Gilmore satisfied no state agency bugged watchdog

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said he is satisfied that no organ of the State was involved in surveillance of the garda ombudsman.

Mr Gilmore also said Justice Minister Alan Shatter was willing to appear before the Oireachtas Oversight Committee regarding the alleged bugging at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

Speaking in the Dáil, the Labour leader said he had full confidence in the gardaí as well as the garda ombudsman. He ignored calls for an independent inquiry and said issues would be heard before the Oireachtas committee.

He rejected claims there had been government efforts to “undermine” the garda ombudsman.

Mr Gilmore also disagreed with claims by Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins that Mr Shatter had “misled” the Dáil earlier in the week over information he received from GSOC.

Mr Collins claimed Mr Shatter had “misinformed” the Dáil and left out specific details about the security threats when he originally spoke in the chamber on Tuesday night.

The issue of how GSOC had been treated went to the “heart of democracy”, said the Limerick TD, as he accused the Government of interfering with the independence of the garda ombudsman.

But Mr Gilmore accused the opposition of “politicising” the issue.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald claimed the Government had tried to “shut down the demand for transparency” on the issue.

Four separate groups by yesterday — including two opposition parties — have called for an independent inquiry, possibly led by a lawyer.

Mr Gilmore said the justice minister was willing to appear before the oversight committee.

The Department of Justice said: “GSOC has made clear that they are currently engaged in internal inquiries to establish insofar as is possible the facts in relation to a possible unauthorised disclosure of information and in the first instance we must await the outcome of those inquiries.”

The Tánaiste said “yes” he was satisfied that no organ of the State put the ombudsman under surveillance.

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