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Surveillance powers must be extended to Garda Ombudsman Commission – Ó Snodaigh

24 June, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has today sought to amend the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Bill 2009 to extend the powers of surveillance to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said the Bill recognises the value of Surveillance Powers to Gardaí in the investigation of serious crimes but the Minister is seeking to expressly prohibit the Garda Ombusdman from employing these powers in their investigation of crime.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “I welcomed this Bill and have helped to progress it through the Oireachtas in a timely fashion.

“Surveillance is a useful tool that can contribute to the successful prosecution of serious crimes. I have tabled 38 amendments which include additional safeguards and provisions to enhance the effectiveness of the legislation. My amendments would add to the Bill without compromising its purpose. I hope the government will take on board my amendments.

“The most important amendments that I am tabling relate to the powers of the Garda Ombusdman Commission. The Minister is seeking to expressly prohibit the Garda Ombusdman from employing surveillance techniques in their investigation of crime. This is at odds with the whole intent and spirit of the Bill which recognises that surveillance should be available for the investigation and prosecution of serious offences where necessary. One of the principle functions of the Garda Ombudsman is to investigate serious offences so it must be afforded appropriate surveillance powers.” ENDS

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