Gsoc: No Jobstown complaints received

The Garda Ombudsman has confirmed it has not received any complaints in relation to garda behaviour at the Jobstown protest trial.

Gsoc told the Irish Examiner it was not conducting any type of investigation into matters arising from the court proceedings.

The development came after the main organisation representing frontline gardaí dismissed calls for a public inquiry, describing them as “farcical” and a “political football”.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), comprising some 10,500 members, said if gardaí lied in court there were appropriate vehicles for investigating it — either internally or externally through Gsoc.

GRA spokesman John O’Keeffe said the “examination” called for by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was being carried out by an assistant Garda commissioner.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Keeffe said if Paul Murphy TD, one of the six acquitted of false imprisonment last week, or anyone else wanted to make a complaint about the testimony of gardaí in the trial could complain to their local garda station, to Garda Internal Affairs or the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation or externally to Gsoc.

“We would encourage them to do it, if they feel they have to,” he said.

Mr O’Keeffe pointed out that Gsoc could start an investigation themselves even without a complaint, referring to the watchdog’s power to initiate a public interest inquiry.

When contacted, Gsoc said it could not comment on issues regarding the trial, saying it was “a matter for the DPP and the judge”.

A spokesman said: “Gsoc has not received any complaints into the members’ behaviour.”

Asked if Gsoc itself had launched any inquiry, he said: “Gsoc has not commenced any investigation.”

Mr O’Keeffe acknowledged that questions had been raised about garda testimony in the trial, but said he was not saying there are, necessarily, questions to answer.

“If they have lied, or any garda has lied, they must be dealt with, but from the garda point of view what they remember about Jobstown is the vile language and the threats to themselves and others.”

He said the calls for a public inquiry, led by Deputy Murphy, were a “political football” and said it was “farcical” that claims regarding garda testimony should necessitate a public inquiry.

“Yet again, gardaí are being put in the middle of a political whipping, because of scandal after scandal has occurred — most of it with the oversight of Garda management, not frontline gardaí, and because of that this is being put in and everyone’s being painted with the same brush.”

He said gardaí were “non-political” and tried to do their job to the best of their abilities. He said recent public attitudes surveys put confidence of people in local gardaí at 80%-90%.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Barry O’Brien has been tasked by the commissioner to conduct a review from a “lessons-learned perspective”.

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