Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to study GSOC call for new legal power

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald will “study in detail” calls from the Garda Ombudsman to give it the legal right to seek court orders directing the Garda commissioner to hand over documents.

GSOC chair Judge Mary Ellen Ring told the Oireachtas justice committee on Wednesday that, despite progress in handing over information, there is “a lot of room for improvement”.

She said the attitude of Garda HQ to its requests for information or documentation was that “we get it when we get it”.

She said there is no penalty for failure to comply with requests and called for a similar system to the North, where the chief constable is legally obliged to provide information and if he or she does not, the ombudsman could seek a court order.

A spokesman for Ms Fitzgerald said: “There are undoubtedly matters which can be examined with a view to improvement.

“The Tánaiste is aware of the chairperson’s general views on the legislation which governs the manner in which GSOC operates, but will be studying in detail the remarks made by the chairperson to the committee.

“All legislation, including in relation to the GSOC, is kept under review.”


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