Collins criticised over accusations
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter rounded on an Independent TD for naming people in the Dáil who allegedly had penalty points inappropriately struck off.
Mr Shatter accused United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins of outrageous behaviour when she named a rugby player and journalist and renamed a judge in the Dáil.
Amid claims that penalty points had been inappropriately removed by gardaí in up to 50,000 cases, Mr Shatter told the Dáil that between January 2009 and June 2012 a total of 1,460,726 fixed charge notices were issued.
Reduction in allegations
He said the “documentation forwarded to the [Garda] Commissioner contained 402 allegations”, but a number of allegations were duplicated and reduced “the actual allegations listed to 197”.
Ms Collins said the Minister accused her and Independents Clare Daly and Mick Wallace of “making big assumptions” in the controversy about the number of cases in which penalty points were removed.
She said from the evidence they had seen “there is a systematic abuse” of the system and malpractice. “This is not a question of a few celebrities here like Ronan O’Gara or Paul Williams or I mentioned Mary Devins there last week or other judges or multiple gardaí.”
Mr Shatter said it was contrary to the rules of the Dáil to read names into the record to the detriment of individuals who could not defend themselves. “It is quite outrageous.” He said the TDs used the pretext of wanting a public inquiry when they really wanted "a hanging".
Earlier, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said there was "a legitimate system" by which penalty points could be cancelled. "You have to write in and it can only be done at a very senior Garda level. It happens for example if an error has been made in applying the penalty points," he told RTÉ Radio.
"Maybe the street was written down wrong or you are rushing a child to hospital. So there are circumstances in which penalty points can be cancelled legitimately."