372. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will address a matter regarding a complaint by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24239/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can inform the Deputy that the person referred to had sought the setting up of an inquiry under section 109 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 arising from his dissatisfaction with the progress of his complaint to GSOC.
I examined the matter in light of the person's request and, as I am required to do under the Act, I consulted with GSOC. Following that consultation I decided that there were not sufficient grounds for me to invoke section 109 of the Act.
My office wrote to the person on 19 December 2018 to inform him of my decision. The letter also set out the grounds for the decision including that the conduct alleged against the GSOC designated officer was not such as to meet the threshold for invoking section 109. It encouraged him to continue to engage with GSOC in order to progress the investigation of his complaint.
For the sake of clarity I want to say that the request for a section 109 inquiry did not result in a discontinuation of the GSOC investigation. Consequently there was no referral by me to GSOC in this instance.
I should point out, given the nature of an inquiry under section 109 of the Garda Síochána Act, that it cannot be considered to be an ordinary complaints or grievance procedure. An inquiry under section 109 requires the Chief Justice to request a judge of a superior court to conduct the inquiry. Such an inquiry must, therefore, be viewed as being far from a standard occurrence.