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Garda ombudsman 'should consider position over bugging'

Garda crest

A group representing police officers in the Republic of Ireland has called on the police ombudsman to consider his position over a bugging controversy.

On Monday, the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) chairman said he regretted not telling the justice minister its office had been bugged.

Simon O'Brien said the discovery was made after a security sweep was carried out between 23 and 27 September 2013.

He said it had been a "very difficult decision not to report the matter".

On Tuesday, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said it was not acceptable for the GSOC to suspect that a crime may have taken place and not report it to the police.

The AGSI also said if GSOC suspected police involvement it should have reported that to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

AGSI general secretary John Redmond said GSOC had "cast aspersions on the good character of the force".

Meanwhile, the Garda Representative Association has called for an independent inquiry into the matter.

General Secretary PJ Stone said he was satisfied there was no police involvement in any alleged surveillance at the GSOC office.

However, he said he was concerned about the security of data and information about police officers being held in that office.

Mr Shatter is briefing the Cabinet on Tuesday on the outcome of a two-hour meeting with Mr O'Brien.

The minister may make a statement to the Irish parliament (Dáil) on the issue on Tuesday afternoon.

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