Inquiry on 'quashed' points sought
Four TDs have called for an independent inquiry into allegations that more than 66,000 fixed charge notices for traffic offences were quashed by senior gardaí in the last four years.
Independent deputies Clare Daly, Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Luke "Ming" Flanagan said there had been attempts to gag the two Garda whistleblowers who supplied them with a dossier of the names and details of those who had their offences quashed.
The TDs had initially intended making the full dossier available to the media for examination, but following a warning from the office of the Data Protection Commissioner this morning, had decided not to do so. They did give details of 20 cases in which points had been cancelled, including six cases involving the same superintendent.
According to the dossier, he had “terminated” two speeding tickets for the wives of two members of staff, for an ex-Garda superintendent and for individuals who had also had previous tickets quashed. This superintendent’s wife also had her speeding ticket terminated by a Garda inspector and he had his own speeding ticket quashed by a different superintendent on the grounds he was “on official duty”.
Other examples given included motorists who had speeding tickets quashed and were later killed in road crashes or killed pedestrians, passengers or other motorists.
In one case, a motorist was detecting driving at 155km/h in a 100km/h zone. Three months later, he was involved in a collision in which another motorist was killed.
The TDs claimed thousands of tickets were terminated for gardaí and their families, and that Pulse, the computer system which logs offences, was “falsified” with reasons given for cancellation such as “confusion over signage”, “bringing elderly person to hospital” and “genuine excuse”.
Other reasons given for cancellation included “offender genuinely mistook the limits”, “philanthropic benevolence”, "meeting garda” and “received call that his house had been burgled”.
The dossier claimed almost 37,000 speeding tickets had been quashed in the past four years, including 3,270 for using a mobile phone while driving, 1,200 for careless driving, 1,871 for not not using seat belts, and 943 for breaking red lights. A further 22,000 tickets issued for tax and insurance reasons were also quashed.
The last line of the dossier stated: “49,000 more examples if requested”.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had earlier warned the four politicians to cancel plans to expose the dossier of evidence.
Mr Shatter, who stated last week that there are 197 cases of fixed notices having been struck out, accused the TDs of being judge, jury and executioner.