Branding it a “crisis”, Mr O’Brien said he suspects the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) has been put under electronic surveillance and he cannot rule out the gardaí being suspects.This also contradicts Mr Shatter’s story that no bugging had taken place and the gardaí are being subjected to “baseless innuendo”.
Mr Shatter’s claim the security sweep of GSOC offices was “routine” also contradicts Mr O’Brien’s evidence caused by serious breaches of “confidentially”. He said that he had not asked Mr Shatter or Garda commissioner Martin Callinan if the surveillance had been authorised.
Pressed on whether he believed it had been authorised, Mr O’Brien said: “We have no idea if that piece of capability was being used lawfully,” saying gardaí became suspects after the first two security threats were uncovered following secret, late-night surveillance sweeps at GSOC headquarters.
“Shatter needs to declare whether it was authorised by the State. The Justice minister needs to explain why he didn’t inform the Dáil that an inquiry was commenced into An Garda Siochána by GSOC,” said Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins.
The ombudsman said GSOC had launched an internal leak probe, as less than seven people knew the contents of the secret security report, that ended up in the media. Expecting fresh revelations this weekend, Mr O’Brien claimed that so far unreported parts of the dossier were misleading as to the motivation that triggered the security sweep.
The latest contradictions in the GSOC bugging saga came as Taoiseach Enda Kenny ordered a report into allegations, that a transcript existed of a conversation between garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe and his confidential recipient, when he was warned: “If Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.”