GSOC waits on Garda HQ reply

The Garda Ombudsman has not received any response from Garda HQ in relation to recommendations put forward over three separate sexual assault investigations.

The recommendations were made as far back as February 2016 and, in one case, Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan told the Policing Authority the garda failures were “unacceptable” - but GSOC did not get a reply.

The watchdog's 2016 annual report shows:

*GSOC investigated a case of historic sexual abuse allegations during which it transpired the investigating garda took no notes. GSOC recommended in February 2016 that gardaí fully document “all enquiries” and supervisory members be “held responsible” for checking garda notebooks and holding case review meetings. GSOC said “no reply has been received” from Garda HQ

*GSOC investigated two separate complaints claiming neglect of duty by gardaí regarding children allegedly sexually assaulted by the same teenager. There was a delay in prosecution and after the alleged perpetrator took a High Court case, arguing his rights as a child had been infringed, the court prohibited the prosecution. GSOC made a long list of recommendations in April 2016 but “no feedback was received regarding any of the specific actions recommended”. The commissioner subsequently told the Policing Authority the garda failures were “unacceptable” and steps had been taken.

*GSOC investigated a complaint that a sexual assault had occurred while the complainant was in garda custody. It transpired that the garda made no record of the complaint and took no action. GSOC made recommendations in October 2016 but received “no response”.

The report also said there had been an increase in the number of whistleblowers making a complaint, with seven disclosures in 2016 on top of four existing ones.

It said they expected the “trend to continue in 2017” and had engaged with Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald “about the need” for additional resources.


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