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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

This classical Latin question of 2,000 years ago has no greater relevance than to Ireland today.  The national police force, An Garda Síochána (the Guardians of the Peace), is commonly referred to in English as 'the Guards'.  After a series of policing scandals, in 2005 an Ombudsman was established, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), to provide an answer to Juvenal's question of who will guard the guards.

The Commission was partly modelled on the equivalent office in Northern Ireland, but with fewer and blunter teeth.  Its relationship with the Gardaí has been, it has to be said,  (€) over the years, characterised by  (€) and misunderstanding.  GSOC has made some mistakes along the way that caused  (€) between the two organisations.  This sits atop the natural loathing that any police organisation has for a body designed to oversee it.  It is just the nature of the beast.

Nonetheless, from a human rights perspective, to have a permanent police ombudsman is something of which Ireland should be proud, and places it in a very small number of jurisdictions in the world to have such a set-up.

It is natural, therefore, that Irish people should be concerned by reports in the press, first broken by The Sunday Times, that GSOC became concerned that the security of its offices had been breached.  They employed a British security company to sweep their offices, in the course of which they discovered three 'anomalies'.  Gavan Reilly outlines what they were in an excellent , that gets to the heart of a lot of this puzzling issue, or Sunday Times subscribers can recap on the detail from John Mooney , a screengrab from which I have included below (click to zoom).  It should also be noted that Ireland should be grateful to the 'British' Sunday Times (as members of the Government have repeatedly referred to it) and in particular, for pursuing this issue when other Irish media outlets sucked up the Government spin and spat it out again to its readers and viewers.

There are a lot of questions remaining, but to distil what they are, I want to go back through the chronology of what happened, and add my own thoughts and speculation.Read more »