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We'll have to "wait and see" who leaked GSOC 'bugging' information - Fitzgerald

The justice minister said that at least seven people had access to the information that was leaked to the media.

Frances Fitzgerald (File photo)
Frances Fitzgerald (File photo)
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

FRANCES FITZGERALD HAS said that at least seven people at GSOC had access to the information about possible bugging in its offices that was leaked to the media.

The justice minister noted that the Garda Ombudsman has launched an independent inquiry into the leak.

Last night, the Cooke Report into the alleged bugging of GSOC was released. It found no evidence to support any claims of surveillance by members of an Garda Síochána.

Retired High Court Judge John Cooke was tasked with overseeing the inquiry after an article published in the Sunday Times on 9 February last asserted that the Ombudsman’s offices were under surveillance.

Fitzgerald said that people would have to “wait and see” what the results of the investigation into the leak are, adding that GSOC needed to ”get to the root of what actually happened”.

Speaking on Today with Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1, the minister reiterated that she had confidence in the “individuals running GSOC” but noted: “There are lessons to be learned”.

‘Credible threats’

Earlier today GSOC’s chairman Simon O’Brien told Morning Ireland that he did not believe the organisation had jumped the gun in relation to matter as suggested in the report, saying there were “credible threats that we had to investigate”.

Fitzgerald noted that the Ombudsman felt “vulnerable” for a “variety of reasons” and said she accepted O’Brien’s “perception” of the issue.

She called on GSOC to “reflect on the report”, saying she looked forward to “their detailed response”.

Fitzgerald said that the body was an “important institution that has to be seen to be working correctly”.

We need t make sure that the protocols between GSOC and an Garda Síochána are working correctly … There is bridge-building to be done.

Martin Callinan

When Seán O’Rourke brought up the assertion allegedly made by junior minister Alex White last week that Enda Kenny had fired former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, Fitzgerlad defended the Taoiseach.

“He has already given an outline to the Dáil of the seriousness in which he views this … The Tasoiseach has never said that the Commissioner should go.”

She added that the Fennelly inquiry into the taping of phone calls in Garda stations would clarify the events surrounding Callinan’s departure in March.

Mother-and-baby homes

Fitzgerald, who served as the Minister for Children until last month, said that “inevitably there will be some crossover” between the Magdalene Laundries and mother-and-baby homes.

She noted that the upcoming inquiry into the homes, prompted by the discovery of a mass grave of almost 800 babies in Tuam, Co Galway, was about unravelling “a half century, you could say, of appalling behaviour … and how women in Ireland were treated at that time”.

Read: Cooke Report: There is no evidence that GSOC was bugged by gardaí

Read: GSOC Chairman says “question marks still remain” over bugging claims

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Órla Ryan

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