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GSOC is getting new powers to investigate the Garda Commissioner

The new Bill extends the powers and remit of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

File photo of gardaí on duty in Dublin.
File photo of gardaí on duty in Dublin.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THE JUSTICE MINISTER has published new legislation which will expand the powers of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission when enacted.

Under the Bill, which amends the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner will be brought within the GSOC’s remit for the first time.

It also extends the GSOC’s powers of investigation in relation to complaints involving suspected criminal behaviour and gives the GSOC greater autonomy in investigating garda practices, policies and procedures.

A spokesperson for the GSOC told TheJournal.ie that the office welcomes today’s publication of the Bill and the inclusion of some of their recommendations submitted to the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.

The GSOC also said they hoped that their additional recommendations would be addressed in a later Bill.

Minister Fitzgerald described the Garda Síochána (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 2014 as a “significant piece of legislation” and an important element in the Government’s “programme of justice reform”.

“GSOC has a pivotal role to play when it comes to addressing complaints made against members of the Garda Síochána,” Fitzgerald added. “I believe that this Bill will contribute in a meaningful way to the operation of GSOC so as to ensure that the wider public will have confidence in it and how it carries out its important tasks.”

The measures provided for in the Bill take account of the results of a public consultation process initiated by the Cabinet Committee on Justice Reform and also relevant work within the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality.Further changes in relation to GSOC will be considered in the context of the legislation to establish a new Policing Authority which I will introduce as quickly as possible.

Read: Retired judge says victims are being ‘further victimised’ by ‘guards investigating guards’ >

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