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Ó Snodaigh meets Garda Ombudsman Commission

14 September, 2006


Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on Justice Minister Michael McDowell to give the new Garda Ombudsman Commission resources, staff and powers at least equivalent to those of Nuala O'Loan, the Police Ombudsman in the Six Counties. Speaking after meeting the new Commission this morning Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "It is clear that, contrary to all of Justice Minister Michael McDowell's assurances, the resources and powers of new commission fall short of what is required by the Good Friday Agreement."

He said, "After meeting with the new Garda Ombudsman Commission this morning it is clear that contrary to all of Justice Minister Michael McDowell's assurances the resources and powers the new commission fall short of what is required by the Good Friday Agreement.

"Nuala O'Loan's office has 125 staff, none of which are members of the PSNI, to deal with 5,000 officers. The Ombudsman Commission are only cleared for 81 staff to deal with nearly three times as many officers. Because of under staffing the new commission will have to rely heavily on Gardaí to carry out the investigations for them which is just the same as the current situation of the Gardai investigating themselves.

"The Garda Ombudsman Commission does not have the power to insist on disciplinary action being initiated against a Garda. Nuala O'Loan has this power in respect to the PSNI. The Ombudsman Commission have no powers to investigate retired officers, Nuala O'Loan does. These are issues which we hope that amending legislation will be brought forward to resolve.

"If the Ombudsman Commission is to play an effective role in addressing the abuses highlighted by Morris and others as we hope it will then McDowell needs to provide the resources and powers necessary. The sooner this body is up and running and dealing with complaints the better and we wish them well in their role." ENDS

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