Garda Ombudsman staff 'appear to have had emails hacked'

The reporter who broke the story that the offices of the Garda Ombudsman have been bugged says that it looks like staff members there may have had their emails "compromised".

The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is to meet representatives from the Garda Ombudsman Commission at his department today to discuss the bugging allegations.

It is understood a phone in a meeting room had been rigged to eavesdrop on confidential conversations and the Commission's wi-fi network was also hacked.

Officials called in security consultants to investigate their suspicions, but the Government wasn't informed.

Pat Rabbitte, the Minister for Communications, described the claims as somewhat sinister and said it is unusual the matter wasn't reported to the Justice minister - as is required by law.

John Mooney, Crime Correspondent with The Sunday Times, says the allegations pose a very difficult situation.

He said: "The three commissioners are actually warranted by the presidency, so you can quite clearly see that it is a significant issue now that you have one State agency has been subjected to quite a serious surveillance attack.

"Also, personal intrusion, lots of members of the GSOC staff appear to have had both their private and their work emails possibly compromised."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has also asked Minister Shatter to brief the Cabinet on the claims.

Fianna Fáil's Justice Spokesman Niall Collins says he expects the Minister to ask why his office was not kept up to date on the inquiry.

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