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Garda Representative Association says its members knew some calls were recorded

However, it was understood that it the system was there to provide “clarify of what was said”.

President of the GRA John Parker
President of the GRA John Parker
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Updated 22.50pm

THE RESPENTATIVE BODY for rank and file gardaí has said its members knew that calls were being recorded “in control and communications rooms as well as some of the public offices”.

However, it was understood that the system was in place to provide “clarify of what was said – and for accountability”, and was mainly used in control rooms.

A statement released today outlines that members of the GRA were not involved in the decision to install recording systems.

The statement adds that speculation is “undermining” the day-to-day work of its members.

Stickers

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One, GRA President John Parker said that in some offices, stickers informed staff that calls from certain phones were recorded.

He outlined that his understanding of the situation was that these were mainly used in control rooms and in some public offices.

If someone in custody requested to call their solicitor, they would be taken to a private room with a different phone system.

However, Parker outlined that a technical examination needs to be carried out to clarify this.

He added there were “channels and structures” in place to regulate who could access recordings.

These might be accessed in cases like prosecutes for bogus 999 calls or in cases of garda misconduct, Parker suggested, but was unable to rule out unauthorised access to these tapes.

Here’s the statement in full:

Our members are aware of recording of telephone calls in control and communications rooms as well as some of the public offices. We understand that the recording is similar to that used by the fire and ambulance control rooms, and is utilised for the same purposes; namely for clarity of what was said – and for accountability. We await the report from the Commission of Inquiry to establish whether or not other lines in garda stations were recorded. In the interim, we do not believe further speculation is helpful. Our members are concerned about the level of recording, but this is an issue we are raising with Garda Management.

The Garda Representative Association also wishes to place on record the recent controversies have further undermined the morale of those gardaí working at the frontline of policing. The Garda Representative Association wishes to reassure the public that no member of the garda rank was involved in any decision to record telephone conversations in garda stations. The continued speculation in the media is impacting on the policing function – and until we have clarification and concrete facts the continued speculation undermines our members’ day-to-day work.

This association has repeatedly called for the establishment of an Independent Police Authority. The Garda Representative Association conference in 1979 directed the executive to negotiate the establishment of a police authority –representation was made to the Department of Justice with ‘negative results’. This call has remained as policy and has been repeated regularly since.

Policing is a public service and function best completed by professionals accountable to the community they serve, not to the narrow interests of politics. An independent police authority remains the modern practical solution to separate political power from the power to arrest and detain.

Originally published 3.58pm

Read: The Taoiseach says he didn’t ask the former Garda Commissioner to resign >

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Nicky Ryan

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