174. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice her plans to establish a historical investigation directorate in GSOC with its own dedicated staff which would be added to the existing staffing GSOC complement along the lines of the directorate set up in 2010 within the office of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12296/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Deputy will be aware that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) was established as a statutorily independent body, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. I have no role or function in the processing or management of complaints which are made to GSOC for investigation.
GSOC’s main area of responsibility is to deal with complaints concerning Garda conduct. While the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended, provides for time limits for the making of complaints, such time limits may be extended where there is good reason. It is also the case that GSOC may investigate matters in relation to the conduct of Gardaí, when it is in the public interest. I am advised that there is nothing therefore to prohibit GSOC engaging with legacy cases where appropriate to do so. Furthermore, the organisation of the work of GSOC is a matter for the Commission.
As the Deputy will be aware, dealing with the legacy of the troubles on this island is a difficult and complex task. The Stormont House Agreement sets out a comprehensive set of measures to deal with legacy issues in a way that can meet the legitimate needs and expectations of victims and survivors and support closure and reconciliation for those communities most affected by the Troubles.
The Government remains committed to the implementation of those measures and we will continue to work with the Government of the United Kingdom and the parties in Northern Ireland to give effect to them.