Ministers express confidence in GSOC staff

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has said that he has full confidence in the members of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

Minister Shatter is also again dismissing calls for an independent inquiry into the alleged bugging of the GSOC headquarters.

Meanwhile the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan is insisting no member of the force was involved in surveillance of the Garda watchdog.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn also expressed "full confidence" in the GSOC.

"We the government have full confidence - I personally have confidence in GSOC, including the chairman Mr. O'Brien - and also the Garda Síochána," he said.

"What I do welcome is the fact that the...relevant Committee in the Oireachtas will continue to conduct its inquiries."

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte also said that he “absolutely” has confidence in GSOC chairman Simon O’Brien.

Speaking on Ireland AM on TV3 this morning, was asked by Anton Savage: “Do you have confidence in the [GSOC] chairman?”.

"Absolutely," said Minister Rabbitte.

"And I have to say I’m on the record, I was Justice Spokesperson on the last Dáil, and I have long advocated, even before it was established that there would be a Garda Ombudsman, because it’s an immensely important role.

"It’s not realistic, and it’s in the best interest of the Garda Síochána, that in the 21st century, that there would be an oversight body, and it seems to me that the Ombudsman has done a good job.

"It’s a hugely important role. I certainly have confidence in them.”

When asked about the possibility of a public inquiry into the matter, the Minister expressed his reluctance, but would not rule it out.

"Well, I find it very difficult," he said. "We’d want to be reluctant in this country, given our past over the last 30 years, in embarking on a public inquiry casually.

"Let’s see what the Dáil Committee concludes. Let’s see what evidence the Minister gives to the Dáil Committee before casually agreeing to engage in another public inquiry.”

However, today Sinn Féin confirmed plans to hold a Dáil vote next week on whether to hold an independent inquiry into the bugging claims.

Party president Gerry Adams says the GSOC internal inquiries revealed issues that need to be further explored.

"The Commission itself has said while there was no definitive evidence, at the same time there was a credible threat to its security - and there are these three threats - or anomalies - which have not been examined," he said.

"That needs to be investigated."

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