Ombudsman says gardaí 'slow' to co-operate

Monday 29 July 2013 21.03
Kieran Fitzgerald said gardaí were slow in co-operating with investigation by Ombudsman into alleged wrongdoing
Kieran Fitzgerald said gardaí were slow in co-operating with investigation by Ombudsman into alleged wrongdoing

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has said gardaí were slow and reluctant to co-operate with its investigation of alleged garda wrongdoing.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, member of the commission Kieran Fitzgerald said GSOC had found gardaí had failed to pass on video and documentary evidence relating to a student protest in November 2010.

Mr Fitzgerald said gardaí asked the commission to justify why it was looking for information in relation to the protest, which generated more than 20 valid complaints from the public.

He said GSOC objected to being asked by the force to justify its investigation.

Mr Fitzgerald said it took the commission until July 2011 to get the final information required from gardaí despite a protocol for the transfer of information within 30 days.

He said the commission discovered the existence of more than 60 "use of force" reports, as well as camera footage taken by gardaí, despite an assurance by gardaí that there was no such information to pass on.

Disciplinary action has been taken against four gardaí in relation to the student protest case.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said a new centralised unit has been set up to deal specifically with requests for information from the Ombudsman.

Gardaí said today the system was set up last September to process requests from the Ombudsman within the agreed timeframe and provide explanations for information not being available within 30 days.

They said Mr Callinan and Mr Fitzgerald have met with a view to creating greater efficiency between both agencies and ensuring both organisations fulfil their statutory remit.

New protocols on the exchange of information are being finalised between the two organisations, but the Ombudsman said these do not in any way change the information exchange timeframe,

Mr Fitzgerald said this afternoon there are still problems with the system in that the majority of the requests to gardaí are not complied with within the requisite time period.

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