BaileFoilseacháinFoilseacháin 2014

Government Publishes Cooke Report

 

• Government accepts in full the findings and conclusions of the report
• Cooke finds that “evidence does not support the proposition that actual surveillance… took place and much less that it was carried out by members of the Garda Síochána.”
• Minister says Report will inform legislative changes relating to GSOC
• Minister calls for new ‘culture of co-operation’ between Gardaí & GSOC

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has welcomed the publication this evening of the report of Judge John D. Cooke on his Inquiry into reports of unlawful surveillance of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

The Inquiry was established by Government on February 19th 2014 and approved by a resolution of Dáil Éireann on the same day. The Inquiry was charged with examining the sequence of events and facts leading up the GSOC’s decision to initiate, in October 2013, a Public Interest Investigation under section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The report by GSOC to the then Minister explained that the conclusion of the GSOC investigation under section 102(4) was that it “did not find any definitive evidence that GSOC was under technical or electronic surveillance. It did, however, uncover a number of technical and electronic anomalies that cannot be explained.”

The allegations were first made public in a ‘The Sunday Times’ newspaper on 9th February asserting that the offices of GSOC had been the “target of a sophisticated surveillance operation which used ‘Government-level technology’ to hack into its e-mails, Wi-Fi and phone systems.”

Minister Fitzgerald thanked Judge Cooke for his:

comprehensive, evidence-based report and its findings which were both clear and measured. I am very grateful to Judge Cooke for his detailed and authoritative analysis of these issues.

The Minister stated:

The Government accepts in full the findings and conclusions of the report.

It is vital that there is strong public confidence in the Garda Síochána and the system of oversight of the Garda Síochána. That is why it was so important to have an independent and rigorous examination of what were deeply disturbing allegations that GSOC had been subject to surveillance, especially in circumstances where it was suggested that such surveillance might have been carried out by the Garda Síochána.

Minister Fitzgerald noted the key finding of the report which states: “It is clear that 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.”

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