Written answers

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Department of Justice, Equality and Defence

Garda Complaints Procedures

8:00 pm

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Question 379: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider extending the time limit allowed of six months in order for a complaint to be taken to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17443/11]

Photo of Tommy BroughanTommy Broughan (Dublin North East, Labour)
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Question 380: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases, and the percentage of cases that, have been found to be inadmissible by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission due to their being made outside of the six month time limit for making a complaint to the GSOC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17444/11]

Photo of Alan ShatterAlan Shatter (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Defence; Dublin South, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 379 and 380 together.

Section 84 (1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 provides for a period of six months, beginning on the date of the conduct giving rise to the complaint, for a person to make a complaint to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Section 84 (2) of that Act provides for an extension to the six month deadline if the Ombudsman Commission considers that there are good reasons for doing so.

In my opinion the six month deadline, together with the discretion afforded to the Ombudsman Commission to extend the time in particular cases where it is of the view that there is good reason to do so, strikes the right balance and provides a system that is fair and equitable to both members of the public who wish to make a complaint, and members of the Garda Síochána who will have to defend themselves in the face of such complaint and I do not propose to bring amending legislation to alter this statutory position.

The number and percentage of cases that have been found to be inadmissible by the Ombudsman Commission, by reason of time delay, are set out in the table below. It should be noted that an individual complaint may contain several allegations. In 2007, the Ombudsman Commission’s first year of operations, the benefit of recording both the number of complaints and the number of allegations separately became clear and its recording mechanisms were subsequently refined. A full and detailed breakdown of both complaints and allegations deemed inadmissible by reason of being out of time is, therefore, not available for the years 2007 and 2008.

The number and percentage of cases that have been found to be inadmissible by the Ombudsman Commission, by reason of time delay, are set out in the table below. It should be noted that an individual complaint may contain several allegations. In 2007, the Ombudsman Commission’s first year of operations, the benefit of recording both the number of complaints and the number of allegations separately became clear and its recording mechanisms were subsequently refined. A full and detailed breakdown of both complaints and allegations deemed inadmissible by reason of being out of time is, therefore, not available for the years 2007 and 2008.

YearC:ComplaintsA: Allegations% and Number of complaints / allegations received and deemed inadmissible as “out of time”
2007C- 2084C- 6% 125
2008A- 4227A- 8% 338
2009C- 2097A- 3509C- 9% 188A- 8% 280
2010C- 2258A- 4931C- 7% 158A- 5% 248

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