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Unacceptable that Minister should set terms of reference for GSOC inquiry - McDonald

18 February, 2014 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Responding to the announcement that government it is to appoint a retired High Court Judge to inquire into the bugging of GSOC’s office Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has described the decision to entrust the inquiry’s terms of reference to the Minister for Justice as absolutely unacceptable.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“Over the last ten days the government has rejected any suggestion of an independent inquiry in the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) bugging scandal.

“Throughout this debacle government has sought to muddy the waters and keep attention focused on the leak from GSOC rather than the bugging of the Garda watchdog’s office.

“By its own actions the government has sought to undermine the independence and integrity of the Ombudsman’s office. Minister Shatter’s statement to the Dáil and subsequent appearance on Prime Time simply does not tally with the briefing he received from GSOC at the beginning of last week.

“Following significant public pressure and just hours before the Dáil is about to debate a Sinn Féin motion demanding an independent inquiry the government has reversed its position and announced the appointment of a retired High Court Judge to investigate the bugging of GSOC’s office.

“Government’s decision to entrust the terms of reference for this inquiry to the Minister for Justice is absolutely unacceptable. Minister Shatter has behaved evasively throughout this scandal and has sought to distract attention from the real issues at play.

“It is also Sinn Fein’s strong view that the inquiry should report back to the Oireachtas and not to the Minister for Justice.”

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