How do I complain about the Gardaí?
If you think your rights have not been respected by a Garda, here’s what to do
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
If you think you’ve been mistreated by a member of An Garda Síochána there are a few things you can do. The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) or Garda Ombudsman deals with complaints by the general public with regard to the Gardaí. Normally you’ll receive a reply within 21 days.
If your complaint is about being discriminated against by the Gardaí you can also contact the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Making a complaint about the Gardaí
Making a complaint to GSOC
You might want to make a complaint for many reasons such as if you think you’ve been treated rudely, with too much force, treated unfairly or any of the rules of arrest and custody have been broken. In most instances you must have the complaint made within six months of an incident. You can make a complaint on behalf of someone else if they are a child, young person or incapacitated to do so.
There are many ways in which you can make your complaint:
- By phone on 1890 600 800
- In writing to 150 Upper Abbey Street, Dublin 1, D01 FT73
- By fax 01 814 70 23
- Online, by filling out this form
- In person at the Garda Ombudsman Commission’s head office (150 Abbey Street Upper)
- At your local Garda station – if you go to the Garda station, make sure you talk to the Chief Superintendent in charge
You will be asked to complete a GSOC 1 complaint form.
What will happen if I make a complaint about the Gardaí?
If it’s proven that a minor indiscretion took place, you will be given an explanation or apology.
If a complaint is found to be admissible (valid) it will be handled in one of these four ways:
- Informal resolution
- Garda investigation
- Garda investigation with Ombudsman supervision
- Ombudsman investigation
- You can also request a formal investigation
The Garda Ombudsman does not impose penalties on the complainant if your submission is justified. Valid complaints are put to the Garda Commissioner to handle, or if a criminal offence has occurred the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) will take up the case.
Your complaint may be deemed invalid if:
- You’re not entitled to make it in the first place
- If the complaint was made over six months after the incident/s occurred
- In these cases in you’ll be notified in writing
If it’s found that your complaint was false or misleading, you could be liable for a fine of up to €2,500 or a spell of up to six months in prison or both.
Mistreatment by Gardaí due to race or sexuality
If you believe you have been mistreated by a member of an Garda because of your race or sexuality there are liaison officers which you can contact within the Gardaí before reporting the incident to GSOC. You can find a full list of your local Ethnic Liaison Officer and LGBT Community Liaison Officer here.
The Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office (GRIDO)also coordinate, monitor and advise on all aspects of policing in the area of diversity. There are available to both members of the public and Gardaí for advice and support.
Making a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission
If you feel you have been discriminated against by the Gardaí, you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) under the Equal Status Act. It is illegal for the Gardaí to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religious beliefs, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, nationality, disability, economic circumstances, marital or family status and if you are a member of the Travelling community.
If someone feels discriminated by Gardaí at any stage or think they are not taking their complaint seriously because of discrimination, a complaint can be made to the WRC.
Need more information, advice or guidance?
We offer information, advice and guidance about the issues that matter to you. Our online Youth Information Chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays).