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Garda Ombudsman bugging claims: Security firm stands over findings

Garda ombudsman office Image copyright RTE
Image caption The report was into alleged bugging at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission offices

A security firm that identified "credible threats" at the office of the police ombudsman in Ireland has said it stands over its findings.

Verrimus commented after a report found no evidence of bugging at the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).

The company had reported it had found three electronic anomalies.

On Thursday, it said these were indicative of methods that can be used by someone outside an organisation to gather information from within.

The bugging claims first emerged in the Sunday Times. It reported that a hi-tech surveillance operation had been uncovered last September at the offices of the police watchdog.

The three-person commission called in Verrimus, a London-based security consultancy, to check its offices for bugs.

An inquiry was undertaken by Judge John Cooke following the Sunday Times story. He was asked to investigate allegations that the offices had been subject to "unlawful surveillance".

However, in his report, the judge said the evidence did not support the proposition.

He also said it was even more unlikely it would have involved members of the police.

On Thursday evening, Verrimus said it agreed with the judge's comments that in the "world of covert surveillance and counter surveillance techniques, it is ultimately extremely difficult to determine with complete certainty whether unexplained anomalies of the kinds identified in this instance were nor were not attributable to unlawful intrusion".

It added: "Investigations to prove or disprove whether such vulnerabilities are associated with a criminal act can only effectively be carried out by properly qualified and experienced counter intelligence investigators."

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