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New GSOC chairman will be paid €145,000 - whenever they are hired

The former chairman’s tenure became mired in controversy over reports the office had been under surveillance.

Image: Niall Carson

SINCE THE RESIGNATION of Simon O’Brien in January, the role of the Chairman of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has remained vacant.

O’Brien left to take up the role as chief executive of the Pensions Ombudsman Service in the UK.

Resignation

He became chair of GSOC in December 2011, but his tenure became mired in controversy last year after the Sunday Times reported in February that a surveillance operation was used to hack into the communications system at the Garda Ombudsman’s office.

Months of debate, Oireachtas committee hearings, claim and counter claim followed before it was eventually found by a state inquiry, led by retired judge John Cooke, that there was no evidence that the GSOC headquarters was bugged by the gardaí – or anybody else.

The former justice minister Alan Shatter, who lost his job over the spate of garda controversies, called on O’Brien and his fellow commissioners to step down.

At the time, Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Niall Collins urged the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to “quickly engage an open, transparent process to appoint a new Chair of GSOC”.

Vacancy 

The Department of Justice is now looking to fill the vacancy with some new blood.

The Ombudsman Commission consists of three members who are appointed by the president on the nomination of the government, following passage of resolutions by Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann recommending their appointment.

At least one of the three members must be a man and at least one must be a woman. One of the members is appointed as chairperson.

GSOC’s principal role is to deal with complaints about the conduct of members of the gardaí.

The information booklet on the job states GSOC has a budget of €9 million and over 70 staff.

If you are a member of either House of the Oireachtas, are entitled to sit in the European Parliament, are a member of a local authority or have been a member of An Garda Síochána, you are not eligible to apply.

Qualities 

However, what they are looking for is someone who has a proven record of achievement at senior level and someone who has vision, leadership and management skills.

A capacity for innovative thinking is also a plus.

The job doesn’t pay too badly either, with an annual salary of €146,370.

As the current vacancy arose from the resignation of the O’Brien, the person appointed will only hold office for the remainder of his term of office, that is up to 12 December 2016.

Generally, the person holds office for a period exceeding 3 years but not exceeding 6 years.

If you think you’re the man/woman for the job you’ll have to send your application in by midnight 29 May 2015.

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