Europe

Cooke Report on alleged Garda Ombudsman bugging published

  • 10 June 2014
  • From the section Europe
Garda ombudsman office Image copyright RTE
Image caption The report was into alleged bugging at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission offices

The Irish minister for justice has welcomed the publication of a report into the alleged bugging of the office of the police watchdog.

Judge John Cooke was asked to report on the issue after the Sunday Times reported the Garda Ombudsman Commission offices had been under surveillance.

He has found the evidence available does not support the proposition.

It also said it was even more unlikely it would have involved members of the police.

Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Enda Kenny received the Cooke Report last week, while he was on a trade mission to San Francisco.

It is understood that Mr Kenny and senior officials spent the weekend examining Judge John Cooke's findings.

The judge launched the inquiry in February.

He was asked to investigate allegations that the offices of the three-person Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) had been subject to "unlawful surveillance".

The GSOC said in February this year that there were "three electronic anomalies" that could not be explained.

In the report, Judge Cooke concluded that "it is impossible on the basis of the technical opinions and available information, categorically to rule out all possibility of covert surveillance in the three threats identified.

"It is clear that the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance of the kind asserted in the Sunday Times article took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána [Irish police]."

In light of the report Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald described the findings as clear and measured.

She called for a new "culture of co-operation" between the Garda and GSOC.

In a statement, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan said: "An Garda Síochána acknowledges Judge Cooke's finding that 'the evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance... took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána'."

"An Garda Síochána also acknowledges that the working relationship between An Garda Síochána and GSOC needs to be more constructive.

"The relationship does continue to improve and An Garda Síochána is committed to building on that positive engagement with GSOC so as to ensure that there is an independent, objective and effective relationship between us, which is vital for maintaining public trust in policing."

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