Garda Commissioner says he has full confidence in GSOC

Callinan’s comments ‘prompted security sweep’

Minister for Justice  Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan  in Templemore Garda College during their 50th anniversary celebrations on Friday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in Templemore Garda College during their 50th anniversary celebrations on Friday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 15:06

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said he has full confidence in the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) amid reports that comments made by him sparked a security sweep at the policing watchdog’s office.

The Sunday Times reported this morning that the GSOC organised a counter intelligence sweep of its Dublin offices becase a senior garda revealed he was in possesion of secret GSOC information.

The Sunday Independent also reported that the garda in question was Mr Callinan, but said the comments to GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien were misinterpreted.

Mr Callinan released a statement today in which he said he is “entirely satisfied” that An Garda Síochána was not involved in any surveillance of the GSOC.

In a statement today, the GSOC said the controversy has “dominated” its business for the past week. “Now our priority is on important work we undertake as an independent statutory agency,” the statement added.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said the Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions, which will hear from Minister for Justice Alan Shatter on Wednesday, should be allowed carry out its investigations into the controversy before any decision is taken to hold an independent inquiry.

Mr Callinan also said he is “completely satisfied” that none of the force’s surveillance equipment was used to monitor the GSOC.

“Given the tight internal controls governing the use of the surveillance equipment used by An Garda Síochána, I am completely satisfied that there was no unauthorised access to this equipment,” he said.

“The Criminal Justice Surveillance Act 2009 sets out the legal parameters for the deployment of lawful surveillance techniques. The oversight High Court Judge, appointed under Section 12 of the 2009 Act, has complete and unrestricted access to all cases, documents, records, and personnel pertaining to any type of surveillance conducted under the Act by An Garda Síochána. The oversight High Court Judge produces an annual independent report.”

The Commissioner said he raised concerns with Mr O’Brien over media reports which indicated a “particular journalist was privy to highly sensitive information concerning high profile investigations being undertaken by GSOC”.

ENDS