GSOC hires af­ter surge in com­plaints

Irish Examiner - - News - Cor­mac O’Ke­effe

Four in­ves­ti­ga­tors are be­ing hired by the Garda Síochána Om­buds­man Com­mis­sion (GSOC) to take on a surge in whistle­blower com­plaints from mem­bers of the force.

GSOC re­ceived 13 pro­tected dis­clo­sures in the first six months of 2017, com­pared to 11 over the pre­vi­ous three years.

The watch­dog had sought a spe­cial al­lo­ca­tion of staff to be granted by Depart­ment of Pub­lic Ex­pen­di­ture in or­der to es­tab­lish a ded­i­cated pro­tected dis­clo­sure unit.

Shortly af­ter it pub­licly raised the is­sue in the Oireach­tas, GSOC was given a sanc­tion for five ex­tra staff.

At the time, G SOC wel­comed it as a“start­ing al­lo­ca­tion of per­son­nel ”, but pointed out that up un­til then it had not been given any ad­di­tional staff or re­sources to in­ves­ti­gate these cases since it was given a role to do so in 2014.

It re­ceived four com­plaints dur­ing 2014 and 2015 and seven cases in 2016.

GSOC said four of the five staff were now go­ing through the ap­point­ment process.

“Four prospec­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tors are cur­rently be­ing pro­cessed through pub­lic jobs to take up po­si­tions within the pro­tected dis­clo­sure unit fol­low­ing an open com­pe­ti­tion,” said a spokesman.

“This fol­lows a GSOC sub­mis­sion to [the depart­ment] for a larger staffed unit to deal with such mat­ters.”

Asked about the progress of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the spokesman said GSOC said it did not com­ment on such mat­ters as it had a le­gal obli­ga­tion to pro­tect the iden­tity of any­one mak­ing such dis­clo­sures.

“To com­ment one way or the other jeop­ar­dises that statu­tory pro­tec­tion,” he said.

“A dis­closer, him­self or her­self, makes their own de­ci­sion as to what in­for­ma­tion, if any, they wish to come into the pub­lic arena.

“That does not re­lieve GSOC from its statu­tory obli­ga­tions un­der the 2014 Act.”

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