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GSOC Chairman says "question marks still remain" over bugging claims

“As you look back now, there is still an ‘outstanding anomaly’ in the words of the judge,” Simon O’Brien said this morning.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE CHAIRMAN OF Garda watchdog body GSOC says there’s still outstanding questions remaining over the claims of electronic surveillance at its Dublin offices.

Simon O’Brien was speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today in the wake of the release last night of a report on the issue by retired High Court judge John Cooke.

The report, which was sparked by an article in The Sunday Times, found that while it was impossible to rule out all possibility of surveillance at the city centre offices, it was clear the evidence “does not support the proposition that actual surveillance of the kind asserted in the Sunday Times article took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána”.

“As you look back now, there is still an ‘outstanding anomaly’ in the words of the judge,” O’Brien said.

“As the judge says — in these rather febrile areas, it’s difficult to know if this could be in relation to unlawful intrusion.

So, question marks still remain.

Cooke was tasked with conducting an independent inquiry by former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter after a security firm picked up signals and wifi anomalies in a sweep of the GSOC HQ.

The initial allegations were made public by the newspaper in February of this year.

“In the same report [Cooke] says very clearly that after a security sweep two credible threats were found, and GSOC went on to investigate those threats,” O’Brien said this morning.

We had credible threats that we had to investigate — and as we said back in February, we had no evidence of electronic surveillance at our offices, and also that we certainly weren’t pointing the finger at An Garda Síochána.

Regarding the newspaper report, which Cooke also said was ‘seriously inaccurate’, O’Brien said “We have always said what we don’t necessarily concur with what The Sunday Times might [reported] have in relation to this whole incident”.

He added:

We properly investigated credible threats and we closed our investigation and that’s very similar to where the judge has got himself to after three or four months.

O’Brien said he regretted that the former Justice Minister had found out about the initial sweep through a newspaper article, adding “events overtook us”.

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