Minister using final Morris report to eclipse real issues
Speaking during Statements on the Morris Tribunal in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the finding of the eight report of the Tribunal in relation to the channelling of allegations to the Minister by two Dáil Deputies is wrong and has eclipsed the long overdue vindication of the McBrearty Family who suffered greatly as a result of grave Garda abuse.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh also said the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) must not be allowed to lease complaints for investigation back to the Gardaí.
He said, "I will start by commenting on the eighth Report in relation to the channelling of allegations to the Minister by two Dáil Deputies. The finding of the Tribunal is wrong. Serious allegations must be investigated by those with the power of investigation. The Minister has the power to commence an investigation. TDs do not. Shamefully this aspect of the Tribunal reports has to an extent eclipsed the long overdue vindication of the McBrearty Family who suffered greatly as a result of grave Garda abuse."
In relation to the Ombudsman Commission Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:
"The Ombudsman Commission already falls short of the reforms necessary arising from the Morris Tribunal and short of equivalence with the PSNI Ombudsman in terms of powers, independence and resources.
"The Commission is not sufficiently independent - it is almost entirely dependent on the Gardaí to conduct their investigations for them. A number of key staff are seconded from the Gardaí, others were transferred directly from the old Garda Complaints Board or simply retired from the Garda Síochána in order to immediately take up a position in the Ombudsman Commission.
"I have met with the Commissioners twice to express my concerns. The Commissioners acknowledged to me that they are totally over-burdened. They confirmed that they do not have the capacity to deal with the volume of complaints coming in. GSOC have since recommended that amending legislation be introduced giving them a wide discretion to refuse complaints and allowing them to lease back even more complaints to be investigated by the Gardaí themselves. This must not be allowed to happen. As I said during the Budget debate last week the government should substantially increase funding to GSOC for the good of communities and for the good of the force itself." ENDS