Garda Ombudsman to begin work by mid-2007

The Garda Ombudsman Commission, the independent body which will investigate complaints against members of An Garda Síochána, will be operative in early- to mid-2007, a spokesman has said.

Other than the commissioners themselves, High Court Judge Kevin Haugh, former Irish Times editor Conor Brady, and the former director of Consumer Affairs, Carmel Foley, no staff have been hired. It is envisaged that the staff will be in the region of 100, of which approximately 20 will be based in Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and a smaller office in Longford, which will comply with the Government's programme of decentralisation.

The initial start-up budget will be in the region of €10 million. The Commission has a capacity to approach the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to discuss its requirements.

At present, the office is staffed by a temporary team made up of Department of Justice officials, and is temporarily situated in Smithfield in Dublin.

John Byrne