Gardaí fined for role in terminating penalty points

Pair were investigated after concerns unearthed by the Garda O’Mahoney's inquiry

Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan (right) and former justice minister Alan Shatter. File. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan (right) and former justice minister Alan Shatter. File. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 22:08

An internal Garda inquiry into the termination of motorists’ penalty points, in cases where there was no legitimate reason for the cancellations, has resulted in financial sanctions being imposed on two members.

The Irish Times understands an officer at superintendent rank has been fined more than €2,000 for his role in points cancellations while an inspector has been fined more than €1,000.

The termination of penalty points in cases where there appeared to be no genuine reasons, came to light two years ago when two Garda whistleblowers raised their concerns about the practice.

In the controversy that followed, former garda commissioner Martin Callinan took early retirement in March of this year.

Garda sources said he had been put under pressure by Government over his handling of the penalty points issue and unrelated revelations that calls to and from Garda stations had been recorded for many years.

Mr Shatter resigned in May when a report by barrister Sean Guerin into the Department of Justice’s handling of a range of allegations by Sgt Maurice McCabe found serious shortcomings in the response to the matters raised.

The two Garda members who have now been fined were among three put under internal investigation after a major probe into points cancellations led Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney.

It commenced in October 2012 and concluded in May of last year.

At the time, Mr Shatter said while no evidence of criminality on part of any Garda member had arisen, the investigation had unearthed a number of issues.

“I am concerned that it appears that there have been cases where clearly laid out procedures for the cancellation of (fixed charge) notices were not followed, for example where tickets were cancelled by some superintendents outside their Garda district areas. It also appears that, in some cases, detailed records were not maintained,” he said at the time.

He confirmed that three Garda members had been placed under internal investigation.

Garda sources have confirmed that two have been fined.