The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, T.D., today announced that the Government has nominated the following persons to be members of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission:

· Mr. Simon O’Brien (Chairperson), currently Deputy Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate
· Ms. Carmel Foley, a Civil Servant currently serving as a Commissioner in GSOC who is to be re-appointed for a second term
· Mr. Kieran Fitzgerald, a Civil Servant currently Head of Communications and Research at GSOC

Minister Shatter made the appointments after seeking expressions of interest from members of the public through the Public Appointments Service and Department of Justice & Equality websites.

The Minister said "I am pleased to oversee the appointment of persons with such  a range of skills to this important role.  The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission is a vital part of our policing architecture. The existence of an independent, impartial and fair body to investigate complaints of misconduct by members of the Gardaí strengthens public faith in our police force."

The Minister continued "Through his role in the Garda Inspectorate and his vast experience as a Senior Police Officer in the London Met, Simon O’Brien will bring a wealth of policing knowledge to the Ombudsman Commission.  Carmel Foley is a highly respected public servant who has previously held other public interest roles such as Director of Consumer Affairs. Her re-appointment to the Commission for a second term will provide valuable continuity for the Commission.  Kieran Fitzgerald’s experience in the Commission will add to that continuity, and his background in communications will help the Commission in continuing to interact effectively with the Garda Síochána and all those served by the Commission".

As required by the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the names of the nominees will now go to both Houses of the Oireachtas for approval before formal appointment by the President. It is intended that the new Ombudsman Commissioners will take up office with effect from 13th December.
The Minister also thanked the outgoing Commissioners for their dedicated service.  Two of the existing Commissioners, Ms Carmel Foley and Mr Conor Brady have served a full six year term while Mr Dermot Gallagher became chairperson in 2009.   The Minister concluded "I especially want to thank Dermot Gallagher and Conor Brady for making an outstanding contribution to the development of the Ombudsman Commission in its early years.  Their work has helped establish the Commission as a respected and effective body which is well placed to continue its goods work and to retain the trust of both Gardaí and the public ".

1 December 2011. 


Note for Editors –

 The functions of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission was set up under the Garda Siochana Act 2005 with the following objectives:

· To provide a system for receiving complaints and dealing with issues of Gardaí misconduct in a manner that is efficient, effective and fair to all concerned;

· To promote public confidence in the process for resolving those complaints.

The Ombudsman Commission is empowered to directly and independently investigate complaints against member of the Garda Síochána. It is required to report the results of its investigations to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána and, in appropriate cases, to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The annual reports and other relevant publications from the Ombudsman Commission are laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The organisation currently has a staffing complement of 87 in order to discharge its functions. The current commissioners are: Mr Dermot Gallagher, Chairman, Mr Conor Brady and Ms Carmel Foley.  The term of office of the existing Commissioners expires on 12th December 2011.

The following table provides details of the work of the Ombudsman Commission in the period May 2005 to September 2011.
 Complaints received 10,903
Complaints admitted for investigation 6,042
Files submitted to the DPP   111
Prosecutions initiated by the DPP  29 cases (42 defendants)
Files to the Commissioner of the Garda with a recommendation for disciplinary processes 89
Responded to referrals by the Gardaí concerning death or serious harm   650
Investigations in the public interest (section 102(4))  6
Investigations initiated at the request of the Minister (section 106)   1

Biographical Note on each nominee

Simon O’Brien

Professional Experience
· March 2010 to date ; Deputy Chief Inspector at the Garda Síochána Inspectorate
· April 2008 to March 2010 : Territorial Policing Commander at the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) with responsibility for policing in 11 boroughs of North East London over 9,000 staff.
· March 2003 – April 2008 chief Superintendent, Metropolitan Police Service in Enfield and Haringey
· 1978 to March 2003 police officer and detective in various ranks from constable to superintendent, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), London

Educational Qualifications
· MBA. Master of Business Administration. London South Bank University.
· M.St. (Cantab). Master of Studies in Criminology and Police Management. Wolfson College Cambridge.
· Graduate of the Strategic Command Course (2007) Bramshill National Police College.  Top student on the course that year.
· HNC. Higher National Certificate in Public Administration. Croydon College.

Carmel Foley

Professional Experience
· Feb. 2006 – Present:     Commissioner, Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), Executive Committee British-Irish Ombudsman Association Member
· 1998 – 2006:     Director of Consumer Affairs
· 1993 – 1998:     Chief Executive, Employment Equality Agency
· 1989 – 1993:     Chief Executive, Council for the Status of Women (now National Women’s Council of Ireland)
· 1978 – 1989:      Department of Foreign Affairs – including postings to Washington and   Luxembourg
· 1976 – 1978:     Executive Officer Civil Service

Educational Qualifications
· 1999 - M.Sc. (Management) Trinity College Dublin/ Irish Management Institute
· 1987 - Diplôme de Langue Française
· 1979 - Certificate in Public Administration IPA

Kieran Fitzgerald

Professional Experience
· 2005 to date - Current Head of Communications and Research at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission
· 2001-2005 Self-employed communications specialist;
· 2001-2002:  Year-long appointment as National Organiser of the National Union of Journalists. This role included negotiation in conflict situations, including preparing and presenting cases before the Labour Court.
· 1985-2001:  RTE
· 2000: Winner of the News and Current Affairs Journalist of the Year Award.
· 1995-2000: Senior Reporter, "Prime Time"
· 1991-1995: Radio Producer on "Liveline", "Pat Kenny Show", "Today at Five"

· Queen’s University, Belfast/IPA : Doctorate in Governance (DGov)- In final stage of completion
· Postgraduate:  University College Dublin; M. Econ. European Economic and Public Affairs
· Third level: Trinity College, Dublin:  Law School, 1979-1982