Eamon Gilmore says GSOC controversy must not undermine garda confidence

Garda crest

The Irish deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore has said it is important that the suspected bugging of the body that oversees police should not be allowed to undermine confidence in it or in the Gardaí.

Mr Gilmore said a government committee examining the matter should be allowed to complete its work.

The controversy began last week when the Sunday Times reported that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) hired British investigators to carry out a surveillance sweep of its premises.

This week the paper reported that the reason GSOC launched the security probe was that a senior garda officer inadvertently revealed he was in possession of information about a secret report the GSOC was working on.

On Sunday, the GSOC said it wanted to move on from the controversy.

In a statement, the GSOC said it wanted to focus on the work it was set up to do.

"The current controversy has dominated the Ombudsman Commission's focus for the past week," the statement said.

"The commission believes that it is now time to prioritise the important work we were appointed to undertake as an independent statutory agency."

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan again repeated on Sunday that he was satisfied that gardaí were not involved in authorised or unauthorised surveillance of GSOC or its members.

Earlier this week, the justice minister said he had confidence in the GSOC.

Alan Shatter ruled out an independent inquiry into security breaches at their offices.

He said he would await the outcome of GSOC's internal investigation.

Mr Shatter said that to ask police to investigate the matter would indicate a lack of confidence in the independent statutory investigative body's ability to do so.

He said that there was no definitive evidence that GSOC's headquarters had been put under surveillance and said he had confidence in the commission as presently constituted.

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