On 13 May, 2014 the Government decided that the Minister for Justice and Equality should establish an Independent Review Mechanism to consider allegations of Garda misconduct or inadequacies in the investigation of such allegations, with a view to determining to what extent and in what manner further action may be required in each case. This was one of the actions agreed by Government as a response to the Guerin report.
A panel consisting of two Senior and five Junior Counsel, all selected on the basis of their experience of the criminal justice system, was established for the purpose.
The review of each allegation consisted of an examination of the papers by a counsel from the Panel, and did not involve interviews or interaction with complainants or any other form of investigation. Counsel could however recommend that the Minister seek further information to assist in coming to an appropriate recommendation in any particular case. The purpose of the review was to triage the allegations to see if further investigations were needed.
The Panel provided recommendations to the Minister in all 320 cases submitted to them. The issuing of notification letters to complainants commenced on 29 June 2015 and concluded on 8 February 2016.
The second stage of the process, which is to undertake the actions to which the Minister has agreed following recommendations from counsel, is well underway.
In five cases, the setting up of inquiries was recommended by counsel on the Panel. Three cases were recommended to be the subject of special inquiries relating to the Garda Síochána under section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 while the other two cases were recommended for non-statutory inquiries. Following the advice of the Attorney General the Minister decided that all five inquiries should be established under section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act to ensure that the persons conducting the inquiries have the necessary powers to call witnesses before them and require the production of any relevant documentation. Further information on the Inquiries is available at the following link: Five Inquiries under Section 42 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended