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Question

103. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the action he has taken to deal with the complaint from GSOC that it does not have sufficient resources to deal with protected disclosures within An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5679/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Let me say at the outset that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has a hugely important role to play in ensuring that public confidence in the Garda Síochána is safeguarded.  That is why GSOC was given extensive powers under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to enable it to carry out its responsibilities.
I can assure the Deputy that the resources and funding of GSOC are kept under continuing review to ensure it is able to continue to operate effectively and efficiently and in accordance with its statutory remit.  In May 2017, sanction was conveyed to GSOC for an additional 5 staff to create a dedicated unit to deal with Protected Disclosures.  My understanding is that at that time there was a relatively small number of protected disclosures on hands in GSOC. The sanction was provided on the clear understanding that GSOC would revert should the evolving situation indicate that greater resources were required. 
It is unfortunate that, 8 months later, it would appear that GSOC has not yet succeeded in recruiting all the staff concerned.  I would suggest that it is only when these staff are fully operational, that an assessment can be made as to what, if any, additional resources might be required to handle protected disclosures made to GSOC. 
In relation to the overall resourcing requirement of GSOC, I met with GSOC last September and the issue of resources was discussed. GSOC undertook to make a submission to my Department on what it estimates are its staffing requirements to deliver on its mandate in an efficient, effective and timely manner.  I look forward to receiving that submission and I can assure the Deputy that I will give it my fullest consideration. Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 71.