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Dublin: 5°C Friday 18 June 2021

Civil Liberties group writes to Taoiseach, wants GardaGate inquiry expanded to protect human rights

The Irish Council of Civil Liberties says new revelations mean the inquiry’s scope needs to be expanded.

New Garda Reservists listen intently to interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.
New Garda Reservists listen intently to interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE IRISH COUNCIL of Civil Liberties (ICCL) have written to the Government requesting that the Commission of Inquiry into recording at garda stations include a review of Irish surveillance laws.

The ICCL wrote to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Attorney General saying that they welcome the investigation but want the terms of reference to the broad enough to deal with other garda matters as well as the recording at Irish prisons that has also come to light.

In particular, the letter requests that Justice Nial Fennelly’s review take account of the findings of the Cooke and Guerin reviews into An Garda Síochána that are both due to be completed this month.

The letter adds:

Moreover, since at least one other agency of the State (the Irish Prison Service) has since become the subject of public concern about the taping of telephone calls between prisoners and their legal representatives, the ICCL suggests that Mr Justice Fennelly be invited to review the adequacy of current law and practice in relation to the use of surveillance by all relevant agencies of the State.

The ICCL hopes that Mr Justice Fennelly will also be asked to review this legislation and to propose such amendments as may be necessary to render our law and practice compliant with Ireland’s human rights obligations.

The cabinet is due to make a decision on the terms of reference for the GardaGate inquiry when ministers meet today.

Read: Cabinet to discuss terms of reference for GardaGate inquiry >

Read: Labour reminds us it wanted a Garda Authority 14 years ago >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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