herald

Friday 28 November 2014

'Gardai got rid of 100k penalty points for pals'

SENIOR Gardai have quashed thousands of penalty points for their spouses, colleagues and themselves, a garda whistleblower has claimed.

New information emerging from the extraordinary penalty points controversy alleges that officers have been openly cancelling speeding tickets relating to those known to them.

In one case, a superintendent is alleged to have quashed up to 70 tickets before falsifying records to cover his actions.

And another example claims that a superintendent terminated speeding tickets for the wives of colleagues.

A dossier containing a list of 50,000 names lists also includes motorists who were later involved in fatal road accidents. In some cases, the motorists killed pedestrians, passengers and other drivers, it is alleged.

Four left-wing TDs have called for an independent inquiry into claims that more than 66,000 fixed charge notices for traffic offences were cancelled over the last four years.

Independents Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Joan Collins and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan claim the dossier contains 50,000 people who have had 100,000 points between them quashed.



Wiped

The deputies say the dossier names senior officers, celebrities and judges among those who have had points wiped clear.

However the politicians performed a U-turn and refused to publish the list of names -- claiming that they have been warned off by the Data Commissioner.

Cases highlighted include a motorist who was involved in a fatal hit-and-run, who had previously had a speeding ticket terminated.

It was alleged that some 36,839 speeding tickets had been quashed since 2008, along with 3,270 for using a mobile phone while driving, 1,200 for careless driving, 1,871 for not using seat belts, and 943 for breaking red lights.

A number of reasons were entered into the Garda Pulse system to explain why the points had been quashed.

These included "offender genuinely mistook the limits", "philanthropic benevolence", and "received call that his house had been burgled".

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O'Mahoney has been appointed to investigate.

noconnor@herald.ie

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