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Government must commit to independent inquiry into GSOC controversy - McDonald

13 February, 2014 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this morning during Leaders Questions Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the Tánaiste to commit to independent inquiry, and to categorically state that no agency was authorised to carry our surveillance of GSOC.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Following the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission’s evidence to the Public Service Oversight and Petitions committee yesterday it has become evident that the government has misled citizens about the bugging controversy.

“Members of a government oversight agency were forced to hold meetings in cafes to avoid surveillance. They stopped using their mobile phones, using texts or holding meetings in their office.

“Both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice have made statements to the Dáil that have been flatly contradicted by the Ombudsman.

“It is clear that the government tried to shut down the demand for transparency surrounding the bugging scandal at GSOC yet the Ombudsman believes and has the evidence to support that a ‘credible threat’ to the organisations security existed.

“We now know that the security sweep of GSOC’s office was sparked by ‘heightened concerns’ of breaches of ‘confidentiality’ last May.

“We also know that after assessing the threats identified in the sweep in September the Ombudsman’s office ordered a public interest investigation as they believed an authorised or unauthorised element of the gardaí may have been involved in this surveillance.

“Information provided by GSOC to the committee yesterday is completely at odds to what with the Justice Ministers statement to the Dáil earlier this week. Clearly Alan Shatter sought to muddy the waters and this is absolutely unacceptable.

“When the bugging of GSOC’s offices was the Government’s first instinct was to undermine the organisation, and the Taoiseach did so by misquoting the Garda Síochána 2005 Act repeatedly.

“Does this style of political leadership really sit comfortably with the Labour party?

“Last year Minister Shatter was quick in his attempt to rubbish the Garda Whistleblowers and run to the Commissioners defence.

“Government’s failure to act with impartiality is undermining the Garda Síochána.

“It is time now for government to commit to independent inquiry, and to categorically state that no agency was authorised to carry our surveillance of GSOC.”

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