, and it is understandable why it should investigate this matter. But as time moves on, we may find ourselves even more sympathetic to the motivation behind this leak. The Commission had reason long before this week to tread carefully over who it should trust. Yet the political line was fed out, and swallowed seemingly unquestioningly by large sections of the media, that the more interesting fact of all of this was its non-communication with Minister Shatter.

How strange was it that the thrust of the follow-up to the Sunday Times story was this angle, rather than the far more interesting, and indeed racier fact, that the people charged with policing our police force had good reason to believe they had been bugged.

There is an expectation when it comes to crime reporting that there is a certain level of give and take in the relationship between a crime journalist and a Garda source. These reporters, who operate in a highly competitive area, are hugely reliant on the Garda as a source and know they risk suffering from a “blu flu” of information if they are seen to step too far out of line. Needless to say, this operates at different levels with different reporters and different organisations. It’s no huge surprise, for instance, to see the anti-GSOC coverage in the Irish Independent in recent days, but the extent of it from the RTE newsroom this week was very surprising.

author by Tpublication date Sat Feb 15, 2014 02:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is from Broadsheet.ie and it relates to the Third Threat listed in the GSOC report on interception for a device called an IMSI-Catcher which is basically a way to intercept calls. Some of the media coverage has been saying that only organisations such a state could do this kind of interception, but reading the text below, it is clear that this interception technology has advanced so quick and the price has come down so low, that rogue elements within a state organisation or even organised crime groups could potentially carry out this sort of thing.

Surveillance expert Dr Richard Tynan, of Privacy International, writes:

A misconfigured base station hastily rolled out by an Irish mobile operator could have caused this. However, if one of the Irish mobile telcos deployed such a misconfigured device then one would hope the firm would have come forward by now.

Yet, no one has. The only remaining possibility, then, is that a device used to conduct surveillance was intentionally deployed that purported to be a legitimate mobile phone tower. In surveillance circles, such a device is called an IMSI Catcher (aka IMSI Grabber or Stingray).

IMSI Catchers are used by authorities around the world to put large groups of people under indiscriminate mass surveillance via their mobile phone. IMSI Catchers started off infiltrating GSM networks with the only goal: capture the unique SIM card number that identifies the user called the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) – hence the name IMSI Catcher.

When the IMSI Catcher is turned on, it signals to all nearby devices that it is a legitimate part of the mobile communications network, even though it isn’t. The IMSIs of the mobile phones are voluntarily surrendered by the mobile phone when it connects to the tower. By having the strongest signal or manipulating certain parameters, an IMSI Catcher entices all phones to connect to it and thereby get the unique identifier for every individual in an area. This works remarkably well in protests and public demonstrations and events, as was reported by the people of Ukraine recently during their protests.

However, in the last 10-15 years as the use of IMSI Catchers has likely grown, they have evolved to include much more sophisticated capabilities. Nowadays, they can:

- Force phones to stop using encryption (A5/1) and move to unencrypted channels (A5/0) to allow for easier interception;
- Jam the 3G spectrum so phones would default back to 2G where interception could occur;
- Get an accurate location of every individual within its reach of around 1km
- Deny service to one or all users;
- Intercept the content of calls, text messages and data;
- And reportedly alter messages in transit.

Nowadays, full 3G IMSI Catchers are the pride of many surveillance companies attending government-sponsored trade shows to sell their wares to any interested agency. Companies such as CellXion, Forensic Telecommunications Services, and Gamma International provide such products. Not only have the capabilities improved but the devices have shrunk to the size of a large mobile phone and costing around €250-€500.

However, if you prefer to get your hands dirty, you can build one for yourself using a Software Defined Radio and free software called OpenBTS. You can also put together a full GSM call, text and data interception device (even where the target’s data is encrypted) using a €10 phone, free software from Osmocomm and a laptop running open source software. The legality of doing this, however, will vary by jurisdiction.

Given the number of mobile network operators and handsets in a given area, IMSI Catchers need to operate as multiple fake towers simultaneously to harvest as much data as possible in a short amount of time. Some report a rate of 1200 IMSIs per minute across 5 networks while others boast simultaneous voice intercepts as featured on the Surveillance Industry Index. Often it will operate by purporting to be many towers from the same network provider thereby reducing the time it takes to get all the IMSIs from users on a popular network.

Each fake tower will emit a signal containing numbers to tell a mobile phone how to talk to it when it wants to make a call or send a text. Or information on how to register with it so the tower can contact it when an incoming call or text arrives. Specifically, the tower will send a country code and an operator code to the handset. In normal circumstances, this allows phones to stay connected to their operators’ towers and not to start roaming in border areas if another native tower is present.

It is these values that were problematic in the GSOC case. Irish towers should not be identifying themselves as being in the UK or offering the service of a UK network provider. The mobile phone of a UK visitor to GSOC would have spotted its native tower and connected to it. Depending on the model of IMSI Catcher used, full intercept of all data to and from that handset would then be possible.

It is interesting to note that the fake UK network was the only one detected by Verrimus. However, given that IMSI Catchers operate multiple fake towers simultaneously, it is highly likely that one or more Irish networks were also being intercepted. Very often a misconfiguration, such as an incorrect country code, is the only evidence available of an IMSI Catcher being deployed when forensic tools are not being used to look for one. This recently occurred around the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where base stations from a Ugandan telco were mysteriously popping up.

It is remarkable that this type of invasive and mass interception is so easily done over Ireland’s critical infrastructure, which is relied upon by citizens in their daily lives. Given the utility and ubiquity of modern cell phones, from mobile commerce, personal and business communications, to emergency phone calls, the threat this type of surveillance poses to the security and privacy of citizens cannot be understated.

Related Link: http://www.broadsheet.ie/2014/02/14/catchers-and-the-spies/
author by Con Carrollpublication date Sat Feb 15, 2014 16:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck it must be a duck. well we not it wasn't Moscow who was bugging the GSOC. it wasn't Havan who gave the orders. one can ask the audience, phone a friend. be careful now down with that kind of stuff. it must be the minister for justice friends. MOSSAD
remember the Irish passport issued Israeli military terrorists. attached to embassy in Dublin
as for drug lords Jim Mansfield of City West hotel. sons. garda commissioner famous words. nobody touches my boys

author by fredpublication date Sun Feb 16, 2014 18:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is the podcast of today's "this week" interview with John Mooney:

author by fredpublication date Sun Feb 16, 2014 19:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

download link for a podcast of last wednesday's fiery "late debate"

John Mooney, security correspondent with the Sunday Times Mark Kelly director of the Irish council for civil liberties, Michelle Mulherin Fine Gael TD for Mayo and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn Sinn Fein TD for Donegal North-East speak to Audrey about the latest in the GSOC scandal.

it's 50MB so I didn't post this one


author by KMpublication date Wed Feb 19, 2014 22:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Late Debate on now on GSOC & point of contact for whistleblowers. RTE Radio 1

author by KMpublication date Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saturday at One has Minster Shatter, John McGuinness TD, Mick Wallace TD who first read extracts from that transcript into the Dáil record, so making it pubic and capable of being reported without fear of legal action, Dearbhail McDonald independent minded Legal Correspondent, and Simon Harris TD.

author by KMpublication date Sat Feb 22, 2014 16:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

[part of this post that responded to a comment now hidden has been hidden, sorry - mod ]
I think Callinan should also go and possibly will. Kenny should go but being realistic he will hang on. I hope it all results in a GSOC with more powers. Thats probably the best we will get. Like to see a root and branch reform of the Garda but that ain't gonna happen.

author by anonpublication date Tue Feb 25, 2014 22:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Given that there is now a flood of complaints coming forward and other people backing up the claims of the whistle blowers it is worth bringing attention to the press release covering the proposed bill by Mick Wallace and Clare Daly to make radical changes to the system of oversight to the Garda


Mick Wallace proposes radical changes to system of oversight of An Garda Síochána

For immediate release: July 16th 2013


Deputy Mick Wallace proposes radical changes to the system of oversight of An Garda Síochána

Today (July 16th), the Dáil will begin a two-day debate on the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2013, which aims to strengthen the independence and impartiality of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, and to provide for the establishment of the Garda Síochána Independent Board, with monitoring, oversight and supervisory functions over An Garda Síochána. The legislation creates a power-sharing arrangement between the Board, the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner.

Launching the Bill, Deputy Wallace said, “There is a serious lack of democratic accountability of An Garda Síochána to the people of Ireland. The establishment of the Garda Síochána Independent Board – as proposed in this legislation – would fill this vacuum, encourage community engagement, and ensure that the Gardaí adhere to relevant human rights standards. As well as this, the Bill requires that the Gardaí publish all relevant Codes and operational policies and procedures – this is vital to increase transparency in the Garda Síochána.”

He continued, “The office of the Garda Ombudsman must be fully independent from the Minister for Justice. To this end, the Bill amends Section 106 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to allow the Commission to initiate its own investigations of policies and procedures of the Garda Síochána where it sees fit to do so. This was recommended by UN Special Rapporteur, Margaret Sekaggya, during her Mission to Ireland last year.”

Supporting the legislation, Deputy Clare Daly said, “We have met countless individuals from across the country who feel they have been the victims of Garda malpractice. These people have no avenue to air their grievances, often because the grounds of admissibility for complaints to the Ombudsman are currently far too narrow. This Bill widens these admissibility criteria, and also requires mandatory oversight by the Ombudsman of all investigations arising from complaints made to it.”

She added, “In addition, the Bill strengthens the requirements around the timely provision of evidence and information sharing from the Garda Commissioner to the Ombudsman Commission. As we know, the Ombudsman recently made unprecedented criticisms of the Garda Síochána for delaying its investigations by not providing information when requested. The legislation also ensures that the Ombudsman Commission has full and independent access to the Garda Síochána electronic databases and systems.”

Notes to the Editor

For more information, contact Mick Wallace on 016183287

A copy of the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Explanatory Memorandum is available of the Houses of the Oireachtas website, under the ‘Bills & Legislation’ section (www.oireachtas.ie)

Many of the provisions in the Garda Síochána (Amendment) Bill 2013 have been recommended in reports and works published by the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the European Code of Police Ethics, the Irish Human Rights Commission, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Combat Poverty, Transparency International, Father Peter McVerry and Social Justice Ireland, the Morris Tribunal, the Patten Report, Professor Dermot Walsh, Dr. Vicki Conway and Dr. Shane Kilcommins.

The Bill provides for:

1. Garda Síochána Independent Board

The establishment of the Garda Síochána Independent Board with monitoring, supervisory and oversight functions over An Garda Síochána.

This will be an important step in strengthening the democratic accountability of An Garda Síochána, which is necessary to promote public confidence and trust in the force.

The Board’s objectives include the promotion of respect for human rights within the Garda Síochána, and the Board’s functions include the human rights-proofing of all Garda policies, procedures and practices, and the publication of all codes and operational policies of the Garda Síochána.

2. The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC)

The independence and impartiality of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission will be strengthened by amending the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to;

  • widen the admissibility criteria of complaints;
  • require mandatory supervision of all investigations by GSOC rather than present system where 40% of complaints are investigated by the Gardaí themselves;
  • prohibit serving Gardaí from forming part of the GSOC staff;
  • allow GSOC to initiate its own investigation of policies and procedures of An Garda Síochána where it sees fit, as recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya in November 2012;
  • expand the definition of ‘serious harm’ under section 102 to include incidences where injuries arise from torture, inhumane or degrading treatment, rape or sexual assault;
  • provide for the appointment of the Ombudsman Commissioners by the Garda Síochána Independent Board rather than the government;
  • insert a new section ensuring that GSOC has full and independent access to the PULSE system, as well as other electronic databases and systems;
  • strengthen the requirements on the Garda Commissioner to ensure the timely delivery of evidence and information in accordance with protocols under section 108.

3. The Realignment of the Structure of An Garda Síochána

Many of the Sections of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 are amended consequentially, with the aim of increasing the autonomy and independence of the Garda Síochána from central government, and from direct ministerial control, and from political influence by realigning the structures and accountability of the Garda Síochána.

The direct accountability of the Commissioner to the Minister under Section 26(3) of the Principal Act is removed and the Section 40(2) requirement to provide any Garda document to the Government upon request is also removed. The broad powers of direct communication between Minister and Commissioner under Section 41 (a) of the Principal Act are limited by this Bill and the appointment and removal of the Garda Commissioner has been made a function of the Board following consultation with the Minister.

Related Link: http://mickwallace.net/mick-wallace-proposes-radical-changes-to-system-of-oversight-of-an-garda-siochana/
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