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Adams calls for Full Independent Inquiry into GSOC

19 February, 2014 - by Gerry Adams TD


Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil this evening during the debate on the party’s Private Members Motion said that there is a need “in a modern democracy for a robust and fully independent police oversight”.

The Sinn Féin Leader challenged the government on its claims of accountable government.

He said:

“When it comes to open, transparent, accountable government, Fine Gael and Labour are good on the rhetoric but useless on delivery.

“As one of those involved in negotiating a new dispensation for policing in the north - and I don’t wish to compare the old Gardaí with the RUC, because that is not the case– I have to say that police investigating police is unacceptable.

“The fact that the Garda Commissioner is answerable to a politician, and no-one else, is unacceptable.

“There needs to be a Garda authority which is independent.

“The Garda Ombudsman Commission needs to have more power including oversight of the Garda Commissioner.

“The Ombudsman must also have unfettered access to the Garda pulse system.

“If the Taoiseach believes that this ‘informal review’ will restore public confidence in the administration of the Justice Department he is mistaken.

“The only way to get to the full, unvarnished truth behind the GSOC bugging scandal is a fully independent inquiry with the powers as legislated for in the Commission of Inquiries Act 2004.”

ENDS

The full text of Gerry Adams contribution to the PMB debate on the GOSC controversy:

Independent Inquiry into GSOC bugging scandal

Fine Gael and Labour came to office on the promise of a new way of doing politics and offering transparency, accountability and openness.

The past 10 days has left that claim in tatters.

This Government has proven as unaccountable and as arrogant as the worst of its predecessors.

The handling of this issue by Minister Shatter in particular, but also by the Taoiseach, has been damaging to public administration, to the Gardaí and to the independence of GSOC.

The Government has done everything except what it should have done from the outset - that is uphold the integrity and protect the independence of GSOC.

Last night a journalist again stated that what triggered the security sweep of GSOC offices was the fact that the Garda Commissioner, in a meeting with GSOC, inadvertently revealed that he was in possession of information that could only have come from internal GSOC documents.

The documents in question related to Kieran Boylan – a convicted drug smuggler Kieran Boylan from Ardee, who faced six charges in connection with the seizure of €1.7m worth of cocaine and heroin at a transport yard in Co Louth in October 2005.

On the last day of that trial in July 2008, the charges were dropped without explanation.

It has been claimed that the case was withdrawn in order to avoid Boylan revealing details of his alleged involvement with individual gardaí.

GSOC subsequently investigated the claim that Boylan was run by an elite unit within the Garda, that he had acted as an informer and that Gardai knew he was importing drugs while working for them.

A file was sent to the DPP, but it directed that there be no prosecution of any member of the force.

No Garda was disciplined.

A GSOC report accused Gardaí of delaying its investigation, which lasted four years.

The report also expressed concern about how informants were handled.

Instead of clearing up these issues, the government has left citizens in the dark. Uncertainty and confusion is widespread and people are exposed to various claims and counter claims.

And the saga continues.

Today, following a radio interview in which I was asked about the Boylan angle, I was contacted at my Dáil office by a man who said he was the Kieran Boylan in question.

He objected strongly to Sinn Fein highlighting this aspect of the bugging scandal.

He complained about journalists having personal details about him.

I told Mr Boylan that Sinn Fein had a responsibility to raise these issues, and that if GSOC the body set up to have oversight on the Garda is being bugged, it is a very serious issue and we have a responsibility to find out if it is true and who is responsible.

I also put it to him that his case was being linked to this and that if he had concerns regarding public comment about him, that he should come out publicly to outline his position.

It is cases such as this which point up the need in a modern democracy for robust and fully independent police oversight.

Yesterday the Government did a partial u-turn on the need for an inquiry a full 10 days after this scandal first emerged.

But yesterday’s announcement falls far short of what is required.

This is not an independent inquiry. It is merely a review.

It will have no statutory powers.

It will not call witnesses

It will have no powers to compel individuals to give evidence.

The terms of reference will be set by the Minister for Justice – a man at the very centre of this controversy.

A Minister who only yesterday claimed that there is “no evidence at all” that GSOC was the target of a surveillance operation.

Even now Fine Gael, supported by the Labour Party, are refusing a fully independent inquiry into this scandal, as provided for by the Commission of Inquiry Act 2004

The citizens of this state are not stupid.

They can see clearly what this Government is doing.

Its instinct is blame GSO, to blindly defend the Garda Commissioner rather than clear up this mess.

This will not do.

When it comes to open, transparent, accountable government, Fine Gael and Labour are good on the rhetoric but useless on delivery.

As one of those involved in negotiating a new dispensation for policing in the north - and I don’t wish to compare the old Gardaí with the RUC, because that is not the case– I have to say that police investigating police is unacceptable.

The fact that the Garda Commissioner is answerable to a politician, and no-one else, is unacceptable.

There needs to be a Garda authority which is independent.

The Garda Ombudsman Commission needs to have more power including oversight of the Garda Commissioner.

The Ombudsman must also have unfettered access to the Garda pulse system.

If the Taoiseach believes that this ‘informal review’ will restore public confidence in the administration of the Justice Department he is mistaken.

The only way to get to the full, unvarnished truth behind the GSOC bugging scandal is a fully independent inquiry with the powers as legislated for in the Commission of Inquiries Act 2004.

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