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Question

413. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission failed to conduct a proper investigation into a complaint against gardaí made by a specific person (details supplied) arising out of an incident on 14 July 2013; the reason GSOC did not get a professional transcript of an audio recording of that incident prior to dismissing the complaint; her views that a paper review by counsel is a sufficient response to such a serious incident; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [49658/14]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The Garda Síochána Act 2005 established the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) to receive complaints from members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. The Act stipulates that the Ombudsman Commission is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions and I have no role or function in the processing of individual complaints which are referred to it for investigation.
The review to which the Deputy refers is the mechanism established for the independent review of certain allegations of Garda misconduct, or inadequacies in the investigation of certain allegations, which have been made to me as Minister for Justice and Equality, or the Taoiseach, with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case.
A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel was established for the purpose. The counsel appointed to the panel were all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system. The review of each complaint will consist of an examination of the papers in the complaint by a counsel from the panel. Following the review of each complaint a recommendation will be made as to whether any further action is desirable and could practicably be taken. What is of crucial importance, however, and this was the objective of Government in establishing the review, is that every case will have been reviewed by independent counsel, who will have made an objective recommendation.
It would not be appropriate to comment upon individual complaints being reviewed by this mechanism before I have received and considered counsel's recommendation therein.