205. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice if there is an official body or bodies in Ireland that investigate GSOC; and if not, the correct process to follow should there be discontent with the outcome of a GSOC investigation. [29880/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Heather Humphreys): As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is the independent body charged with receiving complaints from the public concerning members of An Garda Síochána, as laid down in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. GSOC is the sole body in the State charged with investigating concerns about An Garda Síochána.
The position is that there is no specific body that reviews the outcomes of GSOC investigations. GSOC have customer service procedures in place to receive complaints about their service from members of the public, and any member of the public who has concerns about the service they have received from GSOC, or the conduct of a member of GSOC's staff, is encouraged to engage with this process. Neither I nor my Department can intervene in any individual complaint about GSOC made in this way, nor can I comment on any aspect of this process, as GSOC are independent in these matters.
It is of course open to any citizen who is dissatisfied with the decision of a public body to seek redress through the Courts.
There is also, as the Deputy may be aware, a mechanism for an independent inquiry into the conduct of designated officers of GSOC. Section 109 of the Act permits the Minister, having consulted with GSOC, to invite the Chief Justice to nominate a judge of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal or the High Court to inquire into the conduct of a designated officer of GSOC while performing functions under section 98 or 99 in relation to an investigation. Given the nature of such an inquiry, one which is carried out by a judge of the superior courts it can not be considered to be an ordinary complaints or grievance procedure. Furthermore, it is important to emphasise that the purpose of such an inquiry is to inquire into the conduct of a designated officer either on a particular occasion or in general in performing functions under the relevant sections.
Finally, the Deputy may wish to note that the general scheme of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill, recently approved for drafting by the Government, includes provision for a right of review to GSOC in relation to decisions that bring a complaints process to a conclusion, in the context of an overall new approach to investigating complaints.