However, Michael Foley of Foley Investigations was surprised about the reports of suspected bugging incidents at the Garda Ombudsman Commission.
“It’s not unusual for something like this to happen, but I am surprised at where it happened,” Mr Foley told RTÉ’s John Murray yesterday.
His Dublin-based detective agency debugged a lot of business premises but would not expect anyone to plant such devices where there were gardaí — it would be asking for trouble.
In most cases businessmen contacted his agency because they were concerned that a product had been copied because someone had inside information.
Asked how many such cases had led to the discovery of a covert listening device or miniature camera, Mr Foley said it was about seven out of 10.
The agency was asked every few weeks to debug a house or business premises.
Mr Foley said that in most cases, the bugs were found in meeting rooms.
He said the transmitters being used nowadays were more complicated and harder to detect. Each piece would cost around €1,000.
Asked how perpetrators would gain access to the meeting rooms, Mr Foley said it could be a cleaner or, as was often the case, someone working in the organisation. “They may not be a director. They could be lower in the pecking order, but they may have access to the room.”
He said the person who bugged the room could be in an adjoining building, the same building, or sitting outside in a van or car recording the conversation.
Mr Foley said it was usually big companies that were bugged, especially where there was money involved.
Asked if he had called the gardaí as a result of what he uncovered, Mr Foley replied: “I would be like the ombudsman on that — I won’t make a comment at the moment.”
He said it was usually hard to trace the people who placed the bugging devices and where it was being received from.
Mr Foley said he was not upset that a British firm was called in to sweep through the ombudsman’s office and that it was because Ireland was such a small country. “We understand that but we would have liked the work.”