Garda chief welcomes inquiry into GSOC bugging affair
An Garda Síochána will co-operate fully with the judge’s examination, says commissioner
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan: welcome announcement of inquiry. Photograph: David Sleator
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has welcomed the new inquiry into the bugging affair announced following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
“I welcome the announcement today by the Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence Alan Shatter TD of the Cabinet’s decision to appoint a retired High Court judge to enquire into all matters of relevance in regards to the issues of controversy and concern relating to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.
“An Garda Síochána will co-operate fully with the judge’s examination,” he said.
The GSOC also released a short statement, which said: “In light of the Government’s very recent announcement of its intention to appoint a retired High Court judge to inquire into recent events involving GSOC, the commission wishes to make no further comment at this time.”
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties welcomed the fact that a judge was to be appointed to lead an investigation into what occurred.
Its director Mark Kelly said the appointment of a senior judicial figure to head an inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 2004 was a necessary first step towards restoring public trust in our police accountability mechanisms.
“It is important that the terms of reference and powers of the inquiry should be sufficient to enable the judge to review the operation of all forms of surveillance currently in use by An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the Revenue Commissioners under both the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993 and the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009, as well as any forms of surveillance in use by those agencies not covered by that legislation.
The inquiry will certainly also require the services of a professional technologist,” he added.
Earlier yesterday the company that carried out the security sweep of the offices of the GSOC late last year rejected a claim that a wifi signal from a coffee shop explained one of three “anomalies” discovered by it.
Verrimus said in a statement it could not comment specifically on the details of the job it did for the watchdog in September 2013 but said it would “correct technical inaccuracies in reporting”.