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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Wednesday May 09, 2007 10:16author by NMI Report this post to the editors

featured image
An Indymedia Reporter Keeps Their Eye On The Ombudsman

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission opens for business

Today was the official opening of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. The idea is to provide a civilian oversight of the Gardaí and provide a way for people to make complaints about the police without going through the Guards themselves. Unfortunately, only invited members of the corporate media were allowed into the opening, so this indymedia report is confined to the outside of the building.

Amazingly, the Gardaí tried to stop me taking pictures on the pavement outside, and even tried to block the camera. Eventually after trying to interrogate me they stopped and sulked from a distance. I think they realised that they couldn't arrest me outside the GSOC offices on their opening day, but they were certainly considering it for a while...

Related Links: Shell to Sea Complaints to Garda Ombudsman. | Your Rights & How to Deal with the Gardaí. | McDowell: Ireland's Next Top Model | Large Crowds Demand Justice For Terence Wheelock | Garda Ombudsman Site | Mickey McDowell Announces Ombudsman | Reclaiming the Streets: The Garda Review on Ballinaboy

The three commissioners of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission are a Sinn Féin councillor who is an ex-prisoner, a former member of the Black Panthers, and a Community Worker from Dublin's North Inner City.

Actually, that's not true. They are the former Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs, a High Court Judge, and the ex-editor of the Irish Times. So the cops don't have a whole lot to worry about there.

The GSOC will deal with complaints from midnight tonight, and it can investigate incidents backdated six months. The date November 10th 2006 is exactly six months ago, so a number of complaints relating to the Garda attack on the peaceful protest at Bellanaboy that day are expected.

According to the press release which they gave me by mistake, the GSOC is required and empowered to investigate complaints against members of the Garda Síochána, and will have a staff of around 100. It is not clear what they need the large SUV style jeep, or whether this is just to make them feel important, like some sort of rapid reaction force.

We'll see what the story is when they start receiving complaints, but on the basis of the homogeneous and establishment make-up of the government appointed commission, the pally relationship they seem to have with the minister and the cops, and the suspicious and hostile attitude to anyone from outside the corporate media which was exhibited today, I don't think we should be expecting too much...

Michael McDowell, Carmel Foley, Kevin Haugh, Conor Brady
Michael McDowell, Carmel Foley, Kevin Haugh, Conor Brady

those men in the background may be familiar
those men in the background may be familiar

Press Officer denied entrance to those "not on the list".
Press Officer denied entrance to those "not on the list".

Sharp team (in case you're wondering-that is a Christmas tie)
Sharp team (in case you're wondering-that is a Christmas tie)

author by NMIpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 23:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Maybe this vehicle is solar powered, or maybe we need an environmental ombudsman?

(You know the Dublin Fire Brigade is still using fire trucks from the 1980's?)

Will it be using Shell petrol?
Will it be using Shell petrol?

author by hapublication date Wed May 09, 2007 01:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

ah ok - i was wondering why the teeming hoardes of cops all over the place today.
this openin now?
fun times.

this is hilarious:
Eventually after trying to interrogate me they stopped and sulked from a distance. I think they realised that they couldn't arrest me outside the GSOC offices on their opening day, but they were certainly considering it for a while...

author by d'otherpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 03:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The de-facto reporting of this event threw me for a few seconds when I came upon the line mentioning the make up of the new body drawn being a community activist, a former Panther and Shinner. It's brilliant to see this sort of reporting on the site, hope we get to see more of it. Did you do any research into what the first cases going to the Ombudsman will be? There's a good number of video's on that Youtube documenting Garda behavior now.

author by p'd off.publication date Wed May 09, 2007 11:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have a few to make, that I didn't bother making through the sham Garda Complaints Board. This doesn't look a whole lot better, given the worthies appointed to it. No fear someone from the ICCL would get on that board eh? Anyhow, not having cops investigate cops is a step forward, and I'd like to lay my complaint at their door.

author by as they start...publication date Wed May 09, 2007 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I tried to navigate the garda ombudsman website...

on the complaints page it lists the options for making a complaint, and says that the online form is at the bottom of the page.

But when I scroll down to "Online Form" the only link is »back to top which of course brings you back to the top of the page, not to the complaint form.

same thing is happening when I click the link marked "Click here to see sample of GSOC 1 form"

and when I click on "Online by using the Online complaints form at the bottom of this page.

So, I can't even see what a form looks like, never mind fill one in. Great start, eh?

author by Battle the Bulgepublication date Wed May 09, 2007 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors


of a sauce-mechanic of the first order, the type who has not seen a sober day since leaving school.

Such weak and easily manipulated characters are obviously carefully chosen by this stinking government and McDowell to use their substantial weight in keeping the lid pressed firmly down on a seething crockpot of state corruption.

Can you envision this cheetah bounding across the dusty plains of Ireland in pursuit of errant cops?

Correct, he will never pass the first pub.

author by DM - Labour Youthpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 14:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does anyone who's involved with justice for Terence Weelock know?

author by Mick Butlerpublication date Wed May 09, 2007 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Congrats to Battle the Bulge, your piece is the business and adds light, insight and hilarity to Indymedia. I too would have my doubts about the new body, I recall that Carmel Foley was no Rotweileer when she was Director of Consumer Affairs, if that is the right name of the body. This organisation was meant to do battle for the consumer in "RIP OFF Ireland".

When many were feeling the pinch as the euro replaced the punt and many basic foodstuffs went up 40 percent in one month, Carmel Foley came on the radio to issue stern warnings to rip off stores ? Not a bit of it, She told the public to "Shop Around" ! Matta Harney took up that cudgel too.

But lets give them an opportunity to make their pitch in defending human rights in this state, out of control and bent cops, is too serious a matter to do nothing, this body could have some leverage to use in obtaining justice.

author by Me and you - We the Peoplepublication date Wed May 09, 2007 17:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This new G.S.O.C. Mob is just the latest obsticle to Justice.

When 'they' have to resort to such measures , it means 'they'are feeling the heat from somewhere, or everywhere.

The G.S.O.C. is only there to get conroy off the hook and handy to let files go missing, or, just like the Council for civil liberties Buliding some years ago - mysteriously..................went on fire. No more files.

Keep up the good work out here .

Just keep your complaints 'ON THE RECORD' by registered mail to Noel Conroy.
The book stops with him.

author by Shell to Seapublication date Thu May 10, 2007 10:05author email dublinshelltosea at gmail dot comauthor address c/o 134 Phibsborough Road, Dublin 7author phone 0871323369Report this post to the editors

Yesterday, people from the Shell to Sea campaign handed in complaints about Garda behaviour during the policing the peaceful protests against the Shell/Irish Government scheme to install the Raw Gas Pipeline and Refinery in Erris, County Mayo.

The Ombudsman received 62 complaints in total on their first day of business.

.

.

NOTE: Shell to Sea activists will join in the the Norwegian Constitution Day event in Dublin next Thursday morning, with a parade up Grafton Street from Trinity College.

We will be handing out leaflets and hopefully getting our pictures in the papers. Micheál Ó Seighin of the Rossport Five will be there to talk to the media about how Norwegian pensioners (and schoolchildren, and road users, etc) will be getting a much better deal from Corrib gas than he will as an Erris resident.
If you want to come along and join in meet us at Trinity College (Main Gate) at 10.45AM on Thursday 17th May. Here's what we did last year: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76116

Activists brought photographic evidence of maltreatment at the hands of Garda
Activists brought photographic evidence of maltreatment at the hands of Garda

Among the complaints received was one from Philip McGrath of the Rossport Five
Among the complaints received was one from Philip McGrath of the Rossport Five

Related Link: http://www.mayogasinfo.com
author by paulpublication date Thu May 10, 2007 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The one on the left is the Facilities Manager for AXA, whose building adjoins this one.

Part of the photo-op occurred on AXA premises (e.g. the little car park), so that's why he was around and about.

No doubt someone suspects he's CIA.

author by fiosapublication date Thu May 10, 2007 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Which photo?

When you say "this one" do you mean you are posting from inside the GSOC building? Shouldn't you be working?

author by the diogenes clubpublication date Fri May 18, 2007 14:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We have collectively forgotten the worst failures of Mcdowell's ministry and his ultimate responsibility for investigations in to the "worst crime". It was not too long ago we learned that the Gardai didn't take the worst crime so seriously - or seriously enough - especially when one of their own members were involved. Is that an ombudsman issue? or an election issue? or is just to be regretted and forgotten? in case feelings get hurt?

author by Jerry O'Neillpublication date Sun May 20, 2007 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Show me one instance where the ODCA were remiss in their mission statement. If you did a tad more reasearch you'd see they did not have the legal power to enforce competition effectively. That was not their fault, but YOU who elected the legislators.

So stop your armchair whinging and change it on May 24th if you don't like it.

author by Jerry O'Neillpublication date Sun May 20, 2007 16:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems you don't know or are apparently silent about water extraction from the Shannon, let me clue you in. The city of Dublin, yes that one that is shown to be the worst-designed city in all of Europe, and is used as an example of how NOT to plan now wants to extract water from the Shannon.

Hello?? Clean up that sewer called the Liffey. There is plenty of water there if they stopped shitting in it.

And in another stroke of genius Dublin Corporation did a plan for a straight line across the Bog of Allen and the Esker Riada (Dubs hate to hear that the Bog of Allen starts at Dublin, but check your geology if you think I lie), whereas same pipe could be built south of Limerick, with no harm to the Shannon where it goes out to sea.

Why are we silent about this?

author by Unified Thread Theory - UTTpublication date Sun May 20, 2007 17:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Er, and this is something to do with the Garda Ombudsman how?

author by RIPpublication date Thu Jan 29, 2009 23:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The judge very unfairly referred to above as having the look of a "sauce mechanic" has died suddenly at the age of 64. Judge Kevin Haugh was due to step down as the chair of the GSOC next month and return to the Bench.

There is an interesting article on Haugh here: http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2005/10/16/story883...7.asp

Related Link: http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2005/10/16/story8837.asp
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