Garda Ombudsman: You are not entitled to any information whatsoever

Dublin TD Clare Daly believes that her arrest on a drink driving charge and the leaking of the story to the media was a deliberate attempt to discredit her because she has raised issues of malpractice within the Garda Siochana.

I agree with her conclusions.

Ms Daly was stopped by Gardai on 28 Jan last and breathalysed; the equipment did not register a reading.

Despite this Ms. Daly was arrested, handcuffed and taken to Kilmainham Garda Station 300 metres down the road.

When she objected to being handcuffed she was told that it was procedure.

Her legal team has told her that this is incorrect.

She was put in a cell and a doctor was called to take a urine sample.

Upon being released a female Garda told her to come back when she was sober.

Turns out she was sober. The urine sample showed that her alcohol level was 33% below the allowable limit.

Ms. Daly made a complaint and the Garda Ombudsman is investigating.

When the penalty points scandal first broke I rang the Garda Ombudsman office to inquire if they were investigating the very serious allegations being made against the force.

I was told that they can only investigate matters that involve complaints from members of the public who have been directly wronged by a Garda or a matter that they deem to be in the public interest

I rang again today to see if they were still of the view that it wasn’t in the public interest to investigate what are potentially the most serious allegations of corruption within the force.

Predictably, I ended up with a headache from banging my head against the solid wall of unaccountable bureaucracy.

Me: Is the Garda Ombudsman investigating the abuse of penalty points allegations?

Official: We can’t give out any information about complaints you haven’t made yourself.

Me: But I’m not referring to a complaint, I’m asking is there an investigation into the penalty points allegations.

Official: I can’t say, I’m not allowed to say because you’re not involved in it and you haven’t made a complaint yourself.

I can’t give you any information about anything, about any investigation or any complaints.

Me: Absolutely nothing? Nobody is entitled to know whether you’re investigating something or not?

Official: No, not unless you’re involved.

Me: That’s incredible.

Official: It’s confidential.

Me: I find that hard to believe. You’re saying that the general public is not allowed to know whether the Garda Ombudsman is investigating any particular matter.

Official: No. I can’t give out any information about any complaints.

Me: What regulation/legislation are you basing your refusal on?

Official: It’s confidential.

Me: Yes, but could you refer me to the regulation that permits you to refuse the information.

Official: It’s a confidential procedure making a complaint; I can’t give out any information on the matter.

Me: Ok, that’s fine but could you point me to the particular legislation that allows you to refuse the information?

Official: If you’re not happy with my answer you can put it in writing to the Commission.

Me: Yes, I’m accepting your answer; I’m just asking what legislation you’re basing your refusal on. Can I find the relevant legislation on your website.

Official: I don’t look at the website, I don’t know.

Me: There is a ‘legislation’ link on your website, would I find it there?

Official: If you’re not happy with my answer you can put it in writing to the Commission.

Me: So you’re refusing to reveal the legislation under which you’re refusing to give out information?

Official: I’ve just advised you, if you’re not happy with my answer you can put it in writing.

Me: Are you refusing to point out the legislation to me?

Official: I can’t give it to you.

Me: Why not?

Official: Hung up.

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  1. Laurence’s avatar

    Like Haiti, Paraguay, and early 50′s Cuba, Graham Greene should have written a novel about this banana republic.

    Meanwhile, across the water an MP has finally resigned after years trying to escape a traffic offence.

  2. Haymoon’s avatar

    Kafkaesque!