Security firm stands over findings on GSOC threats

Friday 13 June 2014 18.43
The Cooke Report found there was no evidence the GSOC offices were bugged
The Cooke Report found there was no evidence the GSOC offices were bugged

The UK security firm that identified three so-called credible threats at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission's offices, two of which have since been dismissed by the Cooke Report, has claimed they could be seen as ways of bugging the building.

Judge John Cooke concluded there was no evidence that the Garda Ombudsman's office had been bugged.

However, in a statement last night Verrimus said the three "vulnerabilities" are indicative of methods that can be used by a person outside to gather critical information from inside an organisation.

Verrimus was hired by GSOC to conduct a security sweep at its offices last year.

The company reported it found three security threats, which caused GSOC to suspect it was bugged and that the gardaí had it under surveillance

However, an inquiry by Mr Cooke found no evidence the offices had been bugged and no basis for suspecting the gardaí of being involved.

The judge described one of the three security threats at GSOC's offices as highly improbable and identified a second one as emanating from a mobile phone company testing in the area.

He said the third anomaly remains unexplained.

Last night, Verrimus claimed these three are indicative of methods used by a person outside an organisation to gather critical information from within.

It also said the only people who can conduct investigations to prove or disprove these anomalies were criminal acts are what it calls "properly qualified and experienced counter intelligence investigators".

The company, which was paid €18,000 by GSOC, also said it was not part of its remit to investigate and uncover the source of any possible surveillance threat.

Acting Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan has said she met senior members of GSOC recently to insure there was a "clear path" for people to bring forward any issues they wanted to address. 

Speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo, this afternoon, Commissioner O'Sullivan said she saw the Cooke Report as a launchpad to further improve the relationship between the force and the Ombudsman Commission.

She said she looked forward to constructive engagement with GSOC and described recent meetings as "very productive". 

The Commissioner reiterated her commitment that people could be sure there would be independent and objective oversight of An Garda Síochána. 

She was speaking at the opening of a new exhibition at the Museum of Country Life.

'Preserving the Peace' looks at how policing has evolved across the island of Ireland over the last 200 years. 

Commissioner O'Sullivan was joined by Deputy Chief Constable of the PSNI Alistair Finlay.

She said the joint approach to policing in Northern Ireland and the Republic was a testament to the advances that had been made in recent times. 

The exhibition looks at how the Peace Preservation Act of 1814 laid the foundations for the establishment of modern policing.

Displays highlight all aspects of the evolution of policing in Northern Ireland and the Republic. 

It runs until next April. 

Keywords: gsoc, cooke report