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Over 5,000 allegations and one garda dismissed: A look at GSOC's 'most turbulent year'

One in three complaints made last year related to abuse of authority.
Jun 19th 2015, 6:32 PM 15,481 23

GARDA WATCHDOG BODY GSOC dealt with some 5,124 allegations of garda misconduct last year, according to a new report.

00148444 Kieran Fitzgerald, Carmel Foley and Simon O'Brien of GSOC arrive at Leinster House ahead of an appearance before the public service oversight and petitions committee last year. Source: Photocall

The allegations were made in 2,242 complaints submitted to GSOC last year, its annual report for 2014 said.

The complaints led to 42 pay reductions, 13 cautions, six warnings, two fines and two reprimands.

One garda was dismissed as a result of an investigation carried out by GSOC.

Capture Source: GSOC

Common complaints

One in three complaints related to abuse of authority – defined in the report as “excessive use of force or instruction [that the complainant believed was] beyond the garda’s authority” to make.

Neglect of duty – allegations that a garda failed to take an action that could have been reasonably expected – accounted for 30% of complaints.

12% of complaints concerned criminal offences, while 11% related to discourtesy – how a garda spoke to or behaved towards a complainant.

In total, there were 11% more complaints filed last year than 2013.

gsoc Source: GSOC

Public interest

Four investigations in the public interest were opened in 2014 at the request of the minister for justice and equality.

Two requests were made to examine whistleblower claims relating to the operation of the fixed charge penalty system.

Another request lodged by Minister Frances Fitzgerald in May followed reports of alleged garda corruption.

A further request made that month related to allegations of neglect of duty.

Turbulent year

The report acknowledged that 2014 was a “most turbulent year” for GSOC, following debate over the role of garda whistleblowers and allegations that the office of the garda ombudsman had been bugged.

Legislation enacted by Minister Frances Fitzgerald in July 2014 broadened GSOC’s remit to include complaints relating to the garda commissioner, and extended its powers to investigate garda practices and policies.

Read: New GSOC chairman will be paid €145,000 – whenever they are hired >

Read: ‘Can GSOC continue with the confidence of the public and gardaí? Yes it can’ – Frances Fitzgerald >

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Catherine Healy


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